Palladium: Give diversity and inclusion a seat at the top table

In conversation with Rosanna Duncan, Chief Diversity Officer

Palladium works with governments, businesses, and investors to solve the world’s most pressing challenges.

Why has Palladium made diversity a key aspect of its business approach?

Diversity has been a competitive advantage for some time, but for us, it’s a license to operate. Not only is it good for our people, but the range of perspectives we’re able to harness spark the creativity and innovation we need to solve complex problems in challenging environmentssomething that’s crucial to our business.

Where do you see the simpler fixes – and where is it harder to make progress?

Unfortunately, there’s no silver bullet or simple fix! Real change takes time and can only be achieved when everyone works together. The difficulty can lie in helping the organisation to think about diversity beyond gender, and to see that everyone is responsiblefrom executives to the front linefor creating a diverse and inclusive environment.

What have you learned that might help other organisations confronting similar challenges?

One, give D&I a seat at the top table. One of the biggest risks is the perception that D&I is compartmentalised, a bolt-on to HR, or of too little strategic value to merit proper commitment.

Two, hold senior leaders accountable and be transparent about progress. At Palladium we hold quarterly forums and require senior leaders to report on our KPIs to all staff, including targets on equal pay and blind recruitment.

Three, keep the conversation flowing, internally and externally. We keep diversity top of mind by constantly sharing ideas, debating issues, and encouraging our people at all levels to develop their own thought leadership in this space.

What should we be watching for in terms of D&I over the coming years?

Gender is just one piece of the “inclusion jigsaw.”  Women are not a homogeneous group, and gender parity does not equal diversity or inclusion when women are only being recruited and promoted from the same privileged backgrounds as their existing male counterparts. We’re going to see more analysis of how different types of inequality intersect, and will be able to shift our recruitment practices, selection criteria, cultures, and unconscious biases toward the necessary action for meaningful change.

As more Boards and CEOs wake up to the reality that real change must be driven from the top, we’re going to start seeing more Chief Diversity Officers.

What gets measured gets done, and diversity is no exception. Improving the quality of the metrics at Palladium has had a huge impact, and as data science continues to increase in popularity, more companies will choose to equip their D&I leaders with ever more sophisticated data and set more ambitious KPIs.