WiHTL and Diversity in Retail Inclusion Summit celebrates commitment to EDI
Today’s annual Inclusion Summit in London, hosted by WiHTL and Diversity in Retail (DiR), emphasised the event’s industry significance and the strong drive for progress in DEI within the Hospitality, Travel, Leisure and Retail sector.
Having sold out weeks in advance, the Summit was attended by over 700 delegates across the industry and presented a programme of inspirational headline speakers and thought-provoking panel discussions with C-Suite leaders and graduates of the WiHTL and DiR development programmes.
Aaron Phipps MBE, the gold medal winning Paralympic champion, delivered a compelling message of perseverance and determination, demonstrating the power of inclusivity in building strength, resilience and innovation. These insights were further underlined in the panel discussions led by industry CEOs and senior leaders exploring key themes which included: the increasing recognition of EDI as a core strategic priority in the current changing landscape, the impact of mentoring and sponsorship and the need to reach a wider stakeholder group to accelerate progress.
Latest industry research reveals a widening gap in EDI across HTL and Retail
At the Summit, WiHTL and DiR unveiled its latest research into EDI within the sector based on in-depth analysis conducted in collaboration with The MBS Group in addition to the results of its recently launched inclusion in EDI Maturity Curve. The EDI Maturity Curve has been developed in conjunction with the Centre for Diversity Policy Research and Practice at Oxford Brookes Business School, the leading academic institution in the diversity field.
The EDI Maturity Curve is a unique industry-backed framework aimed at assessing progress in delivering EDI across HTL and Retail and provides a snapshot of performance with an accreditation across five dimensions: organisation, employee journey, stakeholders, leadership and impact. The analysis equips organisations with the key building blocks enabling them to benchmark progress, identify gaps and build tangible action plans to progress to the next stage. A number of companies across the sector joined the pilot programme and contributed to this first wave of research.
The key findings from the research were as follows:
- Whilst the majority of companies have an EDI strategy there is a widening gap between the leaders and laggards
- Most businesses in HTL and Retail have a coordinated strategy for promoting inclusion and driving up the representation of minority groups but whilst strategies in Retail are highly comprehensive many policies in HTL businesses are underdeveloped
- Only incremental progress has been made in the representation of women at the most senior leadership levels in HTL and Retail with the most senior strategic roles still being held by men
- Ethnic diversity tells a similar story: businesses are a long way from reflecting their UK communities where 18% of the population do not identify as white
- Companies now need to accelerate the pace of change with deliberate action as currently only half of retailers and a third of HTL companies have specific schemes to introduce more diversity and only a third of companies in both HTL and Retail have EDI targets in place
Tea Colaianni, Founder and Chair of WiHTL and DiR, said: “As our research shows, although change is underway and we can celebrate the advances that we have made, we need to accelerate the pace of change to ensure that EDI continues to be a core strategic priority and remain resolute in our determination to address areas where progress might be stalling. Most leaders across our industry are committed to growing, evolving and embedding evidence-backed EDI strategies and are reaping the benefits of fostering an inclusive culture. Organisations are being challenged as well as backed by shareholders and investors who see this as a key part of the ESG strategy and are demanding more action and more tangible results in the diversity area.”
Elliott Goldstein, Managing Partner at The MBS Group, said: “As the industry faces a tough macroeconomic climate, our challenge to leaders is to ramp up, not slow down, efforts to move the dial. At this stage, companies should be setting targets, allocating healthy budgets, and linking goals relating to inclusion to leadership bonuses. EDI must be led from the top, and not left to slip off the executive committee or board agenda as competing priorities emerge.”
The mission of the WiHTL and DiR Collaboration Community is to support companies to create diverse and inclusive environments across Hospitality, Travel, Leisure and Retail and to positively impact 5 million employees globally by 2030. Founded in 2017, the Community now has 110 member companies with a total of 3.7 million employees and over the last six years has directly positively impacted 13,700 employees. By co-creating and delivering ground-breaking, inspirational cross-industry leadership development programmes the Community helps organisations build and invest in their diverse talent pipeline and create deep cultural change.
Banner Image: Aaron Phipps MBE, the gold medal winning Paralympian.
Image: From left to right – Jyoti Tailor: VP Finance EMEA Hilton, David Wood: CEO Wickes, Paula Mackenzie: CEO Pizza Express, Kari Daniels: CEO SSP UK and Ireland, Ian Carter: Chair Watches of Switzerland.
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