CMS have published a new ‘Advising the Board’ report as part of their Risk, Resilience and Reputation series. Most boards are aware these days that equity, diversity and inclusion (‘ED&I’) should be firmly on their agenda but sometimes struggle to understand why and what they should do to address the issues. ED&I should not be seen as an “HR matter”; it’s business critical, with accountability at Board level.
Whilst ignoring ED&I is dangerous, paying lip service to ED&I may be even more problematic and certainly is not sufficient to make ED&I a reality. For example, on International Women’s Day (IWD) 2022, whenever a company tweeted their support for IWD and their commitment to equality, a gender pay gap bot retweeted the size of their gender pay gap. In some cases, this exposed a potential disconnect between rhetoric and reality, highlighting the danger of paying lip service to ED&I.
A poorly implemented ED&I strategy may well lead to tokenism which will be picked up by all your key stakeholders. The board needs to have a firm grip on what ED&I is, the hard-edged legal and equally important cultural reasons why it is important. They must understand how to navigate the interplay between ED&I cultural aspiration, key business drivers and practical steps to implement a strategy (whether as part of a wider ESG strategy or otherwise).
To read the full report click on the link.