Diversity and inclusivity in the workplace are hot-button topics across the world. They may be controversial but they’re subjects that need to be discussed in the boardrooms of big and small companies that want to give everyone equal access to opportunities and resources.
A study by Forbes Insights found that not only is diversity a key driver of innovation, it also attracts and keeps top talent working in a company. “Competition for talent is fierce in today’s global economy, so companies need to have plans in place to recruit, develop, and retain a diverse workforce,” says Forbes Insights.
The study surveyed and did one-on-one interviews with 321 executives responsible for their companies’ diversity and inclusivity programs. All respondents worked for global enterprises with annual revenues of more than US$500 million with 40% and above for companies with annual revenues of above $US5 billion.
On the part of sectors that are traditionally marginalized—based on gender, physical or mental disabilities, for example—inclusion programs are a means for women and disabled workers to feel protected and happy in the workplace. More importantly they #breakthebias.
According to global nonprofit Catalyst.org, which works with leading companies to help build workplaces that work for women, gender stereotypes create a no-win situation for women leaders.
FWD Life Insurance is one such innovative company that’s big on inclusion and works hard to break the gender bias and let women smash the glass ceiling.
“We make diversity, equity and inclusion a key focus, at the center of our daily actions as we continue to build our culture. It is a message that is cascaded constantly,” says Vita Guillen, FWD Chief People and Culture Officer. “We also work on establishing a balance when we hire people. It is a conscious effort we continuously strive as we source and hire talents.
At FWD, 53% of employees are female. “Going up the ladder, we’re proud to say that 60% of executives are female,” Guillen continues. “They can equally do their best to achieving their own dreams and career aspirations.” At FWD, knowledge sharing is practiced for employees to prosper in their roles and advance in their careers.
Harvard Business Review says, “Regardless of what type of diversity we examine, diversity will not enhance creativity unless there is a culture of sharing knowledge. Studies mapping the social networks of organizations have found higher levels of creativity in groups that are more interconnected, particularly when creative and intrapreneurial individuals are a central node in those networks.”
The benefits of diversity and inclusivity programs also apply to executives. A study from Boston Consulting Group found that companies with diverse management teams had 19% higher innovation-related revenue than companies that were below-average in leadership diversity.
The BGC study found that “this is a clear path to creating a more innovative organization. People with different backgrounds and experiences often see the same problem in different ways and come up with different solutions, increasing the odds that one of those solutions will be a hit. In a fast-changing business environment, such responsiveness leaves companies better positioned to adapt.”
As women advance in their careers, their appetite for investment also grows bigger. FWD’s All Set/All Set Higher, Set for Life and Manifest are products that can help protect their life’s work and their financial future too.