Written by Leigh-Ann Hayward – CCO, Milpark Education and Head: Corporate Education

You may feel, at this challenging time, that you do not need more on your plate. But it is exactly at these times, when economies are troubled and the future uncertain, that diversity of ideas and an engaged workforce are most crucial. Business success relies on a diversity of people feeling sufficiently empowered to put ideas forward. According to McKinsey, inclusion and diversity are critical for business recovery, resilience and reimagination in the current climate. 1

Achieving diversity is not an overnight process; but rather a commitment to a more varied approach to work in many of its aspects. Diversity goes hand in hand with inclusion, though the extended framework of DEIBA is now in common use: diversity, equity, inclusion, belonging and accessibility. Deft integration of these aspects can benefit your L&D, your organisation and your workforce.


DIVERSITY: Measurable representation of individuals in the organisation based on, but not limited to, race, ethnicity, gender identity, ability and disability, sexual orientation and social class.

EQUITY: Support of individuals by providing fair and just access to opportunity, as well as redressing systemic and historical oppression of particular groups.

INCLUSION: The creation of a working environment where all individuals are welcomed, respected, valued, supported and given a voice. 

BELONGING: Being fully engaged and heard without having to sacrifice meaningful aspects of individual identity by, for instance, code switching – e.g. the swapping between dialects when moving from home to work settings.

ACCESSIBILITY: Giving equal access to individuals with visible or invisible, physical or mental disabilities, without fear of bias, even if they perform tasks differently.  


Six ideas on how L&D can support DEIBA

Here are six ideas to help your organisation’s L&D stay on top and contribute towards an inclusive, diverse workplace: 

  1. Integrate L&D into the organisation’s corporate strategy for DEIBA to procure active leadership support 
  2. Expand the L&D portfolio with courses that develop soft skills, such as emotional intelligence, collaboration, adaptability and cognitive flexibility 
  3. Create learning environments that are inclusive and promote equity, where participants learn from each other (cohort-based learning) or by interacting with each other (social constructivism)
  4. Select learning tools that match individual levels of tech access and tech-ability 
  5. Diversify career maps with micro-credentialling, modular degrees and recognition of prior learning 
  6. Collaborate with L&D providers who understand DEIBA and deliver innovative solutions.


Key considerations for DEIBA success in future

There is a clear business case for DEIBA. An international study by McKinsey shows that culturally and ethnically diverse companies outperformed others by as much as 36%, and gender-diverse companies by as much as 48%.2 A recent Sage report describes that SMEs make a deliberate effort to address Gen Z needs, LGBTQIAP+ concerns and the impact of movements like #BlackLivesMatter and #MeToo on the workplace.3 In turn, the employer brand is no longer simply about compliance or aspiration: it must inspire, take a stand on societal and political issues4 and deliver tangible social commitment. 

Business advisory firms, such as Forbes, KPMG and McKinsey, set out their predictions for DEIBA in 2022.5,6,7 For employers, sensitivity to and support for DEIBA will become vital. These need to translate into active, socially committed values that are modelled by leadership and cascaded throughout the organisation. Career management must be conducted in an inclusive way, addressing promotion opportunities, pay equity, mentoring and more, without systemic biases. For employees, social inclusion, accessibility and mobility will become more meaningful, due partly to the effects of COVID-19, such as social distancing and remote working. 

Belonging will take a central role, as Dr Jane Usher of Milpark Business School points out: “We need to keep in mind the contexts that our people live and work in, so that we can support them. Senses of connection and belonging have been severely damaged over the past two and a half years, so a focus on these areas is a must in all organisations.” 


To see if your organisation is on the right track, you can check in with these questions:

  • How does our L&D strategy deliver on DEIBA metrics?
  • Which checks are in place to avoid biases in our L&D policies and their implementation?
  • How does our L&D create pathways for lifelong learning and prosperity?
  • Which L&D measures can assist our workforce in lessening the impact of COVID-19? 


Would you like to partner up?

Milpark’s co-curated L&D solutions are uniquely positioned to deepen your organisation’s DEIBA with tailored educational journeys, spanning graduate programmes, CPD courses, executive education courses, learnerships and workshops.

Visit Milpark Corporate Education for more information or contact us directly at [email protected] to discuss how we can assist with your L&D requirements.


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1 Dolan K, Hunt V, Prince S and Sancier-Sultan S. Diversity still matters. McKinsey Quarterly. (2020) May 19.

2 Dixon-Fyle S, Dolan K, Hunt V and Prince S. Diversity wins: How inclusion matters. McKinsey Report. (2020) May 19.

3 Sage. Payroll and HR in SA: Rising to the challenges of change. Sage Payroll and HR Research Report. (2021)

4 SproutSocial. #BrandsGetReal: Brands creating change in the conscious consumer era. Stand Up/Stand Aside Data Report. (2020)

5 Gasam Asare, J. 4 DEI practices your company should adopt in 2022. Forbes.com. (2021) December 29.

6 Tezcan, M and Newton, M. Inclusion, diversity and equity (IDE) in 2022: What to... Four predictions for the next 12 months. KPMG UK Blog. (2022) March 1.

7 Dolan K, Hunt V, Prince S and Sancier-Sultan S. Diversity still matters. McKinsey Quarterly. (2020) May 19.