DEI agenda finally on the table of the right ones!

OPIM blog

DEI agenda finally on the table of the right ones!

More than twenty leaders and senior corporate executives from companies operating in the Czech market met at the OPIM Leadership Exchange Meeting to discuss how to Scale up DEI from the Top and drive diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) to change the culture, enhance performance, and prepare their organizations to meet the EU Gender Balance Directive, which is indirectly going to influence all European companies and the whole society, not just the listed large companies. The event was held to support the launch of the DEI Academy for leaders and HR professionals who should mainly learn and get inspired to lead the culture change.
The meeting, which took place on Wednesday, 24 April at the British Embassy, was hosted and opened with a speech by Matt Field, the British Ambassador to the Czech Republic.
“Driving diversity and inclusion matters to my government. It matters to the UK. But it also matters to me personally. And the evidence is extremely clear. More diverse and more inclusive teams make better decisions. They're better at what they do. They are the best way of helping us see the big picture. And there's also very conclusive evidence that equal, open, inclusive societies themselves as a whole are more successful. That they are better at boosting prosperity and trade. That they are better at unleashing the potential of individuals and societies as a whole. They build stronger, more effective communities, societies, and they strengthen that global resilience as well. And that's been true through everything that I've done in all kinds of different cultures and situations and embassies and missions all around the world,” the Ambassador said at the opening.
Data from research and studies confirmed these words in the very next presentation by Heidi R. Andersen, Managing Partner & Executive Coach at Living Institute Denmark, who facilitated the Exchange Meeting together with her colleague Jens Rottboll, Partner and Chief Consultant at Living Institute.

Follow the Money!

According to the Cloverpop 2017 research 'Hacking diversity with inclusive decision-making', teams that are diverse in gender, age, or nationality make good decisions 87% of the time, while homogeneous teams make good decisions only 58% of the time.

It responds to the question of why organizations should bother with diversity and inclusion and why according to the EU, listed companies must reach goals set by the so-called Gender Balance Directive by June 30, 2026.
“It is not just because equality is a founding value of the European Union. Progress has been noted in countries like Norway or Iceland where binding measures to gender balance are applied. While increasing diversity, we can ensure the competitiveness of the EU in a global economy. So money talks here,” presented Heidi.

Culture transformation in a few months? Learn from the best practice showcases!

Having responded to the question “why” the leaders then learned insights from two industry leaders - case studies and strategies employed by Maersk, the global shipping giant, and Nuuday, the Danish telecoms pioneer.

Maersk has a huge focus on recruitment. And to ensure its more than 100-year history of innovation and growth, the company must recruit the best. Nevertheless, they were having difficulty attracting and retaining female talent. To hire really the best experts, the company had started its push for diversity, equity, and inclusion. Together with Living Institute, the company looked at its entire recruitment process, from end to end. After a thorough process of surveying, they identified unconscious bias as the root of many problems, especially in the recruitment process. The company was a bit prone to groupthink when discussing candidates. To revamp recruitment and train leaders, the company ran a series of trainings, starting with leaders (mandatory inclusive leadership training) before moving on to the rest of the team (unconscious bias training for all). The trainings focused on defining unconscious bias and identifying strategies to mitigate it. Such strategies included flagging their biases upfront.
The leading Danish telco Nuuday implemented a new strategic vision to become a high-performing digital service provider, the best of European peers. At the heart of this strategic transformation was leading with inclusion and cognitive diversity to embrace differences in thought, perspective, and approaches to problem-solving. Cognitive diversity is key to improved and sustainable business performance. It helps organizations guard against groupthink, or cognitive bias, and expert overconfidence, improve problem-solving, increase the scale of new insights. Living Institute was happy to take on this challenge. A three-module Inclusive Leadership Training program was designed and offered to all leaders across Nuuday. Living Institute brought to the training 11 tools aimed at promoting inclusivity and cognitive diversity. These tools were designed to be used daily by leaders at all levels of the company. In the training sessions, higher-level leaders are brought into each new round of training to talk about their experiences and help promote buy-in.

Both companies experienced great results in culture change just in a few months: doubled number of applicants, increased inclusiveness scores, higher perceived levels of inclusion, increases in satisfaction, motivation, and eNPS scores, as well as psychological safety.
Stay tuned for the second part of the Leadership Exchange blog with best practices and strategies for future-proofing your organization.
Photo: Michal Barbuščák