Go behind the deal as Learning Technologies Group’s Chief Strategy Officer, Piers Lea, and Affirmity’s co-Managing Directors, Bruce Kile and Jeffery D. Lewis, explain why LTG acquired PDT Global, and the importance of a global Diversity and Inclusion offering.
On 5 February 2021, LTG acquired PDT (‘The People Development Team’) Global (PDT), a UK-based Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) training and consultancy firm with deep specialisms in the live virtual and digital delivery space. PDT has become part of Affirmity, LTG’s workforce compliance and diversity business, which specialises in analysing, benchmarking and tracking workforce diversity metrics.
In the fast-developing journey of LTG, we see PDT as a business that already packs a punch far above its current weight – with a global reach and a scalable product.
Combined with Affirmity’s software platform and team of more than 60 consultants who analyse and monitor diversity programmes, the combination will offer measurable end-to-end D&I transformation. The ambition is to avoid blanket roll-out D&I programmes, instead offering a targeted service where gaps are identified (country by country, office by office, grade by grade, department by department) and then closed with learning, a variety of strategic interventions and progress measurement.
Why is this important? More than just compliance
Diversity and Inclusion has become increasingly important to companies for a number of years. In McKinsey’s 2020 Diversity Wins report, the graph below shows that ethnic diversity in the executive team results in a 36% increase in the likelihood of financial outperformance versus the national industry median. Gender diversity shows a 25% increase in the same.
In fact, Diversity and Inclusion has become so key to recruiting and retaining good employees, a number of organisations have publicly committed to creating more inclusive workplaces and communities. Many of the biggest names in corporate America can be found on pledge lists such as CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion. Similarly, companies such as Amazon, Salesforce and Accenture are stating their commitment on their own corporate websites.
This focus on corporate D&I initiatives has been significantly heightened after the killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor in 2020, which caused major civil unrest in the United States, which then reverberated globally. Protests around the world created the widespread awareness of inequality and the need to do something about it. Most organisations that were previously not thinking hard about Diversity and Inclusion are now sharply focused on its importance.
The McKinsey & Company report, It’s time for a new approach to racial equity, shows that since the George Floyd protests, many companies have committed to reducing racial disparities.
Boards of Directors are putting pressure on senior executives to deliver on those targets and show evidence that they are moving the dial. But, do organisations know what proper targets and goals are? Are they able to analyse diversity across the organisation, establish targets, identify gaps and insights into causes, develop and put meaningful programmes in place to improve it, and then track progress over time?
These gaps can be identified and filled by the combined capabilities of Affirmity and PDT. By combining Affirmity’s expertise in analysing diversity representation with benchmarks across the organisation with the consulting and learning capabilities of PDT, we have the capabilities to provide a holistic, end-to-end solution that can help customers worldwide accelerate their Diversity and Inclusion programmes.
Why is this important in the context of LTG?
LTG businesses work as strategic partners to our customers, helping them close the gap between current and future workforce capability. We see the D&I agenda as increasingly important both societally and to business performance. In short, we see Diversity and Inclusion as a key component to the whole Learning and Talent agenda.
Through deep relationships and engagement at a strategic level, we can now address D&I needs through the right blend of consulting, measurement, talent technology and learning.
The acquisition of PDT is highly complementary and an excellent fit within our Affirmity business, allowing us to expand the capabilities and reach of Affirmity’s D&I solution offerings globally.
Through the combined proposition in diversity consulting, measurement and learning, customers from both companies will be able to achieve real progress in diversity initiatives by developing a plan under our guidance that is tangible, actionable and measurable.
In addition, the acquisition provides the PDT business access to other LTG business units and technology, which can enhance the PDT offerings.
What does PDT Global do?
PDT is a leading UK-based Diversity and Inclusion training and consultancy firm with deep specialisms in the live virtual and digital delivery space. Founded 23 years ago with the simple idea to create great training programmes that added value to customer organisations and their delegates, PDT has since moved into the inclusion space and grown to become a global leader providing consulting and virtual and digital learning experiences for blue-chip businesses like Amazon, Boeing, Abbott and Walmart.
Its knowledge of the specific issues faced regionally is deep and local. PDT is known for creating learning pathways packed with live workshops, digital learning and software-based embedding tools that cover all areas of Diversity and Inclusion. Topics include Strategic Inclusion, Inclusion for Managers, Allyship, Respect and Integrity, Sounds of Disability, Race Awareness, Escape Rooms, LGBTQI+ and specialist micro learnings.
What does PDT bring to Affirmity and LTG customers?
PDT brings deep expertise in diversity consulting and blended D&I learning solutions. It has a strong and experienced management team and has credibility at the C-level within its blue-chip client base globally, allowing PDT to help customers advance Diversity and Inclusion at a strategic level. Its deep relationships with customers foster high satisfaction levels and repeated contract renewals. PDT is truly global, with consultants, services and customers around the world. This acquisition will allow Affirmity to enhance its current D&I solutions and expand global reach.
How it builds from current capability in Affirmity
Affirmity has a 45-year history of providing customers the ability to easily analyse diversity across the organisation by division, location, job codes and more, and can compare this data against recognised availability benchmarks such as census data. In surveys, customers indicate measurement and benchmarking is their largest weakness in their D&I programmes. However, once proper measurement against benchmarks is done, the next question is what do you do to improve the gap areas. PDT provides learning pathways for customers to address their D&I issues through various forms of consulting, training and learning that have proven successful. These are not only tailored to customer needs from an extensive library of offerings, but also the programme is designed for various levels, such as executive, managers and line workers.
The joint offering between Affirmity and PDT provides not only strong measurement against benchmarks for a company’s Diversity programme, but also a realistic actionable plan to improve the gaps identified. The end-to-end solution can empower customers to achieve success in their Diversity and Inclusion programmes.
How we can now create a Group offer that fits a customer’s wider learning and talent journey
Not only does the combined offering between Affirmity and PDT provide a holistic end-to-end programme to achieve success in diversity, extended offerings by LTG can help companies improve the gaps.
First, the baseline for a company is legal compliance with the local laws of a country. Next, the measurement and survey to identify where the issues are is critical. Then, providing a checklist and plan of how to improve diversity for a company is critical. Affirmity and PDT, along with LTG offerings, offer a variety of solutions to improve deficiencies found on the checklist.
For example, improving diversity recruiting can be found in a variety of recruiting software and service offerings provided by LTG. Furthermore, talent management and succession are important LTG offerings through the PeopleFluent brand. Of particular interest to the inclusion agenda is the role of talent mobility.
We believe PDT Global will be an excellent fit with our existing Affirmity business, together offering enhanced value through their combined offerings in diversity consulting, measurement and learning.
In addition, we believe the other LTG business units and technology can enhance the capabilities and reach of the existing PDT business.
The timing has never been better as the market increases its focus and spending on diversity initiatives. Jointly, our LTG-wide customer base can yield great potential for new sales opportunities into existing and new customers on both sides of the Atlantic.