The price you pay for a lack of diversity

posted on November 23, 2020

November 5, 2020

By Adam Malik, Canadian Underwriter

If your brokerage lacks diversity, you may not only be missing out on growth opportunities, but you also are setting yourself up for bad hires, bad decision-making, and reputational harm, a keynote speaker recently told Ontario brokers.

Organizations lacking diversity have a limited capacity to identify potential instances of reputational harm, because the team does not have the perspective to see issues that could result in serious consequences, according to Anthony McLean, who speaks on diversity, inclusion and mental health. McLean made his remarks at the virtual IBAO Convention last month.

McLean gave the example of clothing retailer H&M. The company marketed a shirt that used the slogan, “Cutest Monkey in the Jungle” with a Black child as the model in 2018. The company’s apparent lack of awareness around the use of the term “monkey” and its connection to Black racism was slammed. Celebrity endorsers, including Canadian artist The Weeknd, distanced themselves from the company, which eventually apologized for not recognizing the racial connotation.

Mistakes like that happen when there’s a lack of diversity on your team, McLean explained. If a Black person had been on the team or had been given the opportunity to review the ad, it’s likely a red flag would have gone off.

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