Credit Suisse’s Patsy Doerr on What Workforce Diversity Means for the Upcoming Generations

The 2018 Deloitte Millennial Survey suggests that the millennial generation, which is expected to make up 75 per cent of the workforce by 2025, correlates diversity with a forward-thinking mindset rather than the mechanical filling of quotas. They feel engaged, empowered and authentic in organisations that integrate inclusion into their overall business objectives and throughout their organisational culture.

Patsy Doerr is a leading expert and thought leader in the field of corporate social responsibility, diversity and inclusion and sustainability, and currently serves as global head of diversity & inclusion at Credit Suisse. Prior to her tenure at Credit Suisse, Patsy led Thomson Reuters as their first global diversity & inclusion head, and was subsequently promoted to build their corporate social responsibility & sustainability functions. The strength of Patsy’s experience and impact has made her a regular on the speaking and media circuits. Additionally, Patsy serves on several boards and finance committees that aid in the advancement of women in developing markets as well as diversity and education. 

Patsy shares her insights with Lynk on why diversity and inclusion is a business imperative and how millennials are pushing for workplace inclusion.

L: Lynk | P: Patsy Doerr

L: How would you describe your current thinking about D&I and how has your thinking changed over time?

P: I think D&I has evolved quite a bit over the years, initially starting as a risk and compliance issue, then to a business case issue as a competitive advantage, and eventually to a competitive imperative to operate as a business in both the public and private sectors to attract and retain talent, customers and investors.

Patsy Doerr, Global Head of Diversity & Inclusion, Credit Suisse (Photo Courtesy of Patsy Doerr)

L: What is a memorable D&I initiative which you introduced that you believe was impactful and are proud of?

P: Having launched Credit Suisse’s Black Talent Strategy in the US to help advance the bank’s hiring, promotion and retention of black professionals. Created the Thomson Reuters Diversity & Inclusion Index that led to a collaboration with BlackRock to launch an exchange-traded fund (ETF), that was subsequently followed by others.

L: What are a few often-overlooked D&I metrics that organisations need to start adopting?

Increased focus on creating a sense of belonging, and a culture to support it, as well as balancing diversity (representation) and inclusion (culture). Additionally, measuring engagement and retention also serve as the metrics to support the above. The link to community engagement is often under-played and not measured. As such, companies should measure volunteer hours of their employees.

L: At Lynk, we celebrate diversity of thought because we believe in the importance of bringing diverse viewpoints to every discussion. What would be your interpretation of diversity of thought?

I firmly believe that diversity, at its core, is about diversity of thought, style, experience and approach, more than anything else. It’s all about bringing different perspectives to the table to provide the best solutions and solve problems most effectively. To make all feel empowered and engaged in a workplace.

L: Can you tell us a bit more about how Thomson Reuters and Credit Suisse have developed a strong culture of D&I?

P: Through a sustained commitment to the topic, including strong support and engagement at the top. Education for all employees on the importance of the topic and how they can contribute to the effort through role modeling and storytelling. Accountability for inclusive leadership behaviours. Engaging all levels of employees with a particular focus on our employee networks, sponsorship for diverse employees, and clear KPIs and metrics to measure success.

L: Why is D&I a business imperative?

P: More and more of the upcoming generations will only work for companies that take D&I seriously and live by that word. In fact, many millennials make their decision on where they work based on this factor. Clients and consumers want to work with and purchase products from companies that take the topic seriously. Investors care more and more as well, with impact investing increasing every year.

This interview is a part of Lynk’s diversity and inclusion focus for Pride Month. Read more about our other Pride initiatives here.

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