“Executives, can you hear me?”

It’s 2020 and yet surprisingly D&I’s importance and urgency is still being questioned at the leadership table. It’s quite ironic, isn’t it? That D&I is excluded by biases questioning its impact… let that sink in for a minute. 

The Struggle 

Like a journalist in a room full of other news reporters, D&I has been fighting its way through the crowd (elbows out, moving its torso in ways that even surprise itself) only to reach the front of the pack and be wedged between someone on the right, who has a personal connection with the speaker, and someone on the left, who was aggressively vocal, drowning everyone else out… Even though it had the most impactful question in the room, one that would help everyone. The conference ends, the opportunity, once again, has passed. Maybe next time…  

For some organisations (certainly not all), D&I advocates are facing this problem. The perception at the leadership table can sometimes be that D&I is a “nice to have” or that “we’ll get to it next time” or “is there not a committee (with no budget) looking after that?”

Pull up a chair, D&I

Why should D&I be taken seriously at the leadership table? Well, it can in fact, play a hugely impactful role across many of your current business objectives – growth, profitability, talent, innovation – and even better, it can do it all at once! D&I has been the equivalent of that perfect candidate applying for the open role you are so desperately trying to fill – but you just didn’t read their CV properly. 

So, executives, why should you pull up a chair for D&I at your executive meetings? How can it truly lend itself to your current business objectives?

Below is only scratching the surface on some of the leading research on the impact D&I has on:

  • Profitability 
  • Innovation 
  • Optimization 
  • Talent

But, if your question is how do we actually put D&I into action… well, let’s talk.


  • “Our 2019 analysis finds that companies in the top quartile for gender diversity on executive teams were 25 percent more likely to have above-average profitability than companies in the fourth quartile”Mckinsey  
  • “Companies that reported above-average diversity on their management teams also reported innovation revenue that was 19 percentage points higher than that of companies with below-average leadership diversity—45% of total revenue versus just 26” – BCG 
  • If the leader/employee perception gap were narrowed, employees—and the organizations they work for—could benefit significantly. That’s because equality = growth. If the employee perception gap were narrowed by 50 percent…We estimate that global profits would be higher by 33 percent, equivalent to $3.7tn in 2019. $1.05tn of the uplift would come from the US.. – Accenture, 2019


  • Our view is that the goal is to create workplaces that leverage diversity of thinking. Why? Because research shows that diversity of thinking is a wellspring of creativity, enhancing innovation by about 20%. It also enables groups to spot risks, reducing these by up to 30%.”Deloitte 
  • Companies with a gender equal leadership team were able to innovate on new products and services during Covid19 by 7-12% compared to a mainly female lead leadership team and mainly male leadership teams respectively – The Dream Collective

Employee Engagement   

  • “Organisations that are able to enact sustainable D&I strategies corresponds to a 6.2% increase in on-the-job effort, a 5% increase in employees’ intent to stay with the organisation, and a nearly 3% increase in individual employee performance.”Gartner 
  • 83 percent of millennials are actively engaged when they believe their organization fosters an inclusive culture, compared to only 60 percent of millennials who are actively engaged when their organization does not foster an inclusive culture.  – Deloitte

Talent Attraction

  • “85% [of female millennials] said an employer’s policy on diversity, equality and workforce inclusion was important when deciding whether or not to work for an employer.”  – PWC
  • 39% of respondents reported that they would leave their current organization for a more inclusive one. For millennials, inclusion played an even larger role in their retention, with over half the millennials reporting they would leave their current organization for a more inclusive one. Even more astounding, nearly one-third indicated they have already left an organization for a more inclusive one. – Deloitte

 Don’t ignore your engine light

Some may say, “now is just not the right time for D&I” as executives are still finding themselves in, what must feel like, a boxing ring taking more COVID-19 punches. But, what we are learning is that D&I is more important now than ever in your COVID-19 recovery. This is why this year, we are helping organisations get to a 50/50 leadership team… in 100 days.

When I was 22, one of my passions was driving around in my little red Corsa. As tends to happen with cars, *beep* my engine light came on – great. But, I made the decision to keep driving to my destination and subsequently returned home… no issues. As also tends to happen, the red light became a normality to me when I turned on the ignition – “I must fix that soon”. 

Lo and behold, the dark, torrential rain-drenched evening was – of course – the moment my engine decided to strike – KAPOOT. I was stranded in an area I was not familiar with – by myself.

Time to call a parent (frantically) – “I need help!”. As the conversation ensued, one question I was asked was “how long has the light been on for?”

Nervous, embarrassed and anxious, I of course, did the only thing I could here – lied! 

“Just two days”. 

They responded “Well, that will teach you not to ignore something that was blatantly needing fixed. I will be there soon.”

The reason I share this with you, is all too often we know we have “important” things on our list yet day by day, week by week, their apparent stability leads us to believe they don’t need our immediate attention. Until the day they do and you are asked, “why didn’t you do something about this sooner?” Or worse, the day your competitor overtakes you because they focused on it and you did not. 

My point is – don’t ignore your engine light

If you’re interested in speaking about how we can help you prioritise gender diversity, let’s have a chat.

Written by Yolanda Kerr, Senior Client Lead at The Dream Collective


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