Powering Potential: The Case for Business Diversity

Susan Bowen

November 14, 2018


I was recently invited by the Westminster eForum to give a keynote presentation on diversity in the workplace, exploring the commercial benefits of having a diverse talent pool.

This was as an opportunity to engage with some of the tech industry’s leading voices on this matter and shed light on the benefits of an inclusive workforce – a topic that is close to home for Cogeco Peer 1 as we are in the fortunate position of having women occupy three key senior leadership roles in the company, which is all too rare, especially in the tech sector.

In considering the topic, the first question I addressed was – does diversity have commercial benefits and make a business more profitable? The answer is unequivocally yes. Both the research and my own personal experience back that assertion up. Among the research, these two findings stand out for me:

  • According to a global study by McKinsey, the most gender-diverse executive team companies are 21% more likely to financially outperform the least gender-diverse
  • From the same study, in the UK, for every 10% increase in the diversity of a company’s senior-executive team, profitability rose by 3.5%

So, how are we tracking this at Cogeco Peer 1? Aside from my personal commitment as president, we as a business are committed to playing an active role within the business community as champions for change. This includes setting our own targets; for instance, at the director level, we have a diversity target which aims to demonstrate the progression available to women within the business. But it goes further, and also includes a deep commitment to wider initiatives, local to each of our regions. In the UK for example we have signed the Tech Talent Charter. In Canada, we are committed to Women in Communications and Technology (WCT) and in the US & LATAM we are part of the Women in Technology (WIT) organisation, and Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). It is through initiatives such as these that we can collectively address the diversity gap and focus on the potential within our business.

It falls to me, to you, and to everyone in business to play their part. This starts with ensuring job descriptions are devoid of conscious and unconscious bias, and hiring panels not only choose diverse teams, but create the conditions that allow them to flourish and develop. Diversity is not only the right thing to do… it also makes absolute sound business sense. By creating a diverse-rich culture that reflects society (and our customers), we can only improve our customers’ experience.

The recent discussion I participated in at the Westminster eForum, is just one of many calls to action happening throughout our industry – all focused on addressing and improving diversity within the workforce. Cogeco Peer 1 is fully onboard and committed to providing an inclusive workplace that attracts the best talent, that serves as a role model for our peers and ultimately results in us delivering the best solutions and services to our customers.

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