David is a former Diversity Lead and Managing Director in Accenture, and is now the Founder and Managing Director of The Diversity & Innovation Company. In his career David has been responsible for graduate recruitment, management development, has been an HR Director, and a global executive. He is a Workplace Mediator, a Magistrate, and is also Managing Director D A Evans Ltd., specialising in resolving people and relationship issues in business.
I had several experiences during my time as Diversity lead in Accenture that convinced me that even though we were leading edge in our approach, there was a more commercial and effective approach we could take to driving Diversity and talent development.
I was 48 years old when I went to my first ever International Women’s Day event – and found myself for the first time in my life in a distinct minority and feeling very self-conscious.
I immediately thought we need to provide this experience to male graduates on day 1, so they gain some awareness of what it is like for women in the workplace, and hopefully carry that memory with them at pivotal points throughout their career.
The second incident which resonated with me was talking to my client in India. The HRD shared her reasoning for wanting all-women shortlists in recruitment, despite the fact it reduced the talent pool by 85% – her marketing team for female hair care products was all male – how ridiculous was that!
I started thinking about how we could make Diversity much more relevant in business and the workplace.
When I spoke to a banker he told me that whilst he and his colleagues wanted to increase diversity and inclusion, hearts certainly in the right place, they lacked the wherewithal to make real progress – “Women were systemically under-represented, and in thirty years of banking, I know only one individual in a wheelchair.
“The leadership development we deliver is of life changing impact, and it is the immersion in real life experiences that makes this difference.”
How can that be? There is absolutely nothing physical required in the world of banking and yet the numbers are staggeringly low.”
As I explored these issues further I uncovered evidence that in the fastest growing sector of the economy – the Digital revolution – the numbers of women entering IT related jobs, and even studying for computer science and IT degrees, were reducing. So Diversity is actually in reverse in some areas. My conclusion was that we need a disruptive intervention in the form of a much more hands on way of integrating Diversity interventions into the learning and development that a company’s leaders get from day one in their career, as new graduates or apprentices, and continuing all the way up the career ladder.
I set up the Diversity & Innovation Company to make Diversity much more real within companies, to help their leadership teams truly reflect the diversity of their customer base, to make progress on a sustainable basis, and to make companies more successful. The link between diversity and innovation is clear, but progress is too slow. The leadership development we deliver is of life changing impact, and it is the immersion in real life experiences that makes this difference.
David A Evans