What does Diversity and Sustainability have in common?

They are good for business growth and innovation!

Today, just a marketing slogan on a glossy piece of paper is not enough and even the most successful companies are redefining the values hidden in the heritage of their organizations, search for moral purpose for existence and pay more attention to emerging trends in Diversity Management, Leadership Development and Employer Branding which seem to be a lot of times considered only as a HR issue. Best practices prove that they can be the drive of sustainable growth and profitability.

diversityThis was one of my big takeaways from the HR Days 2015 conference panel (Knowledge Talk) I recently moderated on the diversity and leadership with two outstanding executives: Vera Budway-Strobach, Chief Diversity Officer, Erste Group Bank AG, Founding Member of the International Women´s Forum, Austria Chapter and Stephan Thüring, Location Head Swiss Re Bratislava with approx. 800 employees end of 2014. Management Committee Member Swiss Re Europe S.A. Here are some of their best thoughts:

Successful companies treat Diversity and Sustainability as the Business Case. Achieving mind shift so that both of them are seen to be as vital as, say, Finance or IT does not have to only be driven from the C-level suit. According to Vera Budway-Strobach treating diversity as a competitive advantage is vital. Studies show that companies with diverse boards have 26% better share price performance, up to 41% higher ROE, 55% higher total shareholder return, 56% higher EBIT margin, 66% higher return on invested capital and are by far more sustainable.
HR, Marketing and Top Management need to be Power Partners in a War for Talent. Organizations have to wage a “permanent campaign” to attract and retain top talent. Great companies need great people and great people require great leadership and the most important role of the leader is to generate results through the people said Stephan Thüring from Swiss Re. We need more leaders not managers. If you want to develop an organization you need to do it on the floor, because learning and development is only happening where people are working together.

It was extraordinary to see Vera and Stephan shine a spotlight on the need to improve the perception of diversity and leadership in the companies. And, their call to for balanced leadership and sustainable development was the most important message of our “Knowledge Talk” session.

I encourage everyone to share their thoughts, comments and impressions.

Source: Linkedin.com, May 2015
By: Maros Petres
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