3 May 2018


CBI Inclusive Workplaces Conference: Picking up the pace of progress

Business leaders share practical insight on building a more inclusive workplace at the CBI’s half day conference.

CBI Inclusive Workplaces Conference: Picking up the pace of progress

When only one in four businesses are confident that they can access the high-skills their business needs, building more diverse and inclusive workplaces is not just the right thing to do but grounded on a solid business case. It is proven that diverse and inclusive workplaces enable everyone to perform at their best which also leads to better business results and higher productivity. The question becomes what business can do to draw on the widest talent pool? How can businesses attract and retain talents from different backgrounds? And how can businesses be advocates for change and promote diversity and inclusion as a brand?

This was the focus of the CBI’s third Inclusive Workplaces Conference, generously hosted by Simmons & Simmons. Around 160 delegates and more than 15 speakers joined a mix of plenary and breakout sessions with the aim of sharing best practices and discussing practical steps and experiences to enable them to enhance their strategies for becoming more inclusive.

In her opening remarks Carolyn Fairbairn, Director-General, stressed that UK companies cannot be complacent on progress towards more inclusive workplaces. For the UK to globally compete for people and skills, every business leader has a role to play in convincing the quiet sceptics of the importance of diversity and inclusion for UK prosperity.

Joined by CEOs from different sectors, Carolyn discussed how leaders can address the barriers to greater diversity and inclusion by clearly making the business case for action. This starts with having a frank conversation in every business about where progress is at and what good looks like. It is important that diversity and inclusion is modelled from the top, but fostering employee engagement through networks can help to ensure that there is buy in from all levels of the company.

During workshop and panel breakouts, speakers from multiple sectors such as retail, recruiting, consulting and finance discussed how employers can turn their inclusive workplace into a brand, design roles that enable people to work flexibly and improving recruitment and progression practices.

Attracting and retaining talent is business’ top priority. Small changes like assessing employees not on background and experience but on skills and competencies and tailoring training and coaching to enable people to reach their full potential can have a big impact.

Underpinning an inclusive workplace is a culture in which people are confident openly talking about mental health. This approach recognises that 1 in 4 people will suffer a mental health crisis during their working lives and is an issue that effects everyone. Raising awareness of mental health in business can help people to bring their full selves to work which is key to boosting engagement and driving workplace productivity.

Helping businesses to build more inclusive workplaces is a key priority for the CBI. Join us and book your place for the next Inclusive Workplaces Conference in Newcastle on 26 September.

Interviews to our distinguished guest speakers


Collaboration Workshop: Making the inflexible flexible, with Timewise

Download the presentation


For further information please contact Anna.Koch@cbi.org.uk or Eugenia.Migliori@cbi.org.uk