A diverse workforce isn’t enough - it must be inclusive to make a difference

Recruiting a diverse workforce but not retaining them? Time to look at how inclusive your culture is. 

When many companies approach what’s traditionally been termed diversity & inclusion there’s been a tendency for them to focus more on the “D”: setting targets and tracking outcomes for diverse recruitment and promotion to senior levels. True, these metrics are vital. But unless there’s also a focus on the “I”, underpinned by action to embed a culture where all individuals cannot only survive but positively thrive, the whole strategy will fail.

In other words, while both inclusion and diversity (I&D) are business critical, neither is enough on its own. And historically it’s the culture element that’s received too little attention. Often because it’s harder to pinpoint and to measure, hard to change, and it takes time. When there’s a glaring issue to address like low workforce diversity, it’s often tempting to go for a quick fix. Measures such as recruitment targets seem to provide that, since the needle can be moved on them pretty quickly to give a sense that progress is being made.

By contrast, culture change takes far longer, because it involves modifying the behaviour of people across the business. Therefore what’s needed is a dual approach, overlaying short-term diversity-focused KPIs with a longer-term vision and drive to shift the behavioural norms, backed by strong, visible leadership commitment and role-modelling.

For any business, I&D isn’t a nice-to-have, but a commercial imperative within and beyond the organisation. And it’s vital to address both the “I” and the “D” – powered by the right culture and leadership behaviours on the one hand, and the right metrics and targets on the other. 

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PwC's Workforce of the Future: Building an inclusive work

PwC's Workforce of the Future leader, Carrie Duarte, discusses how creating an inclusive work culture is not just about the programs, it's creating a sense of belonging in the workplace. When employees are valued, mindset and culture of the company are changed.

Diversity and inclusion mismatch graph

How we can help

At PwC we understand that helping organisations to have a more inclusive and diverse culture represents numerous opportunities.  Organisations can not only build a more sustainable and effective business but broaden their reach into the market, increase their engagement with broader stakeholder groups, and help create offerings that are both innovative and unique.

Our approach includes data-driven analysis combined with a qualitative assessment and comprehensive review of policies and processes to identify your organisation’s needs and requirements. This provides us with the necessary insights to work with you to design a bespoke I&D action plan that includes a programme of initiatives with both short and longer term goals and KPIs.

As part of PwC’s global Workforce practice, our I&D team brings together a differentiated combination of industry, business, strategy, talent, HR, analytics, legal and technology expertise with more than 6,500 people in 117 countries.

That means you get a team with the right skills and experience wherever you need us around the world to help you deliver the value you’re looking for – from people strategy through to organisational execution.


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Peter Brown

Global Workforce Leader, Partner, PwC United Kingdom

Tel: (+44) 7789 003712

Parul Munshi

Partner, Workforce Transformation, PwC South East Asia Consulting, PwC Singapore

Tel: +65 9660 5011

Bhushan Sethi

Strategy&, Principal, PwC United States

Tel: +1 (917) 863 9369