Diversity & Inclusion

The Importance of Maintaining DE&I Activities to Drive Continued Innovation & Resilience

By Deb LaMere, Datasite CHRO

Dealmaking not only requires managing a diverse array of complex business issues, but right now, it also means navigating an array of other challenges, including rate hikes, supply chain challenges, currency fluctuations and a down market. A potential recession is forcing companies to consider their operational costs, as well as their revenue and profitability outlook. Given these challenges, supporting environmental, social, including diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I), and governance may seem less of a priority, but now is exactly the time for business to maintain a steady ESG strategy and programs.

Research shows that diverse and inclusive teams are key to an innovative workplace. Innovation, including adapting to shifting expectations and market uncertainty, is key to a company’s success. Yet given today’s challenging conditions, how can organizations and leaders best support diversity and inclusion? The following are a few ideas to consider.

Listen to Your Employees & Gather Ideas

As a company that facilitates more than 14,000 global deals a year, Datasite is an example of a company that not only provides a unique window into the pace of dealmaking, but also how dealmakers in 170 countries like to manage the dealmaking process, including people and people issues, such as talent management, worker conditions and human rights.

Like other industries, M&A is changing. Recent insights for example show that women are making strides in the world of M&A. Once a traditionally male-dominated industry, there are now more women born after 1980 than men born after 1980 working in the field. Many of these women are also seeing a faster career progression to the manager level. This is great to see any time, but especially nice to call out during Women’s History Month.

Yet the gap at the executive level remains, with more males (22%) working in the highest-level M&A roles compared to females (15%). Ensuring women are part of a diverse slate of candidates and that there is a diverse hiring panel in place are some ways organizations can ensure greater diversity at the top. Another is conducting formal pay structure reviews to ensure pay parity. For example, Economic Dividends for Gender Equality or EDGE provides a standardized methodology and global certification system that can be applied across industries and regions for assessing and tracking progress in closing the corporate gender gap. Datasite received its Assess certification from the organization last year.

Take Action

Employees also need to feel supported, no matter at which stage of their career they are. Providing ample growth opportunities, including fair and equal access to learning and career opportunities, creates a tangible path for individual growth and goes a long way in supporting an environment where everyone feels safe, respected and celebrated. Virtual trainings on topics, such as leading diverse teams, is one way to provide managers with resources on how they can celebrate and support the wide range of experience, skills, and perspectives that each team member brings to the table. Diversity and inclusion councils are another. Often comprised of employees from all regions, functions and backgrounds, these teams can provide regular insights and resources on monthly DE&I topics to drive awareness and advocacy within an organization.

Make the Process Continuous

Hiring and retention is becoming dependent on building an inclusive work environment. As Boomers begin to retire and Gen Z enters the workforce, all industries are experiencing a trend toward greater diversity among the younger generations. In addition to greater representation for women among younger dealmakers, Millennials and Gen Z dealmakers are also more racially diverse, as well as more likely to identify as LGBTQIA.

Ultimately, employees don’t stay at companies where they feel they don’t belong. But the puzzle of nurturing an inclusive workplace is becoming more complex, often requiring chipping away one piece at a time. Employers willing to invest in their employees will reap the rewards.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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