Dream team better than quotas
As many as 80% of the large-scale international companies surveyed are aware of the importance of diversity & inclusion (D&I) as a management issue. Changes in legislation and demographic trends are forcing them to take it more seriously. But there are a number of internal factors preventing the rollout of effective D&I initiatives: management behavior, corporate culture and a lack of appropriate guidelines and processes in HR. This situation needs to change, because successful and sustainable D&I management would bring annual savings calculated at almost EUR 21 billion for German industry as a whole. And not only that, it can also deliver clear-cut competitive advantages for individual companies. This finding emerges from the study "Dream team better than quotas – Successful diversity & inclusion management".
Holistic D&I strategy delivers real benefits
The Roland Berger Strategy Consultants survey covers forty large corporations, including companies from the automotive, construction, energy, chemical and electronics industries. It shows that four out of five businesses believe that diversity and inclusion management is important. "D&I is not just about doing more to integrate women, older employees and colleagues with a foreign background," explains Carolin Griese-Michels, Head of the Practice Group Corporate Responsibility at Roland Berger. "Recognizing the specific skills and competencies of each employee and their individual ways of working also forms an important part of a holistic D&I strategy aimed at delivering major benefits for the company."
Diversity without quotas
Regarding the main drivers pushing businesses to adopt D&I measures, 60% of the companies surveyed mention government legislation and the increasing heterogeneity of the modern workforce. Although companies recognize they still have a lot of catching up to do in terms of diversity, 70% of respondents argue against introducing legally binding quotas for minorities. "In the worst case, firms would have to hire or promote someone representing a minority even though they lack the necessary qualifications for the job," says Griese-Michels, explaining the fears voiced by companies.
Reasons for a lack of diversity
Another part of the problem is that companies do not enable their people to find an adequate balance between family and work. "Sometimes, companies haven't put in place any instruments for this," says Griese-Michels. "In other cases, the employees themselves don't take advantage of what is on offer because they fear disadvantages for their career." Another aspect is the hiring procedure. Criteria such as the gender, age or ethnicity of an applicant still play a decisive role – even if unconsciously. This often results in what can be called "self-cloning": executives tend to choose people like themselves. Since selection panels are frequently homogenous in composition, the candidates who fit the pattern are more likely to be approved.