Bridging the Gap, an equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) live panel discussion, took place on 28 May.

It was delivered live by the Irish Farmers Journal, in partnership with Ornua, to a virtual audience from the Killashee House Hotel, Naas, Co Kildare.

Here are five key takeaway quotes from the event.

1. EDI gives the competitive advantage

Bank of Ireland group CEO Francesca McDonagh was very clear in making the point that having an equal, inclusive and diverse workforce can only be a positive for companies.

“It is about accessing more talent and more diverse voices at the table, so there is better decision making.

“It is representative of the customer base, having decision makers that are reflective of our customer base and what is important to them is really critical.

“At the end of the day, this isn’t a HR policy or a ‘nice to have’. It is a commercial element that gives companies a competitive advantage if they get it right,” she said.

2. Seven John Jordans

Ornua CEO John Jordan also spoke about the importance of having diversity in a business.

“There would be nothing more boring than having seven John Jordans sitting at that table,” he said.

3. Targets v quotas

When asked by panel moderator editor of Irish Country Living Amii McKeever about EDI targets and quotas, McDonagh said she would favour targets over quotas.

“A target is to be reached, a quota is to be filled,” she said.

4. If you can’t see, you can’t be

CEO of Trivium Vet Louise Grubb said the adage “if you can’t see, you can’t be” is very pertinent when it comes to promoting EDI in business.

Role models, she said, are very important for young people when they are choosing what career they want to go in to.

“I think it’s highlighting the role model. It’s very obvious when you see it, but if you don’t see it, it’s not obvious.”

5. Buy more kettles

Jordan said that companies need to “buy more kettles”, referencing the need for businesses to have employee-led policies.

“There are a lot of simple and practical things we should be doing at business level. It’s not necessarily about big policies and procedures. It’s about buying more kettles.

“That’s how you include people. How do you get anybody to do anything? You get them included and you get them involved.”

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Diversity gives companies a competitive edge – BOI group CEO

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