As part of our plans to drive forward a more inclusive vision of doing business in London, we’ve launched a series of short interviews to find out what some of our members are doing to improve inclusion and diversity (I&D) within their own organisations.
Today we hear from Dame Nicola Brewer, who has rich and diverse experience that previously involved leading the Equality and Human Rights Commission and holding the role of Vice-Provost (International) at University College London.
Q: Why is having an inclusive and diverse working environment so important?
It attracts and retains more talented people, tapping into wider talent pools. More people feel able and willing to make an active contribution at work, confident that their views will be valued. Ideas will also come from a broad range of perspectives which protects against ‘groupthink’, and more clients and customers will ‘see’ themselves in the company or organisation and observe it living its values.
Q: What has your career journey highlighted for you in terms of the value of embracing diversity?
The importance and value of surrounding myself with people who are different from me. That includes different and complementary skills, talents and experience, and making sure that they feel empowered to contribute ideas as well as challenge them.
Q: What was the spur for your business in becoming more proactive on I&D?
The competition for talent and increasing interest from investors in company I&D policies and practices have been the two biggest drivers.
Q: When it comes to improving diversity at a senior level, what does your company do to support people from under-represented groups in their journey to the top?
Access to training and mentoring, support for women in engineering and sport. Lots of other things too!
Q: What are the most innovative steps your company has taken on I&D?
Possibly the support for women in STEM subjects. One big thing that can make a difference in other organisations is senior white men acting as sponsors (and knowing the difference between mentoring and sponsoring) for talented younger staff from under-represented groups.
Q: What is a key piece of advice for companies just starting their inclusion and diversity journeys?
Measure your performance but don’t stop at statistics — ask your staff how they feel as well.
London First is on a mission to keep London at the forefront of global business, working with and for the whole UK. If you’re interested in becoming a member or want to find out more about our sponsorship activities, get in touch with us today.