CFOtech Australia - Technology news for CFOs & financial decision-makers
Story image
Heidrick & Struggles report finds correlation between DE&I and business success
Fri, 7th Oct 2022
FYI, this story is more than a year old

Australian leaders have reported seeing a correlation between diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) efforts and business success, according to a new study from ​​Heidrick & Struggles.

Findings from the company’s second DE&I survey have revealed that diversity matters more to companies now than ever before.

The company says that with the lasting global impact of the pandemic and growing expectations for hybrid work, DE&I has been a top priority for many businesses worldwide.

The report titled ‘Employees at the Center: What It Takes to Lead on DE&I Now’ has found that 56% of Australian executives said their DE&I efforts contribute to their business success to a large extent, which is a significant improvement from the 27% three years ago.

Surveying 420 executives across eight different markets, the report found that 96% of Australian leaders view DE&I as more important now than in early 2020, compared to the global average of 93%. 

It was also clear that companies are continuing to progress in their approaches to DE&I efforts. 

The report found enterprises are showing a solid and intentional commitment to clarity and culture in creating a systemic, whole-company focus on inclusion and strong examples set by leadership. More leaders have been shown to realise that an inclusive culture is at the heart of a more productive workforce.

In comparison to other markets, Australian companies stood out as the ones that endeavoured to include more types of people in their DE&I policies, taking race and ethnicity, religion, age, parenthood or primary caregiver status and nationality into consideration when examining their approaches to DE&I. 

“Through the events of the past years, it is undeniable that senior leadership in Australian businesses across different sectors are increasing their focus towards inclusivity in the workplace,” says Graham Kittle, Managing Partner at Heidrick & Struggles Australia. 

“With the increased amount of emphasis and expectations on employers to invest in developing DE&I practices, it is a pleasure to see more companies committing to strategic DE&I initiatives, and promoting a more inclusive culture that will benefit their employees in the long-term.”

Gaby Riddington, Partner and Consulting Leader for Australia and New Zealand at Heidrick & Struggles, says top-down leadership when it comes to DE&I can promote better business outcomes and culture, and companies should continue to find ways to promote inclusion in their planning.

“With an obvious increase in executives who state that DE&I efforts contribute to their business success to a large extent, with clear goals in place, the next step for boards and senior leaders is to examine how their companies can approach executive search, leadership development and company culture in newer, more inclusive ways,” Riddington says.

“Businesses will benefit from setting clear succession planning strategies, enhancing coaching and support programs to enable more diverse workforces, and strengthening strategic DE&I initiatives for long-term growth.”