Author: Deepak Chaudhary

Diverse and inclusive workplaces deliver direct and tangible benefits for digital teams by bringing together a mix of people of varying gender, sexual orientation, cultural backgrounds, physical abilities, cognitive abilities, age and many more factors.

Boston Consulting Group study found that companies whose management teams had above-average diversity also reported innovation revenue 19% higher than that of companies with below-average leadership diversity.

A similar study from Deloitte found that when employees think their organisation is supportive and committed to diversity, there is better business performance in terms of the ability to innovate (83% uplift), responsiveness to changing customer needs (31% uplift) and team collaboration (42% uplift).

For a diverse and inclusive environment to thrive, leadership teams need to be active in their efforts to support workers from all walks of life. This drives better decision-making, performance and innovation, all while boosting morale and fostering a sense of belonging among teams.

The role of leaders in fostering diversity and inclusion

Firstly, diversity and inclusion should start by reviewing the cultural and gender make-up of the leadership team and their approach to inclusion. This sets a precedent, models acceptable behaviours and influences how minority groups are understood and treated within the organisation.

Secondly, leaders should perform regular checks to collect bottom-up feedback, understand the day-to-day challenges that minority groups face and identify roadblocks to an inclusive culture. Inputs from these checks can then be used to shape the organisation’s directives on D&I, define behavioural guidelines and identify areas that could benefit from training.

Lastly, leaders should make it a point to take a stand against any inappropriate behaviour and celebrate diversity within the organisation. Leaders must champion D&I initiatives and encourage employees to follow their example.

CGI's approach to diversity and inclusion

Fostering diversity and inclusion within teams is a continuous process. At CGI, we regularly reinforce to our people the importance of dealing with conscious and unconscious biases in the decision-making process. We also appreciate diversity in thinking and facilitate an environment where different ideas are openly debated. Every decision is the team’s decision, which helps us drive ownership and accountability.

We have a management rule on D&I that seeks to ensure members feel respected as individuals, their ideas are valued and personal attributes are acknowledged in all workplace practices. These management rules define the acceptable behaviours at CGI and spearhead all our D&I initiatives globally. We also have a dedicated D&I council in each geography to focus our effort on different initiatives at any given point in time.

It’s worth mentioning that at CGI, approximately 90% of our members are also the co-owners of the company. Our remuneration structure encourages members to buy CGI shares with every paycheque. CGI matches every purchase up to a certain percentage regardless of their level or position in the company. This, along with our other D&I initiatives, drives a sense of inclusion and commitment from all our employees.

How does your organisation foster a diverse and inclusive environment? I’d love to hear about the D&I initiatives that have had a positive impact on your workplace culture.

CGI has been endorsed by Work180 as an employer who supports diversity, inclusion and equality.Visit the CGI Employer Page to find out more about how our policies, benefits and D&I initiatives support our employees.