Creating a more equitable workplace

Diversity and inclusion are two of the most highly discussed and most important topics in the talent space. Here, Amanda Van Nuys answers some critical questions.

The challenges that employees from underrepresented groups face are profound. The LinkedIn Learning’s 2021 Workplace Learning Report, found that one in four Black professionals feel they have been overlooked for career advancement opportunities, and third feel they’ve missed out on career advancement opportunities due to a lack of internal mentorship and sponsorship programmes.

Almost half of Black professionals (48%) feel that they lack an ally at work – a person who stands up for others proactively to speak against discriminatory practices. This lack of allyship has consequences – over a quarter (26%) Black professionals feel isolated at work, and a third (33%) have experienced discrimination and/or microaggressions in their workplace.

Active allyship is a key driver to an inclusive culture.

D&I a top talent development priority

We clearly have a long way to go to create a more diverse, inclusive and equitable business culture (and world), but we’re seeing some steps in the right direction. D&I is now top-of-mind for a majority of executives globally.

A new Gartner survey finds that 68% of employees would consider quitting their current job and working with an organisation with a stronger viewpoint on the social issues that matter most to them

According to the LinkedIn Learning survey results, nearly two-thirds (64%) of L&D professionals globally and nearly three-quarters (73%) in North America report that their executives have made D&I programmes a priority.

And talent developers are creating programmes to support these initiatives; when we asked L&D specialists about the programmes they plan to run in 2021; D&I ranked second globally (behind leading through change programmes) and was the top priority in North America.

D&I right for people and business

As is true with any business or HR programme, it’s important to demonstrate impact and we’ve found that organisations who invest in D&I initiatives have seen both a positive and measurable result.

According to LinkedIn data, companies with diversity and inclusion programmes are 22% more likely to be seen as an industry leader with high-calibre talent, and 12% more likely to be seen as an inclusive workplace for people of diverse backgrounds.

A report from McKinsey – among several other firms – also finds that organisations with D&I programmes see an enormous impact including: increased revenue, higher levels of creativity, performance, and productivity.

Companies with a highly gender-diverse executive team perform significantly better, and also notice exceptional value creation. Similarly, companies with more racial and ethnic diversity are more likely to outperform competitors. In addition, gender diversity is a key player in boosting performance in the workforce.


Not only is diversity and inclusion important for business, but it’s also important to new candidates. More potential employees are researching a company’s internal diversity data and aren’t afraid to ask the tough questions during interviews, inquiring about diversity and inclusion initiatives and upcoming goals for improvement.

Think about it, if you’re planning on spending 40+ hours a week working for a company, you want to know if it’s a place that is welcoming of diverse individuals. The McKinsey report also states that 67% of candidates actively look for companies that are diverse workforces and take this into account when accepting job offers.

In fact, a new Gartner survey finds that 68% of employees would consider quitting their current job and working with an organisation with a stronger viewpoint on the social issues that matter most to them.

D&I and L&D often partner to deliver joint strategies

As organisations realise that D&I needs to be infused across all learning programmes to drive lasting change and foster a culture of inclusion, the lines are blurring between L&D and D&I teams.

When we asked L&D professionals globally how they work with their organisations’ D&I strategy, the responses ran the gamut – from D&I teams (24%) or L&D teams (12%) responsible for diversity and inclusion, to both teams partnering to deliver these programmes together (28%).

While this tells us that there is no single way to approach D&I, we can say that D&I will be a higher priority for the majority of organisations in 2021. MediaKind, a 1,200-person Ericsson spinoff operating in 29 countries, was ready with learning content and programmes to support employees when the call for social justice rang across the globe last summer.

MediaKind’s CEO immediately sent a note out to the organisation reiterating his commitment to D&I, which was then followed by an email from MediaKind’s chief people officer Dave Medrano with recommended D&I learning content.

To help address regional and cultural differences, MediaKind’s CEO asked his direct reports to facilitate live discussions with their teams about D&I. Medrano also focused on promoting Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DIBs) courses that are applicable globally.

“Unconscious bias is a universal challenge and a connective tissue when words and jargon fall down,” he said. “If you focus on equality, then you won’t miss the mark. We offered a wide spectrum of courses during a learning competition, and DIBs courses naturally rose to the top.”

Creating more diverse and inclusive organisations is a journey that HR and learning leaders are on together and with increased focus and prioritisation we can create a more equitable workplace that will thrive in the new world of work.


About the author

Amanda van Nuys is group manager at LinkedIn Talent Solutions. 


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