Multiple studies have shown that diverse organisations perform better, have higher employee satisfaction, and are more innovative. Companies with more gender and ethnic diversity are 15% and 35% more likely to outperform their competitors, according to Mckinsey. Despite this strong business case for more inclusive organisations, progress has been slow.

The McKenzie Delis Packer review is a report on diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Using 10 facets of workplace diversity and inclusion, DIAL Global partnered with industry experts to create a comprehensive review of workplace practices.

In this video, Leila McKenzie Delis, Chief Executive of DIAL Global and co-author of the McKenzie Delis Packer Review, discusses some of the main findings from the report and gives practical insights into improving workforce diversity.

Video Transcript

Do you know what it’s absolutely fantastic to be here at the diversity and inclusion in business conference today. And as Rob mentioned, I’m going to be giving a presentation for around 20 minute mark with question and answers as well after that. So any questions that you may have at all, please do ask away. I always love to be as interactive as possible when it comes to giving presentations, especially when it comes to sharing personal stories, anecdotes you know, what has worked what hasn’t worked and all of those other great things as well.

So my name is Leila McKenzie Delis, and I am the founder and CEO of an organisation called Dial Global. Dial Global stands for diverse, inclusive, aspirational leaders. And I actually only started business just under two years ago and we’ve grown astronomically since then. Why are we different? You know, for us, it’s about celebrating all different aspects of diversity, inclusion, belonging, and equity and the rich intersectionalities that make each other up as human beings. So, a little bit about Dial will talk about myself and how this came to be very shortly. But Dial Global brings together diversity and inclusion, change agents to access powerful connections and knowledge that help achieve workplace diversity and inclusion faster. We empower leaders by facilitating peer to peer learning through leading global summits, cutting edge insights and evaluation tools, as well as a very supportive and powerful, diverse inclusion community.

I’m always and have always been a big believer that sharing knowledge sharing insight is the way that we can collectively move the dial faster. You know, this is very much about collaboration over any kind of competition and really looking at the different aspects that allow us to collectively move that dial. So a little bit about myself, just to kind of set the scene. And I hope this makes some sense when it comes to the rationale that we have here at Dial, looking at these 10 holistic facets of diversity, inclusion, belonging, and equity, which I’m going to go on to speak about in just a moment because we did a study on a number of organisations where we looked at these 10 rich facets but a little bit about myself. So as you may be able to tell I am Chinese.

I was actually adopted by, white, British parents back in Hong Kong when Hong Kong was a British colony. You can see my parents here on the right hand side of the screen. I love them dearly. They literally are my life. But I mention them because I think, I have been passionate about diversity and inclusion before I really even knew what it was. My brother and I were born over in Hong Kong. I was adopted at 10 months old. We moved back to the UK having gone to international schools where there was a rich diversity in tapestry of lots and lots of different individuals. And we moved to Yorkshire. I was six at the time, moved to a place called Harrogate in North Yorkshire. And was one of the only Chinese, well, one of the other Chinese, my brother was the other Chinese child, it was a very middle class, white school.

Cool. And whilst with many happy memories, I think it was a time in my life. I realised actually I’m a little bit different here. And for many years really did struggle to, to try and fit in. I remember wanting to be blonde haired and blue eyed and desperately just wanted to fit in and belong. And I think so for many years kind of carried that the way through, into my professional career as it was. I was very lucky to be afforded the privilege of education and going to university. And actually I got a first class honors degree in business and management studies yet despite getting a first class honors business degree not one of the companies in the milk round would let me in basically, my CV got me through the door.

First class honors degree tends to get you lots and lots of interviews, but I didn’t manage to secure a job in one of the many corporate organisations that I desperately hoped for. And so I ended up running my own businesses over the various years. Ended up working in, in the world of recruitment, actually, where I realised that over time, the higher and higher up I went. And you know, the more I, I would spend time in, in the boardrooms of corporate UK and global organisations, that actually there was a, a real lack of anyone, frankly, that looked or sounded anything like myself. And, and I guess this in itself kind of led me on the path that I am on today. I do believe that the story has a happy ending.

