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.
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.
Ensure equal opportunity in recruitment, progression and development – regardless of age, disability, race, religion, gender and sexual orientation
Prepare managers to lead and manage teams remotely, and to make all voices heard in new hybrid ways of working
Collect data, set clear D&I objectives and develop a roadmap for how you’ll meet them, measuring your progress along the way
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.
"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
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 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.
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.
Time for Action: CBI report outlines the business case for inclusive workplaces
Tackling sexual harassment in the workplace
Front of Mind: new CBI report shows the importance of health and wellbeing in the workplace
Making transparency a success
Government agrees that the re-introduction of statutory questionnaires is not appropriate
Improving the understanding of sexual harassment in the workplace
Protecting workers from third party harassment
Exploring the limitations of NDAs
Mind the gap: new member guide helps firms tackle their gender pay gaps
CBI holds third inclusive conference
Taking a stand on sexual harassment in the workplace
Businesses may have to publish their flexible working policies
Effective transparency will help people access the working flexibility they need
CBI supports a new Neonatal Leave and Pay entitlement for parents
CBI promotes disability inclusion and better mental health care in the workplace
A step-change is needed to increase number of women in senior leadership roles
Bridge the gap: practical guide helps firms tackle ethnicity pay gaps
Closing the pay gap: improve ethnicity disclosure with a culture of trust
Closing the pay gap: develop a strong talent pipeline from entry level to executive roles
Closing the pay gap: build inclusion by talking about race at work
The CBI launches its Invest for Growth campaign to increase UK R&D spend to 3%, with its Now is the Time to Innovate – Road to 3% report
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Join the voice of business, and help us campaign to build a diverse and inclusive workforce.
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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.