Diversity resonates across many areas of our daily lives whether political, business or in our community.

As we welcome the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage, celebrate inclusiveness in the workplace or look upon the errors of the past around the Windrush community, one thing is clear – diversity is part of our national consciousness and so it should be.

But there is still much to do to ensure that diversity is not just an optional extra, and that businesses both reflect and benefit from the breadth of our diverse society.

Earlier this month, on Thursday 5thJuly 2018 in Leeds, diversity was a priority for CEOs and Senior Managers, from companies of all sizes and from all sectors. They heard first-hand about the positive impact diversity programmes can have on businesses, when the National Centre of Diversity launched its Masters in Diversity executive leadership programme.

Companies that commit to genuine equality across the board can widen the pool of talent and skills, increase flexibility to match the needs of their staff and the business, reflect the wider community in which they operate and can help to improve overall business performance.

This has been evidenced in the 2018 McKinsey Report, Delivering through Diversity, published in January 2018. The report found that “Companies in the top-quartile for gender diversity on their executive teams were 21% more likely to have above-average profitability than companies in the fourth quartile.”

Two leading CEOs: Pat Edwards from NEWTEC and Peter Hill from Leeds Building Society gave their personal accounts on how diversity can make a positive and meaningful difference by sharing best practice.

Chief Executive of the National Centre for Diversity, Solat Chaudhry said “Masters in Diversity can show companies that taking a leadership role with diversity can truly change hearts and minds. We will share intelligence and insights so businesses can make a positive impact across the business.”

Often the law is a driver, but equality of opportunity is about good management and leadership, it’s not about meeting a legal requirement. Solat was joined by Richard Newstead of SCE Solicitors, to add another dimension and illustrate how legislation coupled with best practice and excellent collaboration, can provide the right environment for everyone to fulfil their potential.

For business leaders the diversity dividend is real, as demonstrated further by the McKinsey Report (Delivering through Diversity – January 2018), when looking at the link between ethnic and cultural diversity and profitability Companies in the top-quartile for ethnic/cultural diversity on their executive teams were 33% more likely to outperform on profitability.”

You can influence your customer base and suppliers too via your procurement activities and make your Corporate Social Responsibility agenda truly significant.

The launch also provided an opportunity for the National Centre for Diversity to showcase the power of Diversi-theatre, a new development in the world of theatre-based EDI training. The Diversi-theatre team’s production highlighted how powerful the art of story-telling combined with discussion can really be, and the lasting impact it can have compared to more traditional methods of training.

A long-time supporter of the National Centre for Diversity and a member of the NCFD National Patrons Network, Coral Taylor, Inclusion Business Partner, Amey, helped to close the launch event by sharing her experience as a woman in the male dominated construction sector and how it is changing for the better.

By putting diversity at the top of the agenda and making it a priority will help you position your company differently acros your networks and demonstrate your commitment to your stakeholders and, importantly, embed diversity across your teams and show that you are a responsible company with strong values.

The National Centre of Diversity comments, promotes and influences best practice in the workplace. They provide solutions and have a number of tools, techniques and resources to share with businesses of all sizes. They have fast become the ’go to people’ on how you can leverage diversity and inclusion to outperform your competitors.

To find out more about the Masters in Diversity Executive Leadership Programme call 0800 288 4717.