You can see my, my husband here, I ended up actually marrying a a middle-aged white guy, which is one thing I often tell clients of ours now. And I often say is before we judge what is on the outside, actually remember that there’s many different facets that make us up as individuals that make us up as human beings. My middle-aged white guy is actually very, very diverse. He was born in America. He lived in China for over a decade. And so it’s very, very confusing if we go into a Chinese restaurant because they’ll speak to me in Chinese and he’ll respond in fluent Mandarin with a thick Beijing accent. And I have no idea what they’re talking about. And so we like to say that we’re a really multicultural family actually, and whilst diversity visible diversity is incredibly important when it comes to representation.

Because aside from my parents, I would’ve loved to see someone that I could have looked up to that I could aspire to be like, who was in my world of business that you know, had some similarities to myself. But I also think it’s important that we look below the skin surface as well. I’m dyslexic. I suffer with mental health and, and depression and anxieties. I’m sure many people do given this world of COVID that we have had. And so for me, looking at the full picture, the full suite of all different aspects of visible and invisible diversity is incredibly important. And so I took that into my career and into my business world. I wrote a book called diverse, inclusion and belonging. It’s a leadership guide about why everyone matters and how to make them feel like they do, written from the viewpoint of being a millennial leader.

I turned 35 recently and I’ve watched with great interest as the world of business, the world of leadership, the old age kind of archetypal view of your, your CEO of the pastors really started to change. And we’ve seen you know, CEOs now start to really raise their head above the power pit when it comes to speaking out about diversity, inclusion and belonging. So much so, that I do believe the leader of the future will be more of a humanistic leader, more of a leader that is absolutely, you know, having to care about societal issues on a different scale to that of before. A couple of other things that I’ll mention here very briefly before moving on are the exec search business that, that I also run less so these days, but it was another of the reasons that I felt so incredibly passionate about moving the dial in all aspects of diversity and inclusion and belonging.

I recruited the first female Asian Canadian lady in Sainsbury. I recruited at the back end of last year, the first female onto the board within a FinTech company. And I think the more that we can inspire and educate, drive allyship as well for the rationale as to why we need to have different mindsets, different viewpoints in that boardroom, the better place that, that we will subsequently then be in. And so it is my unwavering passion and mission that of everything that we do at Dial and also the not for profit foundation that we run to change those talent pipelines and make sure that the boardrooms of the future and the talent pools of the future involve and welcome all. So, they feel that they can belong, so that no one is excluded and that everyone’s voice is truly heard.

I’m going to move us on talking a little bit about something that we did actually last year. So we’ve recently launched the McKenzie Delis Foundation, which is committed to driving insight and research and how businesses are moving this holistic dial on diversity, equity and inclusion and belonging in the workplace. The foundation looks at the entire mix of diversity. We’ve chosen 10 facets. We did look closely at the UN sustainable development goals that related to these aspects of diversity and inclusion. And we also looked at the qualities act as well. And so we pulled out these 10 specific facet of diversity clear in our realisation that every human being would be likely to relate to more than one of these facets. And here they are, the 10 facets of diversity. So we look at the visible and invisible aspects of diversity including ethnicity, age, gender, sexual orientation, mental health, disability, visible, and invisible socioeconomic status, background, nationality, religion, and parenthood, and caring responsibilities.

We’ve actually added that on this year. And I hope through my small example, before my personal example, of how I would identify with a number of these different areas you can consider and take a look inside yourself. And, and perhaps with colleagues that, you know, even with friends and family members, what are the things that make you visibly diverse? And what are the things that sit below that water line that make you unique. But unless someone would ask you, they wouldn’t actually know. So I’d love you to take a moment to really consider how all of these different areas impact you, make you different and unique because every single person, even though they may look similar, in some instances are incredibly unique and bring something different to the table.

Eventually you are thinking about these 10 aspects of diversity. I’m now going to go into talking a little about how we looked at these 10 aspects of diversity when it came to the inaugural launch of our review last year, because as with everything I think you know, this is about, this is about lived experience, but it’s also about putting into practice what we have learned, sharing our knowledge with others. So, we can move the dial faster and also putting science behind those methodologies, because we must win hearts and minds on the one side in order to get people to buy into the reason, the rationale to look theoretically at all of these issues and also benefits. But also, it’s incredibly important that we look at how we can utilise that data, that research, those metrics in order to actually hold leaders and organisations accountable.

