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Seizing the moment: The case for leveraging diversity in the crisis

In times of mass disruption, there is a risk that diversity and inclusion may decline as a strategic priority.

A survey of diversity and inclusion leaders by McKinsey found that 27% of them report that their organisation have put all or most of their D&I initiatives on hold due to the pandemic.

Organisations have had to think creatively about how best navigate economically and socially viable paths to recovery. However, research shows that companies that pull back on diversity and inclusion initiatives may be putting themselves at a disadvantage.

A recent report by ‘Great Place to Work’ studied hundreds of publicly-traded companies before, during, and after the 2009 Recession. While the S&P 500 saw a 35.5% decline in stock performance, companies that remained highly diverse and inclusive experienced a 14.4% gain.

The business case

Many studies have reaffirmed the strong business case for diversity and inclusion.

  • 83% greater innovation in organisations committed to diversity and inclusion (Deloitte, Waiter, is that inclusion in my soup? May 2013)

  • 36% profitability difference between the most and least ethnically and culturally diverse companies (McKinsey, Diversity wins: How inclusion matters, May 19, 2020)

  • 39% of candidate have declines to join an organisation due to lack of inclusion (McKinsey, Understanding organisational barriers to a more inclusive workplace, June 23, 2020)

  • 87% better decision making by diverse and inclusive teams compared to individuals (Cloverpop, Hacking Diversity with Inclusive Decision Making, 2017)

It’s not surprising that diverse and inclusive teams bring a border perspective, the ability to identify new choices, reduce bias and strengthen accountability. Their capacity to innovate in response to the huge shifts in customer behaviour and meet changing needs is why they consistently outperform competition.

Diverse and inclusive recruitment

When it comes to building effective teams, the ability to broaden your candidate pool is a critical step. A rise in candidates and remote working has vastly expanded available talent, but employers need a strategic approach to harness these opportunities effectively.

We’ve seen a rise in end-to-end virtual recruiting process, showing first-hand how it can save time and resources but, also, pose new challenges such as issues around candidate experience. Employers must earn trust through consistency and transparency to build an inclusive employee proposition and successfully engage with and attract the best range of candidates.

Seize the moment

These challenges, if unaddressed, could undermine responses to the crisis. The experience of diversity and inclusion leaders shows that if companies deploy a systematic approach and don’t fear bold action to advance diversity and foster inclusion and belonging, they are most likely to reap the rewards. We believe that now is the time to be even bolder.

To learn more about how you can maximise your impact in the new recruitment landscape to build effective teams, get in touch with our experts at


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