Cartoon Group of Diverse Individuals

IoD press release New Commission to look at how business can harness diverse talent for success

The Institute of Directors has today announced the launch of a new Commission, ‘The future of inclusive business: harnessing diverse talent for success’, to examine the key barriers to the recruitment, retention, and progression of individuals from underrepresented groups, with specific reference to disability, ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation.

The Commission will be led by Lord Shinkwin, who has made equality of opportunity his key focus since entering the House of Lords in 2015 and has lived experience of severe disability, and guided by a panel of eleven senior business leaders and experts. It will identify and promote business best practice in overcoming these barriers and in creating working environments in which all talent can thrive and contribute to business bottom-line and growth.

The Shinkwin Commission’s White Paper will include specific, user-friendly and practical guidance on how to inspire and drive mutually beneficial change across business leadership, as well as make insightful policy recommendations for Government and other bodies to bring about the most favourable conditions for businesses and directors to flourish.

The Commission is today launching a call for evidence for employers to make their voices heard and help inform its deliberations and White Paper. Responses can either be submitted through the consultation document or an online form. The deadline for responses to this consultation is 30th April 2022, with the White Paper due to be published in the autumn.

Commenting on the launch of the Commission, Lord Shinkwin said:

“I am delighted to have been asked to chair this important and timely initiative, and I am excited that the IoD is taking such a strong lead in this area. It is too easy for politicians like me to dismiss diversity and inclusion as woke when actually every successful business knows that diversity is not just a good thing; it gives them that competitive edge.

“Now as never before, we need to go for growth. That means thinking big. The collective brainpower, experience and expertise of the Commission’s members are phenomenal. I am hugely grateful to them for their time and commitment and look forward very much to harnessing their diverse talents and insights in the months ahead.”

Jonathan Geldart, Director General of the Institute of Directors, said:

“With labour and skills shortages holding back businesses across sectors and in every part of the UK, harnessing the full potential of the UK’s diverse workforce has never been more important. We also know that diverse organisations are more effective and creative and, as a result, more likely to be successful.

“The Institute of Directors is therefore delighted to have brought together a number of experts in the field, under the leadership of Lord Shinkwin, to look at the steps needed from both business and government to ensure that all talent has the opportunity to flourish in the workplace. I would urge anyone with relevant expertise and experience to share it with the Commission.”

‘The future of business: harnessing diverse talent for success’, list of Commissioners:  

  • Kevin, Lord Shinkwin – Chair of the Commission and member of the House of Lords
  • Dr. Roger Barker – Director of Policy and Corporate Governance, IoD
  • I. Stephanie Boyce – President, the Law Society
  • Virginia Clegg – Senior Partner, DAC Beachcroft
  • Paul Donovan – Chief Economist, UBS Global Wealth Management
  • David Forbes-Nixon OBE – former CEO of Alcentra and founding Chair, DFN Foundation and DFN Project SEARCH
  • Mike Howells – President, Workforce Skills, Pearson
  • Steve Ingham – CEO, PageGroup
  • Matthew Layton – Global Managing Partner, Clifford Chance
  • Louise Macdonald OBE – National Director, IoD Scotland
  • Helena, Baroness Morrissey DBE – Chair, The Diversity Project
  • Dr. Zara Nanu – Chief Executive, Gapsquare

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The IoD supports directors and business leaders across the UK and beyond to learn, network and build successful, responsible businesses.
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