Diversity and inclusion remains a key driver of business performance as companies continue to strive for a better balance across their workforce. It is indisputable that the most diverse teams are more effective and drive a more profitable organisation than those that have less broad representation. However, it still remains a challenge to build diverse treasury teams and we are frequently asked by clients how they can best do so.
The first step towards improving diversity for any organisation is talking about the subject and looking for ways to actively reduce bias when recruiting, developing and promoting. We have seen an increase in D&I panels being set up across our client base, incorporating all employees at all levels to look at how the business can improve their D&I approach. 93% of those surveyed confirmed that their employer has a diversity and inclusion strategy in place. This is an increase of 3% on last year’s survey and tells us that this is a priority for most organisations. The key though is to ensure that this policy is more than a tick box exercise and that it is meaningful with tangible actions that are put into practice.
Quotas for promoting women into senior positions remain in place for the employer of 59% of those surveyed, another increase on last year but interestingly far fewer organisations have quotas in place for promoting those from ethnic minorities into senior positions, with only 42% of those surveyed saying their employer has quotas in place. Many of the respondents commented that they feel this is something that will change and the focus on creating a more diverse environment from an ethnicity perspective is behind that of gender in terms of timeline but of increasing importance.
Attracting and retaining talented individuals from minority groups, in particular for leadership roles is an increasingly important concern for our clients. From quotas to flexible working, we are often asked to pinpoint the factors that will convince a candidate to accept an offer. The answer however is far more complex, the key is to create a culture within which every employee can thrive. An environment that recognises that everyone should have the opportunity to bring their true self to the workplace and that the collective efforts of a diverse team will invariably create a more innovative and successful company. This became more evident during the pandemic as the world was forced to change and company cultures were severely tested with culture typically being defined by employee’s presence in the office. Companies with strong cultures did well to retain employees throughout the pandemic as their D&I focused cultures had the heart of the employees in mind, meaning the business revolved around its employees and the employees themselves created the culture rather than the day to day office interactions.
Whilst most financial services businesses are keen to reach this eutopia, historically this has been a problem for the industry. At the moment for many it is a work in progress and it is great to see the many treasury professionals who are helping to drive the agenda towards creating a more diverse profession with opportunities for everyone.