Beyond a conventional definition of ‘diversity’

One of the things I love about my job is the variety of learning opportunities open to me because of the breadth of our Corporate Responsibility & Sustainability programme. I don’t mean formal class-room or CBT training; I mean the everyday, new information, “wow, I never thought about that before” sort of learning.
A case in point is our take on diversity and inclusion.
It’s all too easy to fall into the corporate trap of rolling out stereotypical examples of how their HR diversity policy works because they have all the right data on gender, ethnicity or sexual orientation.  There’s nothing wrong with having these policies – frequently articulations of legislation and/or useful messages at recruitment fairs.
I’m proud to say that we have a different perspective at Capgemini. One built around business value.
We call it ‘diversity of thought’ and it encompasses a definition of diversity that is much wider than some conventional definitions.  It boils down to this: the more diverse your corporate population, the more creative your business will be and, consequently, more innovative. And innovation brings differentiation brings sales brings revenue.
In a nutshell, diversity breeds creativity breeds profitability.
Of course, the primary factors are absolutely important. But our holistic definition of diversity includes more than race, gender and disability and extends beyond age, faith, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, and sexual orientation. It’s about everything that makes us who we are: our social background, our experiences in life and work, our communication styles, even our personality. All of this contributes to the type of diversity we value most: diversity of thought.
Now I don’t claim that we have got it right – either as a company or as an industry; we haven’t – and we have quite a way to go. Some challenges are internal (take a look at the photo of our executive board in our annual report) and some challenges are external (the IT industry is still far too male dominated).
But we are doing something about it. For example, we have a huge focus on education and are actively involved in boosting the number of women in technical roles (our UK chairman, Christine Hodgson spoke about this in a recent edition of Changeboard ).
The important point is that, having established the connection between business value and diversity, we are shifting culturally to a company that is able to reap the benefits of a truly diverse population. 

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