And so last year we launched the inaugural McKenzie Delis Packer Review. I called the Review’s last name after Packer, because Jally Packer was a student who came from an underprivileged background. And back when launching this review I remember knocking on countless doors. And it reminded me a little bit of when I was trying to get a graduate job. And everyone said no, it’s not going to work. No it’s too difficult, no 10 facets finding that information is going to be very, very challenging. But the team and I at Dial were absolutely firm and solid in our mission. And that was how can we collaborate with all these brilliant organisations? We’re all doing phenomenal things individually yet, allowing us not to be so siloed and to look at these aspects of diversity in their individuality, but to look at them in a far more holistic way, to look at those different aspects of intersectionality and say, hey, right.

You know, LGBTQ plus, we need to work more on that ethnicity. We need to work more on that, or you know, gender great. We’re doing brilliant now. So let’s look at other aspects. I think one of my observations in particular, when it comes to diversity, inclusion, belonging, and equity, is that everyone’s on a different phase of the journey. And you know, it is about how we identify where people are at and how they can be concerted in their efforts to actually then push and move the dial in the right direction on the things that need that additional support, because everyone is at a very, very different place. And so we were overwhelmed with the support eventually that we ended up getting for the review. We actually surveyed 79 organisations in the end. Our non-executive chairman Ben Page has been really a, a beacon of support for me personally, but also for that of the team, because he said, you know, this is going to be challenging, but Hey, let’s go for it and let’s do it.

And what we did is we looked at these organisations, we looked at their CEOs minus two, to look at how they performed around these 10 metrics, these 10 aspects of diversity and inclusion. And we produced a diagnostic that every single one of the organisations, and we did it all without charging anyone, a penny. So I have to say, I was remarkably proud, did nearly kill the little team and I but when we came out of the other end, we thought, you know what? That is something that we can be exceptionally proud of, but it is not enough. We need to do this every single year to keep the momentum up and look back at all of the progress that has been made around all aspects of diversity and inclusion. And it upsets me that we have not got far enough. And so you know, whilst we still have people saying to us, Hey, why don’t you do this biannually?

You know, it’s pretty challenging. It’s a lot of work to do. We’ve said, no, we’ve got to do it every single year, because from small acorns, big Oak trees grow. And that is how we are going to drive this difference. It’s holding accountability, it’s holding the mirror up, but at the same time, it’s saying, look, here’s a productive way in which you then can see a diagnostic. You can see the 10 aspects of diversity and inclusion. You can see where the areas of strength and weakness, so you can move that in the right direction. We were very pleased as well, that we had EY who supported us last year. KPMG have already put their hat in the ring this year and said that they are keen to support as have many, many others. And so we got a couple of slides here just with some of the statistics, some of the detail that we had come out of the back of the review.

We actually did a launch event at the last year. We created a film with a number of leaders who participated in the review to look at how they personally related to all of these areas of holistic diversity. So, I’m going to talk through a couple of the key findings here. I won’t go through them all because the report is actually near on about a hundred pages. You can download it again completely for free our ethos at Dial and also the McKenzie Delis Review, which we’ve now actually just in the process of creating me the McKenzie Delis Foundation, which is a not-for-profit organisation that focuses on driving diversity and inclusion research to, to, to inspire, educate, motivate future generations of leaders within the workforce. So key findings from participating organisations were, I mean, they’re absolutely fascinating and very surprising, of course, we were looking at the 79 organisations this year.

And so I suspect fully that this will change every year that we do the review. So we looked at gender, we found that seven in 10, 71% of participating organisations reported progress against measurable objectives for their leadership team diversity, yet only 54% specify gender diversity in leadership team succession planning found the raised and side that just over four in 10, 43% to be precise, of participating organisations report their progress against measurable objectives for leadership team ethnic diversity and over 56% have initiatives for increasing ethnic diversity in their leadership teams, half 49%, nearly specific ethnic diversity and leadership team succession planning. On the sexual orientation side, we found that just under four in 10, that’s 38% of participating organisations, gathered and monitored data on the sexual orientation of their leadership teams or internally shared stories of any visible LGBTQ+ role models from the leadership teams disability.

