How diversity and inclusion creates value

Effort to bring in and promote people with Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds has fuelled innovation

How diversity and inclusion creates value

For Kate Langton (pictured), chief people officer of specialist mortgage and banking software supplier Phoebus, the value of diversity and inclusivity is clear.

The West Midlands-based firm is keen to have a workforce that is representative of the local community. Langton said that having a more inclusive company has helped the business to solve problems and generate ideas.

“By valuing colleagues as individuals, this allows them to bring different experiences and knowledge to our organisation, which has help push the business forward,” Langton said.

How inclusivity pays off

An analysis by the Ministry of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy in 2017 found that the potential benefit to the UK economy from full representation of Black, Asian and minority ethnic individuals across the labour market, through improved participation and progression, would add £24 billion a year to Britain’s economic output.

Langton said that Phoebus has 37% of employees from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds (compared to the UK average of 13%) and wanted to ensure it is representative of this wider spectrum and embrace the ideas, inputs and feedback of the broader community, to best serve its clients.

“Within tech and across all sectors in the UK, including the mortgage industry, we have seen a movement to become inclusive in every respect at work,” Langton said.

She added that along with many of the firm’s lender clients, Phoebus encourages diverse ideas and thoughts that research has demonstrated leads to innovation and productivity in the workplace.

Langton said that by having employees from a greater range of backgrounds, this helps to generate a wider variety of ideas and approaches to problem solving, which in turn has helped the business ]become more successful.

Raising awareness builds understanding

The importance of raising awareness and encouraging people from a wider range of backgrounds to join the financial industry could not be more important.

Two in three UK finance workers from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds have suffered discrimination in the workplace, according to a 2021 survey. That report report also found that 28% said discrimination was holding back their career, and 48% felt their career progression was slower than for white colleagues.

Langton said she recognises that raising awareness and educating Phoebus’ colleagues abut diversity and inclusion issues is essential and helps build a common understanding.

She added that part of Phoebus’ culture is that the business raises awareness of health, well-being and diversity issues throughout the year.

“This helps us to start conversations, celebrate our differences and understand more about each other at the same time; again, this way of working is promoted through people practices and our diversity and inclusion policy,” Langton said.

Supportive culture earns results

Langton said her recommendation for other firms is to encourage an open and supportive culture that is transparent and allows people to thrive.

“At Phoebus we do this through a focus on collaborative working and learning, social activities to help build relationships across the business and open, two-way communications. Our diversity metrics demonstrate that this is making a positive impact,” she added.

Langton said that, for people to do their best work, they need to feel comfortable in their role.

What more do you believe could be done to help encourage inclusivity? Let us know in the comments below.