Simple and Effective Ways to Drive Diversity & Inclusion in Leadership

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Simple and Effective Ways to Drive Diversity & Inclusion in Leadership
Ian Davies


Simple and Effective Ways to Drive Diversity & Inclusion in Leadership

A company’s leadership sets an example. If diversity and inclusion in a leadership is lacking, it can have a damaging impact. Here are a few simple, effective tips from SRG to help get it right.

Now, perhaps more than ever before, diversity and inclusion considerations are having an important impact across all aspects of life.

No matter who or where we are, we rightfully expect a level of respect and decent and fair treatment, unobstructed by our race, gender, sexuality, religion, and societal background – or anything that makes us, as individuals, who we are. 

In business or working environments, whether it’s ‘on the shop floor’ or in the Boardroom, everyone should be given equal opportunities to develop and succeed. From the top down, diversity and inclusion is vital to this in any company or organisation, but at leadership level it has huge importance – not only for personal growth, but for the growth of companies too.

So, join us as we dive into how – in a few simple ways – you can drive diversity and inclusion in leadership and beyond.

So, how diverse and inclusive are leadership teams currently?

Generally, not very. Or at least not as diverse and inclusive as they perhaps should or could be.

If we take the highlight results of Gitnux Diversity in the Biotech Industry research for example, we see a clear lack of diversity in leadership roles and groups in Biotech. Standout statistics include:

  • Women make up only 30% of executive positions and only 18% of board seats in the biotech industry.
  • Only about 15% of biotech companies are run by female CEOs.
  • Only 8.8% of biotech research organisations are led by women.
  • Persons of colour hold only 14% of executive team positions in the biotech industry.
  • Only 7% of top biotech executives were people of colour.
  • About 4 out of 5 biotech companies have no female executives.
  • Among biotech firms with five or more executive team members, 75% have no racial or ethnic minority members.

It is a similar story across STEM industries – a study by Black History Month found only 24% of the UK STEM workforce were women, while only 8% were from minority backgrounds.

And whilst 92% of CEOs built DEI into their strategic priorities and goals in recent years, it is thought – as outlined our ‘Why is Diverse Leadership in STEM Important?blog – that many leaders still are not doing enough to ensure their teams are inclusive and diverse.

When you consider that inclusive leadership in STEM, in teams where diverse voices have an equal platform, drives almost twice as many high-value innovative ideas than non-inclusive leadership models, and creates a positive environment of psychological safety and fulfilment, where employees are 3.5 times more likely to realise their potential, there is a clear argument for leadership to always build on its diversity and inclusivity.

How to effectively drive Diversity and Inclusion in Leadership (and beyond)

Any company in any industry, including those in STEM, should always be active in its approach to Diversity and Inclusion, and particularly within its leadership and groups who are the forefront of setting an example.

While there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to creating, building on, and driving a company’s approach to Diversity and Inclusion, there are a few tried and tested ways of making a quick and lasting impact.

Here are just a few ideas for an effective approach to Diversity and Inclusion in Leadership:

  • Break away from the norm – Don’t be afraid to be different and be at the forefront of making a change. You could look to include non-execs in your leadership teams, and those earlier in their careers, to add more depth of experience and knowledge; look within your own company, rather than externally, to ensure the right cultural fit; and simply give a new generation, perhaps younger people or those from minority groups, a chance to make a difference.
  • Think about what you don’t have, not just what you do – There is always room for new thoughts, ideas, and objectives within a leadership group. Realising this, and realising missed potential, opens up room for new ideas, new people and ultimately a more diverse and inclusive approach.
  • Take a skill and experience based approach – hire and promote people based on their skills, ability, experience and how they can help build and develop their careers, as well as your company, not because they fit in your existing leadership mould.
  • Take your time to get it right – Your leadership might be behind the times right now, but that doesn’t mean you should take a scatter gun approach to getting it right. Plan your ED&I ideas and strategy for the long term, get it right and take it from there. It’s worth it in the end.
  • Look to inspire – Live by your principles and lead by example. Get your approach to diversity and inclusivity in leadership right and you’ll not only inspire everyone within your company, but across your industry in general. Be the change that you want to see.

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