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People culture: Diversity lesson for leaders a no-brainer

There's clear links between a diverse workforce and high performance - it's up to HR to ensure business leaders understand the business benefits of diversity. We speak to Jerry Sadlowski of Deloitte Consulting, Katriina Tahka of Diversity Council Australia and Steve Rowe of IAG for their thoughts on fostering diversity. 

Video transcript below:

Donna Sawyer, HC TV
Donna Sawyer:
 Hello, I’m Donna Sawyer and you are watching HC TV.

Diversity in the workplace makes good business sense, so how can HR set the foundations in an organisation to embrace this culture.  Jerry Sadlowski of Deloitte Consulting says having an inclusive leader can make all the difference.
Jerry Sadlowski, Deloitte Consulting
Jerry Sadlowski:  They have to actually embrace and understand diversity and inclusion.  Next they have to be self aware, they have to be aware that they, we all have unconscious biases and they have to have identified those and embrace them and actually be looking to do something about them.  They have to form diverse teams around themselves.  
Donna Sawyer:  Katriina Tahka of Diversity Council Australia says organisations looking to diversify are usually on their way when it comes to basic compliance.
Katriina Tahka, Diversity Council Australia
Katriina Tahka:  They have done EEO, they have done anti-discrimination training, they have got all their policies and procedures in place and they are moving past policies and procedures to strategy and to proactive thinking and really leading the way in terms of you know where to next.  So some of our DCA members are absolutely in this space.  They are coming to us and saying, we want to do research into what will help us to get a better multi-cultural mix in our leadership ranks.
Jerry Sadlowski:  If you are risk averse organisation, you might want to then pose a business case around how diversity of thought and different team members can actually help you to reduce risk.  
Donna Sawyer:  IAG’s General Manager of People and Culture, Steve Rowe says gender diversity has been a real focal point for the company which recently introduced a suite of HR policies aimed at attracting and retaining women.  
Steve Rowe, IAG
Steve Rowe:  It’s not because it’s nice to do.  I think now there is a new conversation going on in IAG and elsewhere around the business benefits of diversity and inclusion, particularly around gender diversity.  So for us it was a no-brainer.  I think there is a very clear link between having a more diverse work force which requires you to have equal numbers of men and women and so forth and performance.  So for us it was a clear business imperative.
Donna Sawyer: Jerry Sadlowski of Deloitte Consulting says it’s those companies that embrace diversification  have a clear advantage.
Jerry Sadlowski, Deloitte Consulting
Jerry Sadlowski: Diversity of thought is probably the most important thing to get out of group think. Group think as you know is when you know unexpected consequences come from a group that you know have similar backgrounds, similar life experiences.  We believe that group think can be broken by actually having diverse teams, diverse teams that come with different life experiences is probably the most important thing.
Donna Sawyer: For more on diversity strategies in your workplace, click around HC Online.  I am Donna Sawyer and I will see you again soon on HC TV.