Managing Partner – Talent UK & Ireland, EY
We need an environment where people are prepared to speak up and speak out and challenge the status quo: that is what is going to drive better performance.
For me, the notion of growth is key: growth for an individual, for a business, or indeed for an economy. That means growth which is driven by innovation, entrepreneurship and risk taking. And for this, we need an environment where people are prepared to speak up and speak out and challenge the status quo: that is what is going to drive better performance. The only way to grow sustainably is serial innovation – and, as the evidence in this report shows, the only way to serially innovate is to have diverse teams led in an inclusive way.
These areas of growth are all linked. If an economy grows, it naturally creates opportunities for businesses and for individuals. Growing businesses create more employment, progression and promotion opportunities. Through that come opportunities for individuals that are less financial or career oriented, such as work which is more stimulating and being stretched personally in day-to-day activities. This leads to improved performance, solving more complex problems – which mean having more fun, feeling a greater sense of self worth and being more productive. That is the aspiration: generating a dynamism and energy that creates a virtuous circle.
Individual’s have a greater ability to perform and grow, if they can be themselves in their work environment. That means they’re not spending energy covering; being fearful of discovery. It means they’re not worried about whispering in the corridors or what is going to impact their career prospects negatively. All that fear and anxiety is misplaced energy, and taking it away enables an employee to focus on being the best they can be in the role they occupy in the organization.
Our primary responsibilities, as a company, are to create and deliver a successful and sustainable business and to protect our employees. So operating across different geographies around the world, some of which may have anti-LGBT legislation, there are risks. For our employees, we need to understand the situation locally, and we have to have frameworks and protocols in place for a global business. Our employees, and other stakeholders we engage with, expect us to send a coherent and consistent message. It matters to us to have an authentic voice on these topics, and to collaborate with other organisations and NGO’s which share our passion on this agenda.