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Inclusion in the workplace – what needs to improve?

London, 14 July 2022, written by Mark McLane, Head of Diversity, Inclusion and Well-being at M&G plc and Workstream Sponsor at Financial Services Skills Commission (FSSC)

Research overwhelmingly supports the conclusion that organisations must aspire towards a more diverse workforce. But for diverse workforces to flourish, companies must strive to create a welcoming work environment and have tangible metrics that allow them to track and enhance colleague inclusion.

Knowing how to measure inclusion can be challenging. But, without targeted insights, it’s impossible to truly understand the impact of diversity and inclusion (D&I) work designed to enhance a colleague’s experience and an organisation’s culture and reputation.

Diversity is broadly defined by the traits or characteristics of an individual. Inclusion is the behaviour that ensures the team feels welcomed. This can make inclusion, for the most part, difficult to identify. Inclusion is invisible but tangible. Within M&G, we look at inclusion through the optics of our colleagues and their ability to feel confident “bringing their whole self to work”. We hold ourselves accountable through specific measures that track a colleague’s experience through our Inclusion Index, which has been developed through our work with the Financial Services Skills Commission (FSSC). This allows us to measure progress with unprecedented precision and form targeted insights into where it is strong, where we need to focus our work and the different experiences of colleagues across teams, geographies, and departments. We also hold ourselves accountable through external benchmarks, including the National Equality Standard and LGBT Great equality index.

Measuring and shaping inclusion within our culture is increasingly important to our customers, shareholders, colleagues, and regulators. More and more, they want to see more diverse and inclusive workplaces across regulated and listed companies. Research has shown correlations between diversity and inclusion and the positive outcomes to risk management, good conduct, healthy working cultures, and innovation.

M&G is proud to support the Financial Services Skills Commission’s work and publication of its Inclusion Measurement Guide. This Guide is updated one year on from its original launch based on learnings from the pilot survey ran in partnership with Financial Services Culture Board (FSCB) in October 2021. We have revised the survey questionnaire based on FSCB’s cognitive testing insights and added a question on stereotyping as well as an updated list of demographic characteristics which firms can use to strengthen their internal metrics. Firms will be able to gain a more in-depth picture of inclusion across their workforce, identifying areas for development and improvement.

While most organisations believe that having a diverse and inclusive culture is critical to performance, they don’t always know how to achieve that goal. This updated Guide will help improve and standardise inclusion measurement across the financial services sector.

The updated Guide can be accessed here.

14 July 2022