The fight for equality and representation in the workplace is an ongoing struggle and the pandemic has made all decisions that companies need to make that much harder, especially concerning diversity and inclusion. In their article Women in the Workplace 2020, consultancy giant McKinsey even goes so far as to warn that “choices companies make today will have consequences for gender equality for decades to come.”
But what is meant by diversity and inclusion (D&I)? Why is it so important? How do you incorporate it into your business? How will your business benefit from it? And most importantly – where do we start?
This is exactly what the new FinTech B2B Marketing webinar series will tackle. The 5-part webinar series is specially tailored for marketers and will answer questions like:
– Why is a diverse and culturally rich workplace important?
– How does it impact my company’s brand and bottom line?
– How can we build D&I into our marketing strategy?
– How can we address the ‘S’ in ESG, and leverage data to understand how to measure performance?
– Why should marketing and HR join forces to champion D&I in the workplace?
In the first of these webinars, entitled Demystifying Diversity & Inclusion For FinTech Marketers-What’s Your Next Step?, Payal Raina, Global Head of Marketing at Torstone Technology and Founder of Fintech B2B, moderated a stellar, all-female panel for their insights on the subject: Lucinda Wakefield, Head of Diversity and Inclusion, EMEA at BNY Mellon; Anoosha Livani, Director, UK Head of Marketing & Communications at Societe Generale Securities Services; and Lucy Heavens the Co-founder at RegTech Women.
During the session, Raina conducted an audience poll which highlighted that most marketers felt D&I was important (14%) to very important (42%) for their company, while a large portion of the audience felt it was only somewhat important. The fact that so many marketers don’t consider D&I a vital part of their company has major significance for the company as a whole and is reflected in their marketing strategy: when asked whether they have a defined D&I strategy a third either didn’t know if they had one in place or didn’t have a strategy at all.
Despite the fact that most felt D&I was important to the company, half of the audience members (50%) felt the main benefit of incorporating D&I into marketing strategy was to help attract diverse talent and that only a few felt it broadened their audience (16%) and aligned with their company values (16%). There seemed to be a clear disconnect in why D&I was perceived as important to a company and how marketers could effectively leverage it in terms of brand perception and the company’s bottom line. This was made clear by the overwhelming number of marketers that indicated that they would be interested in guidance on incorporating D&I into their marketing strategy (75%).
Here is a step-by-step guide from the panellists on where to start your diversity and inclusion marketing strategy:
Step 1: Defining D&I and your goal
Diversity refers to our differences which enable each of us to make a unique contribution – if we’re all the same we’ll never contribute something new and the company might not reach its full potential. Yet diversity also means a reflection of our customer base, the people and communities your serve. In terms of inclusion, it’s all about a respectful, equitable and welcoming culture where we feel we belong – by showing that people’s differences are valued. Important to note that diversity and inclusion don’t automatically denote each other, and companies need to focus on strategies for both.
Another essential factor to remember according to Lucinda Wakefield, Head of Diversity and Inclusion, EMEA at BNY Mellon, is equity: “It’s also really important to think about equity and the difference between equity and equality. Equality is where we treat everyone the same, we provide everyone with the same thing, but why when everyone isn’t the same? We need to acknowledge that there is a historical starting point and that equity is what we should be striving for. Equity aims to achieve that fairness by providing people with the resources and the opportunities they need given the context of their circumstances. Striving for equity can be the anchor to help create more diverse and inclusive organizations.”
A good starting point is the leadership team agreeing what they want to achieve through a D&I strategy. The key to a good D&I strategy is to make it as simple and comprehensible as possible so that everyone is on the same page within the company and that they’re comfortable discussing it. By simplifying your strategy it will be easier to incorporate it into various aspects of the company and to communicate externally / publicly.
Step 2: Determining the breadth and depth of your strategy
Now to decide to what extent this should be applied: through your whole value chain, your clients and your suppliers? From social movements, youth entering the workplace looking for companies whose values match theirs, to the recent pandemic – implementing a D&I strategy is becoming crucial to companies’ survival and the extent to which it’s being applied is also getting a lot of focus. Although currently there is no benchmark for how diverse or inclusive an organisation has to be to be able to enforce the agenda, regulatory bodies such as the FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) are supportive of D&I (for example, the FCA has recently launched a Female Economic Empowerment tech sprint).
Step 3: How to drive inclusion and measure your progress
Once you’ve determined extent to which you want your D&I strategy applied, you can now start thinking about the various structures where this strategy needs to touch and impact: the data, the policies, the leadership behaviours, and for marketers, of course, the images and the language that you’re going to use in your content that reflects your D&I priorities. As a marketer, rather than focusing on reacting to what you believe people expect of you (doing a checklist of activities), focus more on authenticity (the intention behind your D&I strategy) and tell real life stories. That said, there are a number of things that can be done from having senior management assessed on their abilities as leaders that push for progress around diversity and inclusion; publishing annual reports; implementing best practices; creative initiatives such as reverse mentorships; and various other ways in which the firm demonstrates accountability. Through assessments, company reports, representation goals linked to compensation and other tools, you can [or can’t?] measure the overall diversity within your business but you can take the temperature of the room regarding inclusivity.
What’s next for D&I and what role marketers can play?
The Covid pandemic has also placed pressure on everyone’s personal lives, highlighting the different circumstances that each employee is struggling with outside of work and the potential impacts on their day job. Be it mental health, home-schooling, single parenthood, health issues, their home environment and infrastructure, etc. companies have had to work harder to cultivate that feeling of inclusion and support. Moving forward, as more people gradually return to the office, there’s still some doubt as to a complete return to “normal” and firms will need to consider flexible/hybrid working as we adjust. This will have a huge impact on how firms will plan their D&I strategies and how marketers will implement it accordingly, against the backdrop of resulting trends yet to emerge.
This article is based on episode 1 of the D&I series, available here