We found that nine out of 10, 91% of participating organisations have a process to ensure employees with disability and long term conditions have the adjustments they require at work. However, only 58% of participating organisations have communicated and engaged with the workforce on why disability inclusion is important to the organisation. And 43% do not currently have senior leaders in each area of the organisation, ensuring disability inclusion is factored into their business strategy. So these were just some we have, our others here, age and generation religion, or belief systems, nationality, and socioeconomic status. I’ll read you a couple of the headlines here because I am conscious of timing on the age and generation side. And again, we’re keen to look at all different aspects here. We did actually partner.

But on the 10 facets, we partnered up with leading institutions on every one of those 10 facets. We didn’t just pluck these out of the air. What we did is we, we said Stonewall, we would love, because you are the leaders in LGBTQ+, we would love to partner with you to help you help co-create three to five questions, qualitative and quantitative in order to basically add to our voluntary survey that we would send out to chief executive CHROs, CDOs, et cetera. We did the same on all the other aspects. So we partnered with Power of Parent on the parenting and caring responsibility facet. We partnered with the Surge on Park Review on the race and ethnicity facet. We partnered with the Hampton Alexandra review on the gender facet and so on and so forth.

So, we found on the Aging Generation facet, which, oh, I should say again, sorry, I keep backtracking here, everyone. So, on the Aging Generation facet, we partnered with the Centre for Aging Better. But again, what I would really love to do this year is you know, there’s so many brilliant organisations looking at youth as well. And so actually, can we look at the life cycle continuum for every one of these areas? Because you know, when we think, you know, I suppose aging generation, we did partner with an organisation that celebrates aging which I think is terribly important. I also think we do need to look at the other areas and the other aspects, and there’s plenty of other things that we can continue to add in. But we found one in five participating organisations agreed that they faced issues with managing age diversity at work, 87% on religion or belief systems recognised the benefits of a diverse workshop workforce relating to race and belief.

Nationality wise, we found eight in 10 participating organisations collected data on the nationality of the employees. But some 18%, almost one in five don’t on the socioeconomic status side, again, nearly half 49% of participating organisations, actively promote entry level roles to young people from underrepresented backgrounds yet just one in five, currently youth contextual recruitment practices to support applicants from underperforming schools and less advantage backgrounds. I have to say this one really hit home for me. In particular, whilst I would identify with a number I often think to myself how lucky I have been to have the elements of privilege that I have had. I was afforded the opportunity to go to school to be educated, to get a degree.

You know, if someone like myself who got a great degree, couldn’t get a job in one of the corporate organisations think then about how those from underperforming schools or deprived areas must find it, then layering on all of the other aspects to actually get that opportunity. And so as with everything diversity inclusion, belonging equity, it’s not just a one silver bullet situation. It’s such a rich complex multidimensional subject that we really need to look at so many different areas, but continuing to populate and to drive an outreach to under privileged areas and deprived areas where frankly, there’s so much rich talent there, it’s just a case of how we can support this. Then finally we looked at mental health and we looked at parenthood nine in 10 of participating organisations recognise the importance of mental health.

92% also recognise the benefit of parents in the workforce. But we did see a gender cap around parental support as well. So those are some of the key statistics that did come out. And again, there’s a as a quote here from Denise Keating, who was the former CEO of the NEI, because we built a really strong and rich voluntary review committee for McKenzie Delis Review. And I think this quote here was particularly relevant because actually you know, what Denise had said is the organisation sit up and pay attention to this when there’s increased attention in the media or those governmental requirements on certain characteristics. But that in itself is not what we’ll do alone. It’s actually looking at all these different areas with Dial and the Dial Global organisation on the, for profit side, because we do both for, and not for profit work.

