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Driving organization’s sustainability through diversity & inclusion

An Interview with Zahid Mubarik SHRM-SCP, GPHR, SPHRi


Question: how diversity & inclusion is important for sustainability of organization?

On 25 September 2015, 193 countries of the United Nations adopted the “2030 Agenda containing 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with 169 targets. It expands the integration of environmental, social, and economic policies and raises the bar on the role that all types and sizes of organizations in various sectors should play in supporting the global sustainable development agenda. It mentions and supports workplace D&I and describes People, Planet, Prosperity, Peace, and Partnership as its focus.

Organizations today are dedicated to serving all stakeholders, including customers, employees, suppliers, regulators, shareholders and society at large. Future-focused organizations want to ensure long-term sustainability of the world and the people in the world. To optimize organizational results, creativity, problem solving, talent management and engagement, operations and innovation, organizational leaders need to adopt inclusive approaches, management strategies and styles that incorporate different perspectives, cognitive, cultural and linguistic differences, and collaboration. Research shows a correlation between inclusion and organization sustainability. Corporate sustainability is therefore the hottest agenda and the main question is whether a company it wants to be market leader or a late adopter.

Question: Can you quote any evidence regarding D&I impact on organization bottom line?

According to McKinsey & Company 2015 research report, the relationship between diversity and business performance persists. Companies in the top- quartile for gender diversity on executive teams were 21% more likely to outperform on profitability and 27% more likely to have superior value creation. Companies in the top-quartile for ethnic/cultural diversity on executive teams were 33% more likely to have industry-leading profitability.

Question: Whether business leaders are aware of this important area?

Unfortunately, there is not much awareness in the industry. A global survey indicates that only 13% businesses have the right tools to implement SDGs. Source: PwC, 2015:

Make it your business: Engaging with the Sustainable Development Goals. Global Opportunity Report 2016 indicates that only 23% CEOs, 8% C-level executives, 5% mid-level and 3% other management level professionals are aware of SDGs and are planning response. Source: Global Opportunity Report 2016 by: DNV GL/UNGC/MMGI

Question: Do you recommend any framework for developing D&I strategy in organization?

Global Diversity & Inclusion Benchmarks (GDIB) is a Standard for organizations around the world to support organizations globally in the development and implementation of Diversity and Inclusion best practices. GDIB was developed by 95 global expert panellists, co-authored by Julie O’Mara (Former National President American Society for Training & Development) and Alan Richter, Ph.D. The Centre for Global Inclusion USA is home of the Global Diversity & Inclusion Benchmarks. Its mission is to serve as a resource for research and education for individuals and organizations in their quest to improve diversity and inclusion practices. Details at

www.centreforglobalinclusion.org. GDIB reinforces 6 SDGs (SDG 4,5, 8,9,10,16)


What is role of diversity hub Pakistan

Diversity Hub Pakistan is a Centre of expertise within HR Metrics Consulting, with a mission to help organizations become sustainable through inclusive cultural and behavioural change. We review emerging global best practices, carry out local research to understand industry need, produce data driven research reports and design bespoke solutions to facilitate desired outcomes. We also maintains competency inventory of its members to promote mutual learning and networking. Details at http://thehrmetrics.com/diversity/#diversityhub.


Question: How do you encourage organizations to use GDIB standard?

Every year we conduct learning series on GDIB. Interested organizations are also given opportunity to implement and evaluate their practices on GDIB maturity curve. High performing organizations are assessed by a Jury on following criteria:

  • Level 1: INACTIVE

No D&I work has begun; diversity and a culture of inclusion are not part of the organizational goals.

  • Level 2: REACTIVE

A compliance mindset; actions are only taken in compliance with relevant laws and social pressures.

  • Level 3: PROACTIVE

A clear awareness of the value of D&I; starting to implement D&I systemically.

  • Level 4: PROGRESSIVE

Implementing D&I systemically; showing improved results and outcomes.

  • Level 5: BEST PRACTICE

Demonstrating current best practices in D&I; exemplary for other organizations globally.

Following are award winner organizations 2019. Awards will be presented during a ceremony at Marriott Karachi on 6 Mar 2019.


Question: What is your future plan?

To carry our D&I initiatives with broader society engagement with a focus on sustainability, Diversity Hub is forming “Sustainable Inclusion Advocacy Council” with following objectives:

  1. Provide a nationwide platform to discuss D&I challenges/opportunities and synchronize inter-intra industry initiatives to develop sustainable organizations.
  2. Educate awareness for using Global Diversity & Inclusion Benchmarks (GDIB) Standards for gap analysis and benchmarking in 14 business processes.
  3. Facilitate organizations in progressive transformation from treating diversity defensively as a matter of legal/ethical compliance to positioning it as a strategic asset to compete in the market.
  4. Help in developing a business case for D&I by establishing its linkage with organization’s sustainability through social and financial impact indictors.
  5. Discuss and support organizations in developing D&I strategy, action plan and evaluation framework to leverage organization’s performance.
  6. Influence national HR policy by carrying out advocacy dialogue with policy makers for “Equal Employment Opportunities” reforms.

SIAC will comprise of organizations’ leaders, who are using/aspiring to use Global Diversity & Inclusion Benchmarks Standard to achieve SDGs in terms of People, Planet, Prosperity, Peace, and Partnership. Participation in Council activities is voluntary. SIAC members are expected to be D&I catalyst, proactive with ideas, engaging others, participating and speaking in events. Here are few initiative planned for year 2019.

  1. Annual D&I Research Survey and Analysis Report
  2. Business Leaders Breakfast Sessions on D&I Challenges/Opportunity and Advocacy Agenda
  3. “Share your Organizational D&I Resolution” publication.
  4. Organization D&I capability sharing program and networking dinner.
  5. Organization D&I impact story in magazine, newsletter, video
  6. D&I discussion on TV channels.
  7. On premises coaching on Global Diversity & Inclusion Benchmarks Standard
  8. Participation in learning webinars on Global Diversity & Inclusion Benchmarks Standard
  9. Women for board coaching program
  10. Annual D&I conference
  11. Annual D&I awards
  12. More details at www.thehrmetrics.com

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