Taking a big, data driven step towards more diversity and inclusion in the workforce

Taking a big, data driven step towards more diversity and inclusion in the workforce

7 November 2016

Having a Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) strategy is not about lofty programs with an emotional approach, according to Allianz’s Managing Director, Niran Peiris.

“A strategy that relies on data to measure and continually improve the workforce makes good business sense, and in today’s corporate environment, businesses cannot afford to ignore the business case for a data-driven D&I strategy,” said Mr Peiris, ahead of Allianz’s inaugural Cultural Diversity Panel being held in Sydney on 7 November 2016.

The Allianz Cultural Diversity Panel, chaired by the Race Discrimination Commissioner, Dr Tim Soutphommasane, features founder CEO of Satellite Consulting Services, Dr Sandy Caspi Sable, founder of strategic leadership and consulting firm DAWN, Dai Le and Westpac’s Chair of Cultural Diversity Leadership, Yung Ngo.

“Australian businesses can’t use outdated decision making when it comes to building a workforce strategy. Diversity and diverse thinking are growth engines that are directly linked to performance and long-term profitability,” Peiris said.

“The business case for building and engaging a diverse workforce is clear. This starts with gathering data on diversity and reporting the figures, which we commenced in 2013 and refined this year with our cultural diversity census.”

“This data provides a baseline for measuring progress on our diversity efforts. It will help us remain relevant for our employees, customers and the community.”

The Race Discrimination Commissioner, Dr Tim Soutphommasane, said the work Allianz is doing to improve its cultural diversity data is critical. The Australian Human Rights Commission worked with several leading organisations to produce Leading for Change: A blueprint for cultural diversity and inclusive leadership. This report provides guidance to businesses who seek to improve cultural diversity in leadership.

“There are significant gaps in our knowledge about cultural diversity in organisations. As more companies, like Allianz, begin to collect data to measure cultural diversity we will start to see systemic change across Australian businesses,” Dr Soutphommasane said.

Mr Peiris said diversity and inclusion is not solely about being a good corporate citizen, but about better financial performance. Understanding the diversity of your workforce is key to identifying gaps and making plans to engage, recruit and retain target groups.

In December 2016, Allianz will release a white paper detailing the methodologies used to gather data on employee demographics. We hope the transparency in the approach will both support and encourage other organisations to start making progress towards a culturally diverse workforce.

A McKinsey analysis revealed that gender diverse companies are 15% more likely to outperform the industry average, while those that are ethnically diverse are 35% more likely to outperform their industry average.

“The business case for diversity has never been more compelling – it brings together diversity of thought, experience and approaches to business issues. It is in this environment that we will see innovation flourish, engagement levels increase and a sharpened approach to attracting and retaining talent,” Peiris said.

“The flow on effect will be that we will be able to provide better customer experience because we understand and represent the needs of a multicultural Australia,” he said.

1http://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/organization/our-insights/why-diversity-matter