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How Enterprise Leaders Enhance Inclusivity

Inclusive leadership continues to be increasingly important, as demonstrated by SHL’s enterprise leadership approach.

Fostering diversity and inclusion is becoming more and more crucial for organizations. This happens because promoting diversity and inclusion is not only the right thing to do but also makes good business sense. Companies that promote diversity and inclusion are more likely to have a competitive advantage over those that do not. They are better equipped to understand and meet the needs of their customers, attract and retain top talent, and enhance their reputation. It is really important that leaders embrace diversity and inclusion. For many, this means changing their focus from a traditional top-down leadership to a network approach, where they act as an initiator and catalyst for collaboration and positive relationships far beyond their own direct sphere of influence.

Research shows that the impacts of stronger diversity and inclusion within organizations are becoming more and more tangible.

  1. Diversity and inclusion foster creativity and innovation.
    A diverse workforce brings different perspectives and experiences, which can lead to unique solutions and ideas that may not have been considered otherwise. When employees feel comfortable expressing themselves and their ideas, they are more likely to contribute to the success of the company and to the generation of new ideas. According to Deloitte, companies with diverse teams are 6 times more likely to be more innovative and agile. 
  2. Diversity and inclusion are crucial for businesses to understand and meet the needs of a diverse customer base.
    Companies that represent and understand the needs of their diverse customers are more likely to attract and retain loyal customers. Businesses that lack diversity may miss out on opportunities to create products and services that appeal to a broad range of consumers. Clients will want to feel represented by the organizations they buy from and getting this right will lead to better results. According to studies, companies with inclusive cultures are twice as likely to meet or exceed financial targets.
  3. Diversity and inclusion enhance the company's reputation and attract top talent.
    When a company demonstrates a commitment to diversity and inclusion, it is viewed positively by potential employees, customers, and investors. This reputation can help attract top talent, which is essential for a company's success. A survey by Glassdoor found that 67% of job seekers said a diverse workforce was important when considering job offers.

It is really important that leaders embrace diversity and inclusion. For many, this means changing their focus from a traditional top-down leadership to a network approach.

Creating diversity in your organization is only the first step. Building a truly diverse and inclusive organization is not only about attracting and selecting diverse talent from different backgrounds and demographic groups, but it is especially about building an organizational environment where people feel included and can thrive, whatever may be their characteristics, feeling safe to be themselves.

Leaders within your organization will play a key role in creating this type of environment. According to SHL research, leaders need to shift from focusing on their individual leadership to becoming true enterprise leaders—these are leaders who build and align broad networks.

People who excel at individual leadership are able to achieve their own individual tasks and assignments and are also effective at leading their teams to achieve their collective tasks and assignments. But this is not enough if we want to create fully inclusive work environments. Leaders that thrive will be able to balance individual leadership with a network approach. Enterprise leaders are the ones who are able to improve others’ performance and use others’ contributions to improve their own performance. They are the ones that will empower diverse talent in their teams to thrive. The growth of digitalization and hybrid working make these qualities even more important as the chance to make real human connections becomes more challenging.

SHL’s enterprise leadership model embraces the influence all leaders in an organization have in role modeling and demonstrating inclusive behaviors beyond their own teams. Through deliberately defining and promoting these qualities throughout the whole leadership population, the needed cultural shift can take place in a coordinated way with consistent, tangible impact on teams across the board.

Do you want to explore how you can support your leaders in taking the next step and boost their network leadership capabilities? Contact us to learn how we can help you!

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Philip Davies

As a Senior Consultant in the Professional Services team with SHL for five years, Philip has over twenty years of experience working as a consultant and in-house, on large-scale talent and assessment projects spanning a range of different industries. He brings particular expertise in technical and behavioral competency design, leadership development, assessment, and succession planning.

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