RESEARCH REPORT

In brief

In brief

  • As the pandemic exacerbates existing inequalities it’s critical to build a workplace culture where people from diverse backgrounds can succeed.
  • Accenture explored the impact of workplace culture on employees–specifically their ability to thrive, advance & innovate–and business performance.
  • In more inclusive organisations, the average innovation mindset score of employees is more than seven times higher than in less inclusive companies.
  • Business leaders must commit to boost inclusivity of decision-making teams, work design and workplaces, and that of their long-term talent strategy.


No-one has been left untouched by COVID-19. But the impact has not been equally felt. Women, people with disabilities, those from ethnic minorities and those from socially disadvantaged backgrounds—all groups that were already under-represented in the UK workplace—have been hit hardest.

Emerging evidence indicates that mothers are more likely to drop out of the labour force, young people are more likely to be furloughed, and people with disabilities more likely to be made redundant.

Now, as Covid-19 continues to spread and play havoc with every aspect of our everyday lives and every dimension of the UK economy, we risk those pre-existing faults becoming deeper, and creating an employment crisis that will affect millions of people.

Workplace culture enhances innovation and growth

Over the past three years Accenture has studied the impact of workplace culture on employees and shown the power of culture in addressing inequality. In more inclusive cultures ALL employees are more likely to thrive and advance. The ability and willingness of an employee to innovate, what we call their ‘innovation mindset’, is closely linked to how inclusive their workplace culture is. In fact, a ten percent improvement in workplace culture is associated with a ten percent increase in innovation mindset.

According to our analysis, if all UK companies were able to improve the inclusiveness of their workplace by just ten percent then the resulting uplift in innovation mindset among their employees could increase UK GDP by up to 1.5% each year.

Businesses need to have a relentless focus on inclusion moving forward. From every aspect of how they run organisations from restructuring, training, to our workplaces and recruiting.

If all UK companies were able to improve the inclusiveness of their workplace by just ten percent then the resulting uplift in innovation mindset among their employees could increase UK GDP by up to 1.5% each year.

Here are four ways we’ll get there:

Inclusive decision making

Bringing in voices and opinions that can help to pre-empt actions that would inadvertently hurt underrepresented employees.

Inclusive work design

That focuses on skills, aptitude and the potential for individuals to retrain, and that rejects out-dated assumptions of what it takes to do the job.

Inclusive workplaces

A tailored approach to culture, with interventions targeted to employees who are more vulnerable to the impact of the pandemic on their lives.

Inclusive restructuring and talent strategies

Business must reassess their long-term talent strategies considering the impact of restructuring on diversity and tap in to hidden talent pools.

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There has never been a more critical time to focus on building a workplace culture that allows people from diverse backgrounds to succeed. It’s a win for everyone. For individuals, who will feel more included and satisfied in their jobs. For business, that will see a boost in their innovation capacity. And for the UK economy, that stands to gain a much-needed uplift in GDP.

Olly Benzecry

Market Unit Lead – UKI*


Barbara Harvey

Managing Director — Accenture Research

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