The year 2019 was a breakthrough year for organizations looking to empower women at workplace and increase women in the leadership roles. According to various researches, the number of women in leadership roles increased in 2019. While there is still a lot to do but only focusing on the dearth of women misses a broader point about building effective, diverse boards.
We know that true diversity of thought adds real value to the bottom line of any business, as a range of perspectives improves decision-making at all levels. Gender parity is just one piece of the inclusion jigsaw. And yet, in the rush to achieve gender parity targets in the boardroom, we risk seeing women as a homogenous group, when female board members are often likely to be from similar backgrounds (and bring similar perspectives) to their male counterparts.
Diversity isn’t just about gender, or even race; it requires diversity of thought, and creating room for opposing and varied views.
The traditional way of viewing diversity and inclusion based on legally protected classes often falls short—especially when we don’t embrace important differences we don’t readily see.
For example, an older Baby Boomer standing next to a recent college graduate just beginning her career, as well as people of different races, different genders, from different departments and even from different countries.
The invisible differences—the ones that are imbedded in our personalities–often matter most. Specifically, the way people tap into their motives, assess situations and people, and bring strengths to their relationships is an incredibly valuable form of diversity that transcends more familiar approaches.
So how do you start thinking about all your employees and create an inclusive workplace for all? Here are some of the organizations who are thinking diversity from a holistic angle than just gender.
The BBC’s 50:50 Project, which started out as a grassroots initiative led by Outside Source presenter Ros Atkins in 2017, has become the corporation’s biggest collective action aimed at improving women's representation in content to date. Participating teams independently monitor the number of men and women contributors in their programs, and act on that data with the goal of achieving a 50:50 split.
This year, the BBC is launching a pilot focused on the representation of people with a disability, and people from Black, Asian, and minority ethnic (BAME) communities in its content, applying an adapted methodology.
The Intuit Pride Network is one of the flagship employee resource groups, which was a founding member of Intuit’s Diversity Council roughly ten years ago. We are 330 members strong and counting, and have ten active chapters across our Intuit sites globally. The Pride Network is also an important part of the Intuit culture. Some will be celebrating their accomplishments this year, like the Domestic Partnership Benefits recognition that Bangalore fought hard for, and the revival of their Safe Space Workplace initiative. Many will be driving education and awareness, fundraising, and hosting events that will benefit community organizations such as their local food bank, or national organizations that support LGBTQ+ initiatives like the GenderCool Project.
Prudential Singapore's Chief Executive, Wilf Blackburn noted, “People who stop working at 62 could be looking at nearly 40 years of retirement if they live to 100. A long retirement could pose financial challenges should they outlive their savings and a prolonged period of inactivity could lead to health and social problems."
Prudential Singapore scrapped the retirement age as the company see this group of employees as valuable assets and are committed to support them in extending their productive years by offering them re-skilling opportunities and flexible work schedules.