Hamish Shah, Policy and Innovation Manager, at the Chartered Management Institute, spoke at our EDI in the Workplace Conference.

He presented “I am the Policy and Innovation Manager at the Chartered Management Institute (CMI), and today I’ll be discussing how we can deliver the “Everyone Economy” and empower management and senior leadership. My role involves leading EDI (Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion) strategy within our policy team and working with businesses, policymakers, and government to create the change we want to see.

CMI is the only chartered professional body for management and leadership in the UK, promoting best practices in these fields. We have collaborated with nearly a hundred employers and have over 200,000 members, including managers and leaders at all levels. Our vision is to create better-led and managed organisations, shifting people from accidental managers to confident and inclusive leaders. By accidental managers, we mean those who have not received the necessary support or training to manage effectively.

View our latest EDI in the Workplace Conference here.

The Everyone Economy Report

The Everyone Economy report, which I co-authored, highlights barriers to entry and progression in the workplace and what needs to change to improve inclusion. It underscores the business benefits of creating a diverse and inclusive workplace and the vital role of managers and leaders. However, there remains a significant gap between the perception of EDI among managers and the reality reported by employees.

Our findings indicate that the management population does not represent the UK working population’s diversity. We need around 560,000 more diverse managers, including 420,000 from low socioeconomic backgrounds, 290,000 with disabilities, and 100,000 from diverse ethnic backgrounds.

The Business Case for EDI

Ethnic and cultural diversity, as well as gender diversity, are linked to increased performance and innovation. However, the diversity within management teams, particularly at the senior leadership level, is crucial for fostering greater innovation and revenue. Unfortunately, many organisations have a diverse workforce at junior levels, but this diversity decreases as you move up the hierarchy.

Addressing Discrimination and Imposter Syndrome

Over 50% of our respondents reported being overlooked for workplace opportunities due to their identity or experiencing discrimination at work. Nearly 50% felt they had to change something about themselves to succeed. This links to imposter syndrome – if employees can’t bring their true selves to work, they can’t perform at their best. Organisations must create a culture that allows individuals to bring their authentic selves to work.

The Say-Do Gap

There is a significant gap between the perception of inclusivity and the actual actions taken to promote it. This gap is evident across various characteristics, highlighting the need for organisations to do more to improve EDI.

The Role of Managers and Leaders

Managers and leaders are crucial for fostering an inclusive workplace culture. Our data shows that 8.1 million managers and 3.4 million senior leaders in the UK have a significant impact. However, 82% of managers have not had formal management training. Organisations need to invest in training their managers to be inclusive and supportive.

Changing Workplace Culture

Changing workplace culture is essential but not a quick fix. It’s about everyday behaviours and values, not just a one-time training module. All employees, especially those at the top, should be held to high standards. Management must act swiftly and decisively to address issues, as demonstrated by the recent problems at the CBI.

Recommendations for Leaders

  1. Ask Challenging Questions and Listen: Engage with your staff, listen to their experiences, and use the data collected to make informed decisions.
  2. Put Together a Plan and Track Progress: Collect data, develop an action plan, and track progress over time.
  3. Embrace Flexible and Hybrid Working: This is crucial for retaining and attracting diverse talent.
  4. Recognise the Role of All Managers: Train all managers on inclusivity, making it a shared responsibility.
  5. Be a Storyteller and Role Model: Share why EDI matters and lead by example.


The Everyone Economy report provides extensive recommendations for SMEs, larger organisations, and policymakers. Leaders should focus on asking challenging questions, creating action plans, embracing flexible working, recognising the role of all managers, and being storytellers and role models. By doing so, we can build an inclusive working culture that benefits everyone.”

The Inclusion, Diversity and Equality in the Workplace Conference

To hear more exclusive insights like this, join us for our latest EDI in the Workplace Conference here.

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Delivering the Everyone Economy: Empowering Inclusive Leadership. A case by Hamish Shah, Policy and Innovation Manager, at the Chartered Management Institute. He spoke at our EDI in the Workplace Conference.

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