Unlock employee potential through inclusion in times of change

Unlock employee potential through inclusion in times of change

Diversity: good for people, good for business


The COVID-19 pandemic poses a lesser-known danger: that the progress businesses have made on diversity and inclusion may be reversed. Diverse workforces and inclusive workplaces can boost performance, lead to greater innovation and better problem solving, improve productivity and engage employees. This will help the economy to recover quicker – and it’s better for people too.


The change we're calling for


That’s why we’re calling on business to continue to focus on diversity and inclusion, to double down on the methods that proved effective before the pandemic, but to also innovate and implement new ones to drive further progress. The new hybrid working model - blending in-office and remote - poses both opportunities and challenges. True progress won’t happen by doing only the minimum required, but by empowering every single employee.

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    Ensure equal opportunity in recruitment, progression and development – regardless of age, disability, race, religion, gender and sexual orientation

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    Prepare managers to lead and manage teams remotely, and to make all voices heard in new hybrid ways of working

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    Collect data, set clear D&I objectives and develop a roadmap for how you’ll meet them, measuring your progress along the way


Why it's needed


COVID-19 has impacted everyone, but the severity of the impact differs for different members of society. The pandemic has also exacerbated long-standing inequalities. On the other hand, it has provided the opportunity to implement flexible working and mental health and wellbeing policies on a grand scale. And a diverse workforce and inclusive workplace will drive economic recovery too.

Now is the time for businesses to engage their staff in discussions on making the new hybrid workplace one that they want to return to. It’s an opportunity to develop hybrid working in a way that boosts diversity and inclusion, and ensures people from all walks of life feel like they belong.

With the benefits to people, business and wider society clear to see, the CBI are calling for UK businesses to unlock the potential of every employee by taking a world-leading approach to diverse and inclusive workplaces.

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"Building workplaces that have the best of all of our talent, from all walks of life, has never been more important. For the UK to globally compete for people and skills, every business leader has a role to play in convincing the quiet sceptics of the importance of diversity and inclusion for UK recovery."

Carolyn Fairbairn, Director-General (2015-2020), CBI

Inclusive businesses perform better

Getting diversity right creates advantages for everybody

There is significant evidence to suggest that diverse groups enjoy better performance - but there are wider economic advantages too. In fact, the business case is watertight.

  • Firms with the highest levels of gender diversity on executive teams are 25% more likely to outperform their rivals on profitability

  • Firms with high cultural and ethnic diversity on executive teams are 36% more likely to outperform their rivals on profitability

  • Higher levels of employees feeling like they belong can lead to an 56% increase in job performance and a 75% decrease in sick days

The business case behind diversity and inclusion

The business case for increasing diversity and inclusion is getting stronger. Find out how many businesses across the UK have put inclusion at the heart of their organisation to create more engaged and productive workforces.


Our progress and impact


The CBI campaigns tirelessly on behalf of our members so that business creates prosperity for all. Learn more about the work we do and the impact we are making on this issue.

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Support the change

  1. Are you a business leader?


    Join the CBI

    Our members are our mandate, and the reason we’re the most influential business organisation in the UK.

    Join the voice of business, and help us campaign to build a diverse and inclusive workforce.

    Find out more
  2. Are you a CBI member?


    Have your say

    A diverse range of talent creates a more productive working environment. Shape our policy position on this matter and help drive change.

    Get involved
  3. Are you a policymaker?


    Make a difference

    This campaign is led by the CBI's People & Skills team.

    Contact Matthew Percival, Director of People and Skills, to find out about the change UK business urgently needs and how you can support it.

    Contact us