Stonewall conference speakers agree workplace diversity makes good business sense


Business leaders have called on employers to keep a focus on diversity in the workplace.

Speaking yesterday at Stonewall's workplace conference sponsored by Barclays, Brendon Riley, CEO of IBM UK, and vice-admiral Alan Massey, Second Sea Lord, Royal Navy, both used their keynote speeches to call on employers to keep focused on workplace equality for lesbian, gay and bisexual staff.
Massey said: "Changing behaviours takes some time. Changing the underlying attitudes and culture takes a whole lot longer. The continued engagement of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community is vitally important to us to ensure that it becomes an embedded part of our business, a fundamental part of a fair leadership culture."
Antony Grey Jenkins, chief executive of global retail banking at Barclays, added: "Organisations that focus on diversity tend to be higher performing than those that don't. People take their lead from what they see around them. Creating a workplace where all colleagues are able to be themselves is absolutely critical to the overall wellbeing of any business.
"Stonewall keeps us honest, it keeps dialogue going with business. We were number 1 in the Workplace Equality Index, and then we slipped to 11. I said to the team that there were too many 1s in 11,' said Riley of IBM, Stonewall's Employer of the Year 2010. ‘Of all the awards for business in the UK a Stonewall award is the one you really want. It goes to the heart of who you are and what you stand for."
And David Shields, Stonewall director of workplace programmes, added: "Diversity makes good business sense for all employers, particularly when the economic climate is tougher."
The Stonewall workplace conference 2010 was attended by nearly 500 people.