Why bother with diversity, inclusion and Belonging?

Why bother with diversity, inclusion and Belonging?

Because talent doesn’t care where it comes from, only that it is nurtured.

It matters because we need the right talent in the right places in order for us all to thrive. 

That’s why developing belonging, diversity, and inclusion calls for a conscious and systemic approach.

Diversity describes the range of kinds of talent and experience in your business. Inclusion means pulling people in, avoiding exclusion, whether explicit or implicit. Belonging goes further: really feeling part of it, a deeper sense of shared values and purpose in a community, not having to question or look over your shoulder or feel like you have to make a lot of effort to have your voice heard or contribution recognised.

(We’ve explored the human factors behind this in an earlier article)

A sense of belonging makes for deeper commitment. Belonging means we collaborate easily and swiftly, pull together through difficult times, share knowledge, resources and ideas openly.

All of which is essential for productivity.

So no, this is not ‘soft’, or nice to have: diversity, conclusion, and the deeper force of Belonging, are business-critical.

Productivity is a big problem in the UK. In business we perform at one of the lowest levels of productivity in Europe, 26.7% behind Germany. Despite the excitement in January that the ONS latest figures show a 0.9% increase – for the last 10 years UK productivity has been going down, not up. 

Talent, opportunity and productivity are entwined in all kinds of economic and social complexity. This is why you need a framework for belonging, in order to address diversity and inclusion.

Cutting out access to talent because your business sees a certain ‘type’ as a leader, or recruits people in the image of the established members, is cutting off the pipeline of success. Recruiting people by a  diversity checklist isn’t enough. It takes a systemic approach to examine a range of implications for belonging:

  • You can show the numbers of people in targeted groups, but are they properly included?
  • Does your business retain and develop the talent that it recruits?
    Do people thrive with you, and are you pulling the most from everybody to ensure your organisation thrives long term?
  • Do you hold everybody accountable to the same standards?
  • Are you recognising achievements and behaviour that uphold shared values, or are you (perhaps unwittingly) rewarding behaviour that predicates exclusion?

One organisation that’s committed to untangling this is the Kapor Centre, part of Kapor Capital – a savvy tech investment group. They’ve recently launched Leakytechpipeline.com. This is an online tool to assess the whole pipeline of talent, for the tech industry, from pre-kindergarten to post graduate, and examining the opportunities and barriers to talented students along the way.

This is a systemic look at the tech industry pipeline. The Kapor Centre has analysed the factors that help or hinder bright potential engineers and entrepreneurs.

For example, it quotes that 

“Only 1% of venture-backed companies are started by a black or Latinx founder. Less than 1 in 5 tech companies are founded by women”

As founder Mitch Kapor sums it up:

“Genius is evenly distributed by zip code. Opportunity and access are not”

While the focus of the Kapor Centre is on the tech industry, and on creating a thriving hub of opportunity to increase diversity in the tech world of California, the principle is sound across all sectors and nations.

Belonging means ensuring opportunity at a business and a societal level: which ensures a thriving future for us all.

Opportunity and productivity are among the themes we’ll be exploring in our seminar on Belonging, diversity and inclusion on 27 March.

Email francis@belongingspace.com to book your space.