Let me tell you a little secret: No one is perfect.
I work with a fairly diverse portfolio of clients, from Hedge Funds to Private Equity, Management Consultancies to FinTechs, but they all have one thing in common: they are open to being inclusive. Most of them realise that there is work to be done on just how inclusive they are but recognising that and doing the work is important to them.
When I begin working with a new client, I first explain that being inclusive is not a “tick box exercise”, it is more about opening up your values and flexing your expectations. Over the years my work has led me to believe it is much easier for naturally creative people to be more inclusive.
Creative problem solvers are more inclusive by nature - it is in their DNA. They want to find a solution and are willing to fail a few times to find the correct answer.
Visual Artist Henri Matisse is credited with the quote, “Creativity takes courage.”
Courage is required to make a real difference when it comes to inclusion. The term ‘diversity’ has become a buzzword in the workplace and wider society. It goes hand in hand with the term ‘inclusion’. Many businesses have specialists dedicated to diversity and inclusion to ensure they’re effectively implementing it in their business.
A key goal of these companies is to offer opportunities to people who might fall outside of their typical talent pool, by providing them with opportunities to join the industry and in turn, generating a pipeline of diverse ideas, products, and services for their clients.
Inclusion is a vital and often overlooked aspect of building a diverse workforce - without inclusion, you will not maintain a diverse workforce. Attrition will creep up and before you know it the diversity in your teams will dwindle and you are back to square one, or worse.
“It is not easy to teach those that don’t want to be taught,” I say this line at the start of most of my new client meetings. Doing the work is the most important aspect of inclusion. It's not one and done - it is about ensuring that you are always open to learning, listening and changing.
First and foremost, everyone needs to understand the broad scope of D&I and that it encompasses providing equal opportunities to all existing employees, as well as attracting, finding and hiring diverse candidates.
It also includes creating an inclusive culture and environment for people to thrive in and where people feel comfortable being themselves and are treated fairly. It’s not always something visible such as skin colour, disability or gender. It also needs to take into account diversity of thought, neurodiversity, hidden disabilities, socio-economic backgrounds and many other environmental, human and consequential factors.
A lot is said about removing unconscious bias and for good reason. Every single person has a tendency - conscious or otherwise. We can’t just hire people who are similar to each other, even though that is the easiest thing to do. We need to get creative to truly embrace diversity and be open to those changes taking teams and businesses in different directions, to do that we must be courageous.
By realising the commercial benefits of having a diverse and inclusive workforce it makes complete sense to ingrain it within your business and people strategy and align it with your values in a way that ultimately benefits your people and your bottom line alike.
Laura Bosworth has worked in the Executive Search and Employer Branding industry for more years than she’d care to disclose. Working with clients across a range of sectors and industries in the UK and the US.
Over the course of her career, she has had the privilege of building and executing strategies and programmes that help level the playing field and create inclusive employment pathways in Technology, Professional Services and Financial Services.
Via her business, Worket, Laura consults senior executives at FTSE 250 and Fortune 500 companies on developing inclusive recruitment strategies backed with insights, including empowering and connecting emerging and established women leaders across the globe.
Motivated by the ability to have social impact at scale, building empowered teams and influencing leaders to make more inclusive and intentional decisions.
Laura is someone who loves a good brainstorming session but gets truly excited when creating a long-term vision backed with actionable roadmaps.