IoD Guidance for businesses to harness diverse talent for success

The Institute of Directors has today launched a new business paper, ‘The Future of Business: harnessing diverse talent for success’. The paper provides practical guidance for employers on how to create working environments in which all talent – with specific reference to disability, ethnicity, gender and sexual orientation – can thrive and contribute to business bottom-line and growth.

Developed by an IoD Commission of senior business leaders and experts in the field, the paper makes a number of recommendations to businesses, including:

  1. How to develop a data strategy to inform all decisions relating to equity, diversity and inclusion (ED&I).
  2. How to review and update recruitment practices to ensure that applications are processed based entirely on candidates’ skills, experience, and potential.
  3. How to review the extent to which there is a pipeline of diverse talent into an organisation’s senior leadership.
  4. How to develop an inclusive workplace culture, including assessing how all communications convey and project how organisations value and harnesses diverse talent.
  5. How to drive change on ED&I through senior leadership and accountability structures, including at board level.

Commenting on the launch of the paper, Jonathan Geldart, Director General of the Institute of Directors, said:

“In the face of economic uncertainty, there is a risk that ED&I will take a back seat, and the progress of recent years will be eroded. Yet, with unemployment at its lowest since 1974, harnessing the full potential of the UK’s diverse workforce has never been more important.

“Diverse workplaces are a key enabler of growth; they are more effective and creative and, as a result, more likely to be resilient in difficult economic times.

“Business simply cannot afford to miss out on talent, which is why the IoD launched this Commission to better understand current good practices and help develop guidance in embedding ED&I in organisations.”

Lord [Kevin] Shinkwin, who chaired the Commission, commented:

“I am excited by businesses’ increasing appetite to harness diverse talent in the knowledge that their future success depends on it. I hope they find the practical guidance contained in this business paper, honed by some of our foremost business leaders, helps them – and all of their employees – realise their potential.”

You can download the full paper, ‘The Future of Business: harnessing diverse talent for success: Practical guidance for employers’, here.

In addition, the Commission will shortly be publishing a further paper, which will make a series of policy recommendations for Government and other bodies to bring about the most favourable conditions for businesses and directors to flourish.

About the Commission

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, the Commission was guided by a panel of eleven senior business leaders and experts.

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 – Immediate Past President, the Law Society of England and Wales

Virginia Clegg – Senior Partner, DAC Beachcroft

Paul Donovan – Chief Economist, UBS Global Wealth Management

David Forbes-Nixon OBE – Founder and former CEO of Alcentra and Founder and Executive Chair, DFN Charitable Foundation and DFN Project SEARCH

Mike Howells – President, Workforce Skills, Pearson

Steve Ingham CBE – CEO, PageGroup

Matthew Layton – former Global Managing Partner, Clifford Chance

Helena, Baroness Morrissey DBE – Chair, The Diversity Project

Dr Zara Nanu – Chief Executive, Gapsquare

Theresa Shearer FRSE – CEO, ENABLE

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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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