Diversity starts within


I enjoyed Trevor Phillips (the former chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission) article recently looking at placing more emphasis on facts and well researched analysis when discussing and forming opinions on the subject of diversity. He cites the recent launch of the national equality standard (NES) as a positive move. Led by 18 major firms, the NES will invite companies to submit to a professional audit of their policies and practices. If they pass companies will earn the right to use the standard as a kitemark for their achievement.

I am not wholly convinced by this approach. As with health and safety, where there has been a plateauing in performance, I wonder if the great strides made in diversity over the last 30 years are as far as we can go based on policies and procedures? Is it time to look more internally at diversity and see the engine room for future changes in our own attitudes and behaviours and to ask of ourselves and our management teams what barriers still exist? If we want our businesses to be the best they can be then we need to choose our colleagues based on talent alone. The figures Trevor Phillips quotes, and that are easily accessible, prove that we currently do not. We need to learn that if we did, our businesses, and our lives in general, would be that much richer.