The economic and social challenges that the UK faces have been thrown into sharp relief by Brexit, around issues like productivity, inclusion and opportunity. As businesses, it is up to us to seize the opportunities that exist to make some positive changes, becoming firms that will be competitive into the middle of the 21st Century. If we get it right, business growth and greater opportunity will go hand in hand.
CBI believes that inclusive businesses will deliver better economically as well as socially. People are at the heart if this. It is often said that the workforce is a business’ greatest asset, but we are missing an opportunity if our actions – how we lead, manage, support and develop people – don’t back this up, and if we lack the focus needed to help every person reach their best.
The report calls on businesses to:
- Recognise the impact their workplaces have on productivity
- Set tailored, voluntary targets to improve diversity and hold leaders responsible for plans to achieve them
- Develop the language and tools to discuss inclusion with confidence
- Work collaboratively and share good practice to improve inclusion across sectors
- Offer flexible working from job adverts onwards
- Consider using name-blind recruitment and extending competency-based assessment to challenge unconscious bias
- Develop long-term partnerships with schools, colleges and universities to attract people from underrepresented local communities
- Commit to helping staff develop their careers and make people planning as important as financial planning in leadership discussions
- Ensure managers’ performance appraisals must give weight to their roles in developing staff as well as short-term commercial performance
- Find appropriate mentoring, sponsorship and networking opportunities for staff’s long-term development.