Twelve Angry Men

theHRDirector magazine (August 2021; Issue 202) have once again this month kindly invited me to contribute my thoughts – this time upon issues surrounding diversity. For copyright reasons, I can’t post this article but, instead, wanted to share a few key points from my research and reading that underpins my comments.

For any organisation focussed on the bottom-line (and what organisation isn’t, even in the not-for-profit sector?), there are sound financial reasons for backing diversity. McKinsey & Company’s Delivering Through Diversity report has established a strong correlation between boardroom diversity and financial performance. Diversity is key in the war for talent. A diverse and inclusive boardroom speaks volumes when it comes to the ability to attract, develop and retain talent. 

A useful study highlighted by Forbes that analysed approximately 600 corporate decisions made by 200 different business teams over a range of companies in the space of two years. The research found that inclusive teams made better decisions 87% of the time. These teams also made their decisions twice as quickly, and with half the number of meetings required. The decisions made delivered 60% better results. The study also drilled into the impact derived from the make-up of the teams. It found that, compared to individual decision-makers, all-male teams made better decisions 58% of the time. Gender diverse teams beat that by doing so 73% of the time. To make better decisions 87% of the time, you’d need a team composed from both sexes, a range of ages and from different geographical locations. 

Harvard Business Review, which studied board diversity in its report Why Diverse Teams are Smarter, concluded that diverse teams are more prone to re-examining facts while also remaining objective. It speculated that breaking up homogeneity forces people to become more aware of their unconscious biases, which might tie them into strenuously supporting one way of thinking, even when the evidence points in entirely another direction.

I was delighted to be featured in this month’s issue (202) of theHRDirector (“the independent, thought-led publication for Senior HR Practitioners”) and, as a courtesy, mention this offer from them: “If you find value in their content and would like to receive their print edition each month, they can offer you a £50 discount when you Subscribe in Print by using the  promotional code CONTRIBUTOR. Digital Subscriptions are also available.”