We are not only putting pressure on in the media but we’re doing it in a way that we’re tell, telling celebratory stories about why and also the benefits of having diversity and inclusion in the workforce. So it’s getting that external validation, visibility storytelling also of course, talking through the challenges, but also accelerating the movement of the Dial through sharing knowledge, sharing measures with lots of different organisations. And it is these global large organisations that have really the most responsibility to step up for the plate. You know, we heard yesterday at our Dial Global Summit and thank you David, for allowing me to mention this, but we are doing a free Dial Global Summit today and tomorrow, sorry, today and yesterday on diversity and inclusion, we’ve been talking a lot about the fact that you know, there is a moral obligation for, for large organisations and all organisations, but in particular, large organisations who have that incredible power, that global power to influence to really step up to the plate and invest truly in all of these different aspects.

We feel very proud that we have partners at our summit, which include Unilever, Accenture, Wallgreen Boots Alliance, the Co-Op, Alpha Financial Software and Verizon Media who own Yahoo Finance and various other publications. I’ll end on this point here, one of the oldest pieces of management advice is what gets measured gets done, bringing in the same standards of informed decision making used throughout management to the business case of diversity inclusion can be a game changer and is a game changer. So it is this balance, this delicate yet urgent balance to keep the momentum on, to keep the pressure on, to keep the emotional energy high on all of these areas that truly matter, but also putting science behind that, because just saying, we’re going to do the right thing is not going to get us anywhere, staying and doing we’re going to do the right thing is going to get us there much faster.

And so I urge you all please to support us in this amazing journey and, and hopefully to get involved with your organisations in our charitable review this year so that we can continue to draw out not only really great insights, but to provide these organisations with complimentary diagnostics that show them where they’re at and how they can improve on all of these different aspects. You can download this review completely for free. We also did a digital version. We also did a launch event. We also created a little film as well so that we could win hearts and minds as well as talk to people about the statistics and the measurements. An open and honest analysis can help your organisation understand where you may have equity issues. We’re talking a lot more about equity than we are equality because whilst we’d love to have an equal society, we all know that it isn’t.

Actually this is about recognising where people are at all different aspects of diversity and inclusion, so that we can lift people up and recognise that people come from different places in life. We can’t, we can’t help how we come into this world, but we can help the change that we make and the impact that we have when we go out of it. And so we really do want to provide this database foundation, but also make sure that we are telling the stories we are inviting in welcoming different viewpoints in order to truly move the dial and address all of the different issues in our facet. As I said before, the stories and best practice shared in this report can easily be translated into any organisation. We see a lot that organisations find it rather overwhelming looking at all these different aspects.

They don’t know where to start. So please do point them in our direction. It is our hope that this will equip business leaders around the world with insight, inspiration, best practice needed to make real and measurable lasting change. And that takes all of us. So last point here on the review, the diagnostic tool for major organisations we are doing this quite scarily, but very excitingly, if that is a word using my dyslexia ability here. But we are doing this on, on, on a lot of the fortune organisations in America. So we’re launching out in the States. We’ve got some very exciting co-chairs that will be announced publicly soon. We have Ben Page and also Lord Simon Woolley who you may know, who’s founded operation black vote, who’s a co-chair in the UK. We would love to make sure that we are utilising as Rob said, right in the beginning, you know, a lot of these absolutely terrible life events and moments in history.

You know, in particular from my side you know, we’ll be addressing nearly a year on from George Floyd. I know it can be incredibly, emotionally draining and exhausting for those in those minority groups to be keeping the foot on the gas, you know, for certainly felt it myself with a lot of the Asian hate in the news of late. But actually it’s kind of trying to turn that around into a positive and saying, you know what, actually let this be an opportunity for true change, let this fuel the fire to make a difference for our future. So that actually future generations of leaders have the same opportunity as everyone else. Let’s take swift action. Now let’s not lose momentum from the pandemic and some of the world events that we have seen. And hopefully you’ve seen from this small presentation, how you can maximise the diversity and inclusion opportunity. Thank you so much for listening. My name is Leila McKenzie Delis, Founder, and CEO of Dial Global and the McKenzie Delis Review. And I’d love you all to help us in #MovingTheDial, which is our little slogan. And hopefully you can join us as well.


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Studies have shown diverse organisations perform better and have higher financial returns. We heard from Leila Mckenzie Delis, Chief Executive at DIAL Global, about findings from the recent Mckenzie Delis Packer review into diversity, inclusion and belonging in the workplace.

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