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The people who work on managing diversity and inclusion in the workplace are always looking for arguments to convince and persuade others, whether our managers, colleagues or employees in general, of the importance of promoting this agenda, and more so in times of Covid19. However, we often encounter barriers because the management of diversity and inclusion is often still seen as a moral and ethical obligation rather than a necessity to be a more innovative and competitive company.

Therefore, from the first moment we joined the project «The InnoDiversity Index”, a study carried out by the IE University and Fundación para la Diversidad with the support of HP and Pfizer and in collaboration with the American Chamber of Commerce in Spain. The premise was that companies that manage diversity and innovation are more competitive. IE University researchers Celia de Anca and Salvador Aragon describe innodiversity as «the organizational capacity to jointly manage diversity and innovation and improve competitiveness.” For them, diversity and innovation are the secret of business success.

We really liked the idea of being able to have a scientific tool that really measures whether the joint management of diversity and innovation produces more competitiveness in companies. We are convinced of the importance of generating more and better data to prove that this relationship is powerful and beneficial for companies, to convince even the last company in Spain of the need to advocate for the diversity and inclusion agenda.
Another point that I would like to highlight from this study is that it addresses diversity management from three main dimensions:

  • Demographic: female talent, disability, seniors and LGBTI+.
  • Experiential: Diversity in the sector, experience in the company itself, cultural diversity and diversity in training.
  • Cognitive: Problem solving, diversity of personalities, leadership diversity and critical thinking.

In Spain, generally, when we talk about managing diversity, we focus a lot on demographic diversity, leaving aside the experiential and cognitive side. However, now in times of Coronavirus we see that it is very important to have a broad vision of diversity and to include for example, the ability to solve problems, critical thinking and leadership skills. This becomes essential when facing complex problems like the actual crisis we are going through. In this sense, we hope that this study contributes to having a broader perspective of diversity.
Last but not least, I invite everybody to read the results of the study. Here are some of the main findings:

  • Large companies lead the development of innodiversity management, with a presence of around 34%, followed by small companies with 30% and medium companies with 26%.
  • More than 87% of the companies that have participated include the management of #gender diversity in their strategies.
  • The talent of people with #disabilities is the second most important area of interest with 72% of companies responding affirmatively.
  • 66% of companies report paying attention to the diversity of #senior talent.
  • Less interest is perceived in the management of #LGTBI talent, since more than 58% of the participating companies state that they do not pay particular attention to the management of this group.
  • Regarding the most relevant data in innovation management, 63% of companies do so, with regard to product / service, 61% manage innovation in processes and 58% of companies innovate in business model.

The report has been developed using a research methodology based on the Innodiversity Tree, which allows companies to compare the management within their organizations in terms of diversity and innovation, taking advantage of the best practices developed by the most advanced companies in each field globally.
The sample came from the top 300 companies in Spain, of which 56% are large, 26% medium and 18% small. 22% of these enterprises are listed on the IBEX35 index of leading Spanish companies.
We are already working on the next InnoDiversity Index 2020 in Spain. We also hope in the future to be able to carry out the study at European level to have comparative data regional and over time.

Sonia Rio
Executive Director of Fundación para la Diversidad



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