Greater diversity in the working world isn’t just for the greater good — it can also radically boost the bottomline of a business. Studies have shown diversity can turbo charge revenue and profitability.
Suki Sandhu is one of those people who is changing the world of work through his boutique executive search firm Audeliss and INvolve, an inclusion organisation which helps businesses transform their cultures and create more inclusive workplaces. In fact, he has just made the latest New Years Honours List, where he was awarded an OBE for services to diversity in business.
Sandhu, who appeared on the Yahoo Presents Its a Jungle Out There podcast alongside Deloitte’s global chairman David Cruickshank, spoke to Yahoo Finance UK about how the award signified a big step change in the need for greater diversity
“I think it’s significant because it means that there is already a growing level of recognition in wider society,” said Sandhu to Yahoo Finance UK. “The government is starting to take more notice — not just of conclusive and eye-opening research that illustrates how diverse organisations perform better, but of the experiences faced by men and women and LGBT employees and those from ethnic minorities.
“Receiving this award is such a huge honour and a privilege, and I feel it says to all these communities that the reality we are working towards is getting closer. That said, I work with so many talented and dedicated individuals also pursuing the end goal of more diverse workplaces, and I take huge inspiration from them. This honour reflects us all.”
Audeliss was launched seven years ago and was a “real milestone,” in Sandhu’s eyes because it meant he “could affect positive change directly — something I am hugely passionate about.”
The demographic of leadership teams and boardrooms at companies Audeliss works with has changed since 2011, with 65% of appointments now being diverse candidates.
“This shows that we mean business when it comes to talent at the top,” said Sandhu. “For us, it’s about deeds not words. I want to help organisations change their culture, and that doesn’t mean berating them for what they’re not doing, it means educating them on how to be consciously inclusive, so that they focus on things they can do to create an environment of belonging.”
Sandhu has also organised high profile events at the House of Lords in partnership with the Commonwealth Office and spoke at a United Nations Summit on gender equality.
But while Sandhu’s efforts has been recognised, he says that the UK government should “absolutely” take heed and mandate transparency reporting for ethnic minorities like they do for gender, in order to make businesses more diverse.
In Britain, the UK government made it mandatory for companies with 250 employees or more to publish annual gender pay data. However, there is no such legislation in place for employers to reveal the pay and treatment of ethnic minority workers.
“We have seen the benefits of reporting like this, not just in business but in sport and education too,” said Sandhu. “Companies should have to be more transparent with ethnic pay gap reporting and we are working with many companies now through INvolve who are actively looking to do this voluntarily before any possible legislation as they see the benefit of transparency and encouraging the best ethnic minority talent to their businesses and helping them to thrive and be successful.”