Diversity And Inclusion Matters

Posted 23rd June 2020
By Leona Barr-Jones

There has been so much talk over the last few weeks about Diversity and Inclusion as the Black Lives Matter campaign has been so impactful and present on our news and social media feeds. You will have noticed that many larger companies, and certainly USA based companies, have made a statement supporting the BLM movement. But what can we do as Small and Medium Enterprises within the UK to show our support when it really matters?

As business leaders, one of the most important things we can do in our own organisations, is to look at how we can encourage more diversity and look at how we can be inclusive leaders and develop a culture of workplace inclusivity. Last year I was named the National Director of the Year for Inclusivity by the amazing judges at the IoD for outstanding work supporting many blue-chip companies, organisations and charities with their D&I programme, briefing boards and trustees on how to implement DI and include unconscious bias in their leadership training. I also sit on the Army’s Steering Group for D&I for the Army Cadet Force and is Chair of the ACF LGBT+ Forum, driving change and supporting young people across the country, which all of us at Focus7 are hugely proud of.

In a recent Accenture Report, they found that up to 77% of employees care more than ever about workplace culture and believe it’s important to help them thrive in the workplace. Their voices are rising, loud and clear, while a growing number of companies recognize the importance of equality. They found that when it comes to workplace culture, there is a large gap between what leaders think is going on and what employees say is happening on the ground.

Two thirds (68%) of leaders feel they create empowering environments—in which employees can be themselves, raise concerns and innovate without fear of failure—but just one third (36%) of employees agree.

Accenture ‘getting to equal’ 2020 report

Closing that gap will help companies thrive in a hyper-competitive economic environment and benefit all employees. You all know us as brand-led business growth agency, but some may not know that we also empower leaders to look at their values, take action, no matter what stage they are at of their journey to a culture of equality and inclusivity and make a real difference when it really matters.

A lot of people we speak to have the same concern, they often say;

“We want to be more diverse in our organisation or our industry, but how do we start and make real change?”

Accenture identified a list of 40 factors that influence advancement and characterize a culture of quality, there are 3 main subjects:

  1. Bold leadership
  2. Comprehensive action
  3. Empowering environment

I recommend you look through and try and answer these questions for your own business or organisation and look for areas where you can make an immediate impact straight away.

Here are a few to get you started:


  • Gender diversity is a priority for management 
  • A diversity target or goal is shared outside the organization
  • The organization clearly states gender pay gap goals and ambitions 


  • Progress has been made in attracting, retaining and progressing women 
  • The company has a women’s network open only to women 
  • The company has a women’s network that is open to both women and men 


  • Employees have never been asked to change their appearance to conform to company culture 
  • Employees have the freedom to be creative and innovative 
  • Virtual/remote working is widely available and is common practice 

If you have any questions or concerns about your next steps to be inclusive leaders, or how to develop a culture of workplace inclusivity, get in touch by calling on 01462 262020 or message me on LinkedIn

COO at Focus7

A successful business owner by age twenty, and with a varied 21-year military career including five years at the MoD on Whitehall, Leona has developed first class leadership and management skills. She has managed the successful implementation of major change programmes both in the UK and worldwide, including on behalf of Transport for London in collaboration with the 2012 Olympics. Leona is also IoD Director of the Year and a Fellow of IoD, CMI, InstLM.

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