Insights from McKinsey “Diversity matters Even More” report

In today’s diverse and dynamic work environments, fostering a culture of inclusion and psychological safety is crucial. One often overlooked aspect of this challenge is “covering.” This blog will delve into what covering is, why people engage in it at work and its impact.

Insights from McKinsey “Diversity matters Even More” report.

As part of their ground-breaking global, cross industry diversity impact series, McKinsey launched their, latest report in December 2023. The report “Diversity Matters Even More” cements the importance and bottom-line impact of inclusion once again. In fact, McKinsey concludes that diversity and inclusion matter even more, especially as the economy is proving challenging for most.

In this report, McKinsey also presents five transformative levers that leaders can use to enhance diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in their organisations. In this article we explore how these levers, when applied effectively, can ensure that organisations develop inclusive, winning cultures which deliver the bottom line impacts McKinsey consistently observe in their research series.

This article explores each lever in detail and provides real lie examples of ow each lever has supported organisations on their journey towards inclusive and winning cultures.

1. Commit to a Systematic, Purpose-Led Approach

This lever involves integrating DEI into the heart of a company’s mission and strategic objectives. It’s about making DEI a core part of every business decision and process. Organisations can start by setting a clear vision for their culture, setting clear DEI goals, measuring progress, and holding leaders accountable. In our experience, any organisational change must be driven from a place of purpose and unifying vision. As well as this, a systemwide approach ensures that the inclusion is weaved into all strategies across the company, thus cementing inclusion across the full value chain of the organisation.

2. Embed the Strategy in Company-Wide Business Initiatives

The consequences of covering are profound and detrimental to both individuals and organisations. When employees feel compelled to hide their true selves, it can decrease job satisfaction, lower morale, and reduce overall well-being. Moreover, covering stifles creativity and innovation by discouraging diverse perspectives and ideas from emerging. From an organisational perspective, a covering culture can hinder productivity and collaboration. It also perpetuates a lack of diversity, as employees from underrepresented groups may feel discouraged from fully participating and contributing. In the long run, this can lead to high turnover rates, a damaged reputation, and legal challenges.

3. Prioritise Belonging and Inclusive Practices:

Creating a culture of belonging is key. This involves developing inclusive practices that make everyone feel valued and heard. Training programs, inclusive communication, and policies that support diverse groups are vital. Clients who not only focus diversity but also on inclusion find that the impact on overall culture, engagement and leadership is transformational. Psychological safety, speaking up and trust show a marked interest which improves wellbeing, performance and much more.

4. Embolden and Activate Champions and Allies

This lever stresses the importance of leadership in driving DEI. Leaders should act as champions and allies, promoting DEI through their actions and decisions. Mentorship and sponsorship programs can be instrumental in supporting diverse talent. In supporting, educating and then empowering allies, our clients have seen the benefits of shared accountability of delivering their DEI strategies. This creates a culture where everyone has a voice and is working towards creating a culture they can all be proud of.

5. Act on Feedback, Including Dissenting Voices

Listening to and acting on feedback is crucial for the evolution of DEI strategies. This includes creating channels for employees to voice their opinions and concerns, even if they are dissenting. Clients often find getting the balance right when it comes to hearing dissenting voices very challenging. Creating feedback mechanism, safe spaces and a values lead approach allows for better engagement across the organisation and to meaningful changes in their DEI approach. These levers are not just theoretical concepts; they are actionable steps that organisations can take to create a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive environment. We have seen first hand, across numerous industries how applying these principles creates business aligned and effective diversity and inclusion strategies.

How will you apply these levers in your organisations?


Let’s keep working together to create a world where everyone has the opportunity to thrive.

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