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Learning from Nigeria: The Transformative Power of DEI in Organisations

In goodmorning bsn! by Business School Netherlands

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) have become more than just buzzwords, embodying essential pillars for organisational success and societal advancement. Nigeria, with its rich tapestry of cultures and demographics, offers invaluable lessons on embracing DEI’s transformative potential. The recent Goodmorning BSN! webinar, featuring Dr. Okey Okere, Managing Partner at The Culture Factor Africa, showcased his insightful analysis of Nigeria’s DEI 2024 Report, offering a compelling case study on the global benefits of DEI for organisations.

The Essence of DEI in the Nigerian Context

DEI encompasses diversity (the variety of traits among employees), equity (ensuring fair access and opportunities for all), and inclusion (creating a welcoming atmosphere for everyone). The DEI 2024 Report on Nigerian companies reveals a critical need for enhanced DEI practices, with an overall score of just 44.26 out of 100. This finding points to significant gaps in gender, age, and ethnic diversity within companies, despite slightly better performance in educational diversity.

A Global Perspective on DEI Challenges

The global struggle for DEI is mirrored in the underrepresentation of women in management positions and the scant presence of CEOs of African descent in Fortune 500 companies. Nigeria’s particular challenges, including lagging gender diversity in leadership and a generational diversity gap, underscore the urgent need for action. These challenges, if unaddressed, risk curtailing innovation and stifling growth.

What Can Organisations Learn from Nigeria?

Okey’s analysis underscores the substantial benefits of DEI, highlighting how diverse teams are 70% more likely to capture new markets and companies with diverse workforces enjoy a 35% higher financial return. These statistics powerfully advocate for Nigerian companies—and indeed, organisations globally—to integrate DEI into their core business strategies.

Strategies for DEI Success

To close the DEI gap, organisations must adopt a comprehensive approach starting from recruitment to foster a diverse talent pipeline. Cultivating an inclusive culture that celebrates diversity can drive innovation, improve retention, and enhance financial performance. Leadership’s role is pivotal in this transformation; by setting clear DEI goals, engaging in transparent dialogue, and holding themselves accountable, leaders can galvanise a culture that genuinely values diversity.

Nigeria’s DEI Success Stories

Exploring Nigerian companies that have made notable progress in DEI offers actionable insights for others to follow. A prime example is Africa Prudential Plc, which emerged as the top DEI company in the 2024 study, with a DEI score of around 76 points out of 100. This notable achievement reflects the company’s commitment to fostering an inclusive workplace. Case studies like Africa Prudential’s reveal effective strategies such as revising recruitment practices to ensure a wider diversity of candidates and implementing comprehensive training programmes designed to combat unconscious bias and promote inclusivity. These measures not only enhance the company’s DEI metrics but also contribute to creating a culture where every employee feels valued and empowered.

The Case for Embracing DEI

As Nigeria aims to leverage its demographic dividend and enhance its global stature, prioritising DEI could be a game-changer. Embracing DEI not only taps into the nation’s full talent spectrum but also fosters a more equitable society and drives economic growth.

A Lesson in Inclusion from Nigeria

Nigeria’s journey towards a more inclusive corporate landscape offers vital lessons for organisations worldwide. The insights from Okey and the DEI 2024 report chart a clear course for embedding DEI into the fabric of organisational life. By championing DEI, companies can unlock growth, catalyse social change, and contribute to a more equitable global community. The insights gleaned from Nigeria’s approach remind us that the time for meaningful DEI action is now, and the benefits extend far beyond the borders of any single nation.

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Business School Netherlands


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