EMPLOYMENT: McKenzie-Delis Review urges businesses to take a holistic view of diversity

A review of some of the UK’s largest companies has found an increased focus on workforce diversity and inclusion, but areas including disability require more attention to embed real change.

The McKenzie-Delis Review, conducted in partnership with IPSOS and supported through strategic partner KMPG, is the largest of its kind the UK, measuring 10 facets of workplace diversity and inclusion at 89 participating companies.

These facets are designed to go beyond gender and ethnicity by including: sexual orientation; disability; age; religion; nationality; socioeconomic status; mental health and wellbeing; parenthood.

As many companies throughout the UK dedicate resources to workforce diversity and inclusion, the review has discovered that many have barely begun to embed real change on areas including sexual orientation, race and disability.

Only one in three businesses are actively looking to promote or hire staff with a disability, and only a quarter of businesses have LGBTQ+ representation on their leadership team.

Positive steps

This year’s review brings to light the complex challenges facing employers in a post-pandemic world, but the case for diversity and inclusion is stronger than ever. Despite concerning statistics around disability, race and sexual orientation, companies are making positive steps in tracking their progress and embedding change.

Leila McKenzie-Delis is the chief executive of diversity and inclusion accelerator DIAL Global and founder of the McKenzie-Delis Foundation. The charity is committed to driving research and insight into workplace equality.

“This year’s review showed some very encouraging aspects and that UK plc is making progress, which we welcome. But when you break down each of the ten facets, it’s clear that there is still a long way to go,” emphasises Leila. “Firms are beginning to see that tracking and measuring diversity and inclusion seriously, as they do every other aspect of their business, is imperative to ensuring strong business performance.

“Additionally, it means they will see their reputation among current and prospective employees, customers and shareholders improve.

Inclusive cultures

Participants in this year’s report included Unilever; Diageo; Royal Mail; Boots; Co-op; Marks & Spencer; Network Rail; The FA. The 10 facets were ranked in order of how well they were monitored and addressed by UK firms. Mental health and wellbeing was ranked at the top with four in five participants having a relevant strategy in place. Nationality and religion also scored highly.

“The McKenzie-Delis Review takes a much-needed holistic approach to inclusion, diversity and equity, placing a spotlight on the many facets of diversity – not just gender or ethnicity,” highlights Bina Mehta, co-chair of the McKenzie-Delis Review and chair of KPMG in the UK. “The collection of quality workforce data may reveal uncomfortable truths but it’s the critical first step towards turning the dial on diversity.

“It’s only by embracing the uniqueness which comes from experience and background that open and inclusive cultures can truly become a reality.”

The report found that overall, diversity and inclusion is clearly on the agenda, but it is important that work continues and expands. No evidence was found that current diversity initiatives will change the face of leadership.

“Some companies are already doing good things and are committed to measuring their progress. But there are others that haven’t done enough or even scratched the surface – particularly those businesses that still do not measure all the facets of diversity and inclusion,” stresses Leila. “Let us be in no doubt – the UK’s biggest companies have a responsibility to lead by example and we need to see more organisations blazing a trail to move the dial and lead the way. It’s an ongoing challenge, but one we are determined to tackle.”

Read the full report now.

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