Are you still fixing the problem?

Diversity and Inclusion is BIG BUSINESS nowadays.  Companies around the world are embracing the journey.  And with good reason.  After all, the case for the benefits of diversity in the workplace is insurmountable.  For example:

  • Most research studies agree that for every 1% increase in gender diversity, revenues grow by 3%;
  • A diverse ethnic mix in the workplace increases company revenues by 15%; and
  • Glassdoor feedback shows that 67% of those looking for work say diversity plays an important part in evaluating prospective employers and jobs.

But the benefits of diversity can only be harnessed when the company sees diversity and inclusion as a business strength and embraces it as an opportunity.  On our Diversity Journey Model, that is Stage 4 – Seeing Diversity as an Opportunity –  and beyond.    Examples of global organisations that have achieved this stage of their journey are numerous.  Here are three of them:

  1. Johnson & Johnson
  2. EY
  3. Novartis
  1. Johnson & Johnson

With over 132,000 employees around the world, J&J invested heavily to develop Inclusion.  The company defines its D&I vision as a drive ‘to maximise the global power of diversity and inclusion, to drive superior business results and sustainable competitive advantage’.  In other words, D&I is baked right into the business strategy of the company.  To prove they mean business, J&J appointed a Chief Diversity Officer who reports directly to the CEO and the Chairman.  D&I is not the domain of HR – or seen as a sub-tranche of another function – it is its own valid business unit that touches every aspect of the organisation.

  1. EY

With 280,000 employees across the globe, EY believes that “only the highest-performing teams, which maximise the power of different opinions, perspectives, and cultural references, will succeed in the global marketplace.”  EY recently introduced the  “Strong when we Belong”  campaign as one of its inclusion-building initiatives which shares stories and podcasts celebrating EY colleagues from different backgrounds.  EY’s continued dedication to inclusion and diversity have helped it increase its female partner representation to 23% and its female director representation to 37% (among other positive changes to its ethnic mix and other diverse representation).  They have also reduced the gender pay gap and are reporting on other pay gaps that are not legally required.


  1. Novartis

With over 125,000 employees around the world, Novartis sees diversity as an integral force in its success.  The company believes that understanding the unique needs of its patients and finding innovative ways of addressing those needs will it a better pharmaceutical company.  For instance, the company replaced the word ‘disability’ with the word ‘diverseability’ reflecting the view that people with disabilities are not people with lack of ability but rather they are people with different skills and proficiencies.

These three examples show what can be achieved by organisations who have been on their Diversity Journey for a while.  They no longer see the lack of diversity as a problem to solve.  Instead, they see it as a missed opportunity to achieve more, for themselves, their employees, their customers and their communities.

This mindset change is an integral milestone on the Diversity Journey.  It changes how companies approach diversity, how committed people (including leadership) are to driving diversity and to what extent diversity and inclusion is embedded in every aspect, decision and consideration of the organisation.  It is only when an organisation has reached this mindset that it is able to begin to benefit from the diversity of thought that its people not only bring but are invited to share.  And that, after all, is the ultimate destination.

Has your organisation reached Stage 4 of its Diversity Journey?

If you enjoyed this article, you might also enjoy reading Diversity Audit: What’s behind the steel door?