An Executive's Role in Analysing Diversity and Inclusion

May 3, 2022

Research shows that a diverse and inclusive workplace significantly impacts the health of an organisation. As an Executive, it’s important to properly recognize a lack of diversity and inclusion (D&I) within your firm as a risk. Just as you wouldn’t leave cybersecurity out of your risk considerations and oversight, diversity and inclusion should not be overlooked. The Central Bank of Ireland (CBI) has recognised this risk and over the last few years clarified it’s expectations around executive focus, accountability, and ongoing monitoring. Senior Executives should take the following three questions into consideration when discussing D&I in their workplace:

Have we set the proper objectives for our organisation to improve the firm’s diversity and inclusion? 

D&I cannot be viewed as a single checkbox with a finite timeline. It is an ongoing process that will continue to evolve alongside its communities and should be discussed regularly amongst the senior management team. Considering the team's makeup to ensure diverse perspectives are represented is an important step to identifying blind spots and setting the appropriate objectives. The ultimate responsibility for the culture and the tangible practices associated with it, rest with the Executive team and Board.

Who is accountable for each objective within our D&I strategy?

CBI has clearly stated that decision-makers within the firm must have a direct line of sight and responsibility for components of the D&I strategy. Tasks to improve the diversity and inclusiveness of the organisation cannot rest solely with human resources, community engagement, or D&I-specific roles. Board minutes reflecting the discussion and status of D&I objectives help demonstrate the ongoing commitment of the Executives.

How are we tracking and monitoring the progress of our D&I initiatives?

Reporting, along with a robust discussion of relevant data, with the Executive team and Board is critical to determine if your strategy is effective. Monitoring, tracking, and reporting is an area that commonly impedes the success of even the strongest D&I objectives. It is impossible to know if your implementation strategies are working if you have not developed a method to track the work that is being done within the organisation and provide it to the leadership team to evaluate. As your compliance and audit team will say, if you do not document it, it did not happen.

Executives are balancing many priorities but D&I must be one of them. Beginning with a few key questions for senior discussion can help keep your organisation on the path to D&I improvement, strengthening the whole firm. CBI continues to provide updated data and information regarding the importance and development of Diversity and Inclusion amongst regulated industries, especially retail banks and insurance firms.

Click here to see CBI’s resource page. 

 
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