Tag Archives: diversity

The EU, Quotas and an apology

A health warning on today’s post, for two reasons.  First, expect a rant.  This morning two of my favourite subjects caught my eye, the European Union and the subject of quotas.  Second, be prepared for an admission that I might have been wrong.

Shocked?  You should be.  I suspect this may be my first public admission of my own fallibility since 1987 ( I lost an argument over which one of the Farris Brothers played lead Guitar in INXS , it was Tim, not Andrew ).

Back to matters at hand.  Namely the EU and Quotas.  So here we go.  Ready, aim…….

Wait a minute.  Here comes the admission.  It looks as though for once I owe our good neighbours ( in that enormous waste of our hard-earned cash, I had to get it in somewhere ) in Brussels an apology.  It seems that for once they might actually be needed to do some good.

The subject of quotas is on the Agenda again and I am not talking about Fish Stocks.  This time it is back to the issue of diversity in the workplace, in particular in the boardroom.

3% of Fortune 500 CEO’s are Women.  In Europe, only 12% of Board posts are occupied by Women.  In the UK, the picture is a little better.  In the FTSE 100 the number of women in Board Posts is up in the last 10 years from 6.9% to 12.5%.  A step in the right direction, but there are still only 79 female Executives on the Board of Britain’s largest companies.

It makes no sense.  This is not 1811, this is 2011.  Organisations the world over are ignoring 50% of the population when it comes to picking top talent.  The debate rages on and yet little changes.  It’s a nonsense.

A 2010 report by McKinsey stated

“Operating results of companies which have greater gender diversification are 56% higher”

In 2007, A Goldman Sachs report evidenced

“closing the gender gap could boost U.S. gross domestic product, a broad measure of economic growth, by as much as 9%, and up to 13% in the euro zone”.

Based on the stats, business doesn’t seem to be getting the message that Talent is not defined by gender, race, sexual orientation or religious belief.  It is not defined by geography or culture, by nationality or heritage.  Get the message, pick the very best you can afford to deliver the very best value to shareholders, customers, employees, the wider world.

I don’t want to be told who to hire.  I don’t believe in quotas, it encourages all sorts of problems when it comes to hiring, but if the message doesn’t get through, politicians will step in and a quota is what we will get.  Politicians and Business don’t mix (with any degree of success).  Quota’s and Business don’t work.  If Business Leaders don’t wake up, then a quota is what we will get and we have only ourselves to blame.  For once, the politicians might just be right.

I’ll leave you with a sense of just what we are up against in the battle to get this message through.  Recently Josef Ackerman, CEO of Deutsche Bank, was reported to have commented that having more Women in the Board Room would make board meetings “prettier and colourful”.  I’ll leave you to make your own judgement.



Filed under Corporate Governance, Employee Engagement, Hiring

The Ying and the Yang

I am repeating myself. I don’t want to be told who to hire. I am interested in your talent, your aspirations, your ambitions, what motivates, what inspires, what drives you, what you’ve learned, what you want to learn. Your gender has no bearing on my hiring decision.

Nor frankly does your sexuality, religious beliefs, favourite colour, shoe size or football team (well perhaps not entirely true!). I want the very best I can possibly afford for my company. That to me is just simple common sense. Many it would appear do not share my view. Frankly life would be dull if they did.

However the world is changing. Management speak is full of terms such as engagement, retention and diversity. Is this just lip service, or are people really embracing genuine workplace diversity and seeing the value that a range of views, talent, experiences, cultures and perspectives can bring to the workplace?

Long term vision and compelling purpose are topics for discussion as companies gear up post apocalypse for the promise of brighter days ahead. At the same time testosterone would appear to be on the wane in the Boardroom. Statistically this is certainly not the case as yet, but the rallying cry for more women in the boardroom was heard again this week from the CBI and the IoD in the UK.

This video from the always excellent TedTalks, evidences just how women are out performing men in so many areas of society today. I for one am delighted. The wider and deeper the talent pool, the easier my job.

If you want to attract the very best, if you truly want to succeed, then open your mind. A successful business today needs to combine the very best that Mars and Venus has to offer. It should not be about Men OR Women, it should be about Men AND Women.

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Filed under Hiring

Diversity makes for great results

Planet Business is a very small place.  Success for so many is no longer just about your street, your town, your district, your region, even your country.

To be successful in 2010, you need an unswerving commitment to diversity in the workplace.  You need a clear, coherent, consistently applied strategy to ensure that your organisation attracts the very best talent available.

This is not about quotas or ticking boxes.  This is about the facts.  The more diverse the workforce, the more likely you are to be successful and the more sustainable that success will be.  Talent is not defined by borders, gender, race, sexuality, religion.  Talent comes in all shapes and sizes.  Your business success is entirely dependent on your ability to attract the very best from all four corners of the planet.

Here PwC talks about their commitment to diversity and the competitive advantage they have enjoyed as a result.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

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Filed under Recruitment, Talent

Talent knows no boundaries

Last week the new UK coalition government published its official work programme. Amongst its many commitments was a pledge to “promote gender equality on the boards of listed companies”, a pledge I wholly support and endorse. However I am left questioning why it should be that in 2010 we still require the government to focus our attention on the promotion of diversity in the boardroom.

Surely this is just a political exercise, making the right noises to appease all views? Surely business leaders in 2010 are long sold on the enormous benefits a diverse leadership group can bring to an organisation?

Business is an ever increasingly small world. Opportunity is less dictated by geography than ever before and talent is certainly not defined by gender, race or any other measure that we may think to apply. I have long been of the view that hiring should be a simple decision of securing the very best person (within budgetary means) from the widest possible pool of talent. My blog post yesterday reflected on the global reach social media affords those of us in the war for talent. Male or Female, European, American, African, Asian, it makes no odds. I want the very best person I can afford. Surely this is the widely held view? It would appear to me to make perfect sense. I find myself struggling to challenge my thinking, to understand in what circumstances I could be wrong. Perhaps I look at life through very simple eyes peering out from behind somewhat rose tinted specs at a very blue sky? Accepting there is much prejudice on planet Earth, surely when it comes down to business such prejudice is put aside? Sadly on further inspection it would appear not to be so.

The benefits of diversity around the leadership table and indeed in the workforce are enormous. Not without its management challenges I accept. However with the pace of globalization accelerating by the day, for most business to survive and thrive success means being able to cast aside traditional assumptions and prejudice in order to seize new opportunities in new markets. That means new cultures, ways of working, beliefs, customs, religions. Enormous benefit is to be gained from a different view, way of thinking or approach.

Diversity in the workplace encourages innovation and creativity, fresh ideas, new products, services and strategies. Diversity brings with it different skills and talents that can improve an organisations ability to deliver goods or services and enhance the customer experience, better understand customer need, add value and sustain competitive advantage. It can reduce the costs of turnover, sickness and absence, impacting positively on employee engagement and have a significant impact on the strength of the employer brand. It can certainly help business to manage better the impact of globalisation and technological change. Not to be underestimated is the positive impact to be had on the image of the organisation amongst external stakeholders and ultimately on social cohesion.

Recruiting from the widest possible pool of talent and embracing diversity in both the boardroom and the workforce is a “no brainer” if an organisation wants to thrive. This is not about political correctness, this is about adopting common sense best practice that simply looks at hiring the best possible person regardless of gender, ethnicity,sexual orientation, age, race, religion or disability.

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Filed under Talent