CEO of Mercer (Sweden), Johan Ericsson, joins Alberto Lidji to discuss diversity and inclusion within the corporate space
CEO of Mercer (Sweden), Johan Ericsson, joins Alberto Lidji to discuss diversity and inclusion within the corporate space.
Johan has been with Mercer since 2001, a global human resources advisory firm with 25,000 employees operating in 130 countries.
Johan notes that diversity and inclusion have been gaining importance in recent years. There are also more jobs in this field and those jobs are to be found in more senior levels within organisations. Diversity and inclusion is now often a function in its own right, as one would find a head of legal or head of IT; it is no longer a sub-role in the margins.
Mercer have 30,000 clients globally; many of these clients are multinationals with subsidiaries in a large number of culturally diverse countries. In essence, some clients approach Mercer because, for instance, they might be operating in Sweden where auditing for diversity and inclusion is often required. However, in other instances, clients come up to Mercer simply because they take the challenge of diversity and inclusion seriously and want to learn what best practice looks like.
When Women Thrive – is an annual piece of research by Mercer done in conjunction with the World Economic Forum that looks at diversity and inclusion and how individual countries can ensure they fully leverage all of the brain power in a country.
We hear how cultural context is important, too. It isn’t simply a matter of telling companies to be diverse and inclusive. Cultural realities in Norway are different than in the Middle East, and this impacts how companies within these countries embrace diversity and inclusion.
Ultimately, Johan notes that business performance is better in diverse more inclusive organisations; more innovation and creativity, easier to hire and retain talent, the reputational angle as a good employer – there are many reasons. Moreover, diverse and inclusive organisations can be more fun, you meet people from different walks of life, and you learn more too.
While change is happening in the right direction, the pace is too slow. The vast majority of clients want to accelerate this agenda because they want to drive long-term sustainable and profitable growth. This is very important to them. It’s also important from a cultural point, in terms of the people they want to attract and retain – they need people from all backgrounds.
Johan’s key takeaway: building a diverse workforce is going to improve your productivity, efficiency and your profits, and at the same time you’re going to have more fun, you’re going to learn much more, you’re going to meet fascinating people and it’s going to increase your team’s engagement levels – do it because it makes sense in so many ways.
Visit Lidji.org for guest bios, episode notes and useful links. Please subscribe and share if you enjoy this podcast – thank you!