Accedian, Bain, Colt, Rostelecom, Telia ignite D&I trial

By John Pinching
Accedian, Bain & Company, Colt, Rostelecom and Telia participate in TM Forum’s Pilot of Inclusion and Diversity Score to Drive Top Talent to Telecoms

TM Forum, the industry association driving digital transformation through collaboration, has successfully completed an alpha trial of a new Inclusion and Diversity Score (IDS) - a single, universal index, believed to be the first in the world to measure both diversity and cultural inclusiveness, providing a benchmark for real change.  

The successful trial of IDS is a significant step towards TM Forum’s vision to make the tech communications industry a world leader in diversity, equality, and inclusion (DE&I), transforming the industry’s attractiveness to cutting-edge talent. To achieve this, IDS is designed to deliver a simple, universal measurement and practical guidance to drive actionable change. Following a successful pilot with 5 companies, IDS will now move to a beta phase with a broader set of organisations, ahead of full launch anticipated in 2022.

“As an industry, we have made very little progress in driving real change when it comes to inclusion and diversity. We all know that we need executive support and data to drive decisions to drive change in our business. Although this is only the beginning of our journey, I truly believe that by having this metric in place, we can now set about actioning real change to ensure we have a healthy environment for the industry to attract and develop the talent that we require to drive the tremendous growth we are seeing and the innovation that we need in an environment for everyone to thrive,” said Keri Gilder, CEO, Colt & Chair of TM Forum Inclusion & Diversity Council.

Improving DE&I is now a boardroom imperative for many companies, with Boards recognising the business benefits of attracting a diverse and inclusive workforce. Recent McKinsey data reveals that diverse organisations achieve 83% more engagement from employees, experience 20% more innovation, perform 35% better on financial return and generate 38% more revenue on average.

Simultaneously, there is a growing skills gap, with studies revealing 77% of CEOs see limited availability of skills as a major threat to company growth.Yet, while most (90%) executives recognise the importance of DE&I, they aren’t taking the steps to achieve real change. The need for change was echoed strongly by global telecoms CEOs during TM Forum’s Digital Transformation World Series digital event, where they noted the importance of collaboration on talent to drive their organisations into the future. 

Nik Willetts, CEO, TM Forum comments: “The telecoms industry must address DE&I to remain competitive, relevant and sustainable over the next decade. That journey starts with commitment from the top, beyond HR where the responsibility for improving diversity and inclusion often sits. Committing to an inclusive and diverse workforce isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do. It’s critical that the telco industry considers DE&I a strategic issue as well as a moral imperative. As an industry, we need to improve our attractiveness to cutting-edge talent, together.”

The driving force behind IDS has been TM Forum’s Diversity and Inclusion Council, established in 2019 to help tech communications companies overcome the challenges of implementing diversity and inclusion initiatives. The founding member companies include thought leaders within the telecoms industry who are joining forces to ensure success in the digital economy, by attracting and retaining top talent, and making the telecom industry the most diverse industry in the world. They include Accedian, Amdocs, Bain & Company, Colt, Ciena, Nokia, Rostelecom and Salesforce.

The Inclusion and Diversity Score (IDS) has been developed by the Council with leadership and expert resources provided by Bain & Company. IDS comprises two main elements:  multi-dimensional diversity of the leadership team of a company, and how inclusive a culture the company has throughout the entire company.

IDS will enable organisations to assess the maturity of their inclusion and diversity across intersectional characteristics, compare their maturity score with others in the industry, and set baselines to monitor growth and evaluate the effectiveness of their current Diversity and Inclusion programs and initiatives. The Council also intends to offer a set of crowd-sourced interventions to help organisations strengthen existing programs and commitments to better serve its employees and society. A select number of organisations have piloted the IDS based on the best practice of companies with the top Diversity and Inclusion scores with results due to be released early 2022. 

“I am excited about this first version of the TM Forum Inclusion & Diversity Score and proud that Bain & Company is supporting the TM Forum in developing a robust, simple metric that sets us up for real, much-needed change in the industry. The score is simple on purpose and provides a pragmatic way to measure progress over time in your own company and benchmark against peers. To drive change, the identified pain points will tie directly to concrete, actionable interventions,” concludes Danielle Stekelenburg, Partner, Bain & Company.

TM Forum is now seeking additional forward-thinking CEOs that are passionate about the importance of Diversity, Equality and Inclusion to the future of the industry to pilot, promote the IDS and participate in the program. 

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