Highlights: Diversity & Inclusion – Impact on Corporate Culture

In a recent online interview, Patrycja Riera, Founder & CEO of Inclusionem, shared her insights on how companies need to make data driven decisions about their diversity and inclusion agenda. Eleni Kitra, Global Business, Head of Automotive AaaS, MENA, Facebook, moderated the conversation.


  • Measurable inclusion is the most important aspect to make diversity work in organisations. Inclusion is about breaking stereotypes, and this has an impact on the goals of corporations.


  • Though it has been over a decade that organisations have been talking about D&I, the focus has been skewed towards diversity and though research has proved its impact to increase innovation, retention, performance, and profits, this is only realised when it is connected properly with inclusion.


  • Research from the West reveals that companies with above 30% women on boards and at director level, outperform their peers, by 48%. This is a lot of impact. If only companies understood that this is because they are leveraging diversity and inclusion.


  • Companies must move away from a ‘quick fix’ attitude by just adding more women to the mix toward more strategically embedding a culture of inclusion at all levels of the organisation for real long-term impact.


  • Inclusion creates a sense of belonging, regardless of backgrounds; brings greater cohesiveness in teams with each member’s uniqueness being accepted; different opinions are valued, strengths understood and leveraged for higher engagement and performance. The complexity of doing this can be quite challenging, however, it is worth the trouble, because when it is done well, not only does the company outperform but also creates impact.


  • D&I needs to be part of change management in the organisation’s agenda and at all levels. It is not an HR mandate alone. You need to put metrics in place, measure inclusion, collect quantitative and qualitative data and define your D&I strategy.


  • The challenge in this region is that since we already have ethnic diversity due to the predominance of an expat population, we are misaligned between policy and implementation. There is a false assumption that inclusion will happen organically since we are naturally diverse. We do not discuss what inclusion looks like and discuss the unconscious biases and unspoken norms.


  • Corporations need have a learning mindset in how they can do better and grow. It is not about failing at D&I but seeing it as a journey to change that brings value to everyone.


  • Message to the CEO: D&I must be on your agenda, and you need to drive it (not HR). Ask important questions about whether you have the right composition of top managers; make inclusion measurable and part of managers’ KPIs. Obtain data and real information about what your employees think. As much as policies and processes are important, so too are ‘felt’ experiences. Hold managers accountability and embed diversity and inclusion in the company’s DNA, so that it continues even after leaders leave.