Culture eats diversity for breakfast!

 In Blog, CEO's blog

It is a well-worn theme in these blogs that the business case for a more ethnically diverse workforce is conclusively proven. Baroness MacGregor-Smith, the Chartered Institute of Management, McKinsey – the list of reports goes on. However, while the evidence is strong, progress in creating more diverse organisations is slower.

One of the reasons for this is that while evidence appeals to the logical side of our natures, it doesn’t necessarily easily translate to a change in habits and behaviour. Multiply this by the numbers and complexity of a big organisation and you can see how pretty soon the clear business case gets locked in the sticky goo of the culture of an organisation and beliefs about “this is how we do things” and “this is how we have always done this, and it has worked for us so far”. There is a famous phrase which says “culture eats structure for breakfast”, which we have amended somewhat to say “culture eats diversity for breakfast”.

This is the theme of London Works’ and ELBA’s special breakfast event on 19th January. If you want to reap the rewards of a more diverse workforce, you will have to look at the culture of your organisation not just the policies. How do organisational cultures get changed – from the top downwards. Only senior management can make the necessary decisions and drive through the changes. We are inviting senior business leaders to come and hear how others have succeeded in making their change. Senior leaders learn best from their peers and we have assembled a particularly glittering cast of speakers and panellists.

Our keynote speaker is Matthew Ryder, Deputy Mayor for Social Integration, Social Mobility and Community Engagement. He will be joined by Payal Vasudeva, Managing Director Talent and Organisation, UK&I at Accenture; Jane Goldsmith, Partner, Talent, Financial Practice, EY; Martin Stanley, Global Head of Infrastructure and Real Assets (MIRA), Macquarie Group; Mark McLane, Global Head of Diversity and Inclusion at Barclays and Professor Colin Bailey, Principal of Queen Mary’s University London. An august group indeed.

We will also be publishing some new research which looks at the relative performance of students from disadvantaged backgrounds and their destinations after graduation. We will be making the point that a lot of talent goes unused because judgements are made about the background of young people rather than their skills, drive and attributes. We will be saying more about our developing approach to measuring the potential of each human being, with an emphasis on profiling candidates against the skills needed in the future workforce – not those of the past.

All in all it promises to be a fascinating morning. Find out more about the event and register to attend.

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