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Diversity and inclusion (D&I) has become a growing influence in the business world in recent years. It is increasingly becoming an organisational priority in investment decisions, corporate culture, environmental, social and governance (ESG) strategy, products, processes, and the recruitment, engagement, development and retention of talent.
PwC's Global Workplace Survey 2022 shows that approximately 87% of Chinese respondents believe that transparency of information on diversity and inclusion by employers is important to them; 44% say that employers are investing resources and providing support to improve diversity and inclusion. The study also found that gender and age remain two of the biggest challenges for most companies in achieving diversity and inclusion.
Advice 1: Develop a diverse and inclusive board and leadership team
To achieve diversity and inclusion in the workplace, companies must actively work to eliminate gender discrimination and develop fair recruitment and promotion policies. This can be done by setting pre-recruitment targets and focusing on personal development planning and training for female talent. Companies should also encourage more women to be part of the board and senior leadership team, leveraging their strengths and expertise and supporting them to make key decisions that are more beneficial to the company.
Advice 2: Eliminate communication barriers between generations and levels with more customer-centric, effective collaboration mechanisms
Organisations should encourage communication and collaboration between different generations and levels. This can be done by cultivating the leadership potential of younger employees and harnessing their strengths in innovation, open-mindedness, and learning while valuing the experience and wisdom of older employees. Organisations should establish more effective collaboration mechanisms, supported by digital and diversified communication channels, that allow young employees’ input to reach decision-making levels. This will accelerate the sharing of know-how and skills, and improve the competitiveness of business. By leveraging talent resources and stimulating innovation in this way, companies can create a more dynamic and inclusive workplace to deliver better business results and drive growth.
Advice 3: Build a diverse and inclusive corporate culture
Corporate culture is a critical element in achieving organisational goals. To build a culture of diversity and inclusion, organisations can focus on identifying and promoting three to five ‘key minority behaviours’. Formal leaders should lead this culture change by setting an example from the top-down while using ‘informal leaders’ to make change happen at the front line. Meanwhile, companies should develop a culture measurement plan to assess and track the impact of culture change on corporate strategy.
To achieve diversity and inclusion and ESG objectives, companies must also focus on developing the capacity of their leadership teams. The leadership team must have the awareness, knowledge, and skills to drive diversity and inclusion throughout the organisation. They also need to develop an understanding of the importance and trends in ESG to develop aligned strategies and guidelines. This includes monitoring and reporting on the company's performance and reviewing whether the company's policies, processes, and practices meet the required standards. The leadership team needs to develop the necessary expertise and skills through targeted training.
In conclusion, companies can strengthen their leadership team's diversity and inclusion and ESG capacity building through the training and development of their employees, making their knowledge and experience an asset for sustainable development.
Sustainability Markets Leader, Climate and Sustainability Leader, PwC China
Tel: + (10) 6533 2599