Source – Mediatel News, 3rd February 2021

The former VP of EMEA and multi-market sales at Spotify, Marco Bertozzi, takes some time following his resignation to reflect on how businesses can take practical steps to improve the makeup of their workforce

Like many, over recent months I’ve been thinking about how we go about improving diversity in the work force. During my last few months at Spotify I underwent 20 to 30 hours of training and education, and asked the business to think hard about how we could approach change practically.

Now, on reflection, I’ve simplified that thinking into just two required elements for progression in diversity within a business: a will to change, and commercial support from the top.

In countries like the UK and US, I would argue that the only thing stopping your team from achieving true diversity is your leader. If your team isn’t diverse, it’s because there is no real will to change. If there is a strong will, decisions will be made around hiring, inclusivity in the business and how the team operates.

Often people look at the boards of companies to assess how well they are dealing with this topic, but I suggest delving down through a few layers of the company. If the picture remains the same, that’s a sure sign of a serious issue.

So in countries where the popular workforce is diverse, a will to change from leadership is all that matters when it comes to making progress in reflecting that diversity within businesses.

There is, however, one exception to that rule. When it comes to entry level talent programmes, there needs to be some significant investment.

In every business there should be an allocation and a programme for work placements. Still, so few companies do this well. With a little time and a little investment, this can change.

After years of Speakers for Schools work and more recently getting to know The Youth Group, a business working to improve the odds for young people, it is clear that creating work placements and apprenticeships is key to improving diversity within teams and giving young, diverse talent a chance to succeed.

However, I have been running European businesses for over ten years, and in many countries the advertising industry has been almost entirely white in its ethnic makeup. Even with the best will, a leader in advertising in Spain or Italy is going to really struggle to find diverse candidates.

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