The Importance of Inclusive Bid Teams


inclusion (noun) · inclusions (plural noun) 

  1. the action or state of including or of being included within a group or structure: 

“federal legislation now mandates the inclusion of students who are English language learners” 


diversity (noun) · diversities (plural noun) 

  1. the state of being diverse; variety. 

“there was considerable diversity in the style of the reports” 

  1. the practice or quality of including or involving people from a range of different social and ethnic backgrounds and of different genders, sexual orientations, etc.. 

“equality and diversity should be supported for their own sake” · ”cultural diversity within his businesses helped generate his success” 

Oxford Languages 


After over 10 years in bidding, it is sadly still the case that I am often one of few females, or the only female, in a room of male colleagues. In addition, I am often only one of a few people, or the only person, of mixed heritage.  

It is also a missed opportunity when it has been long argued and proven that diverse teams have better success rates, as Mckinsey and Affirmity have presented in their reports.  

Mckinsey’s 2019 analysis finds that “companies in the top quartile for gender diversity on executive teams were 25 percent more likely to have above-average profitability than companies in the fourth quartile—up from 21 percent in 2017 and 15 percent in 2014”.  

And… “Companies with more than 30 percent women executives were more likely to outperform companies where this percentage ranged from 10 to 30, and in turn these companies were more likely to outperform those with even fewer women executives, or none at all. A substantial differential likelihood of outperformance—48 percent—separates the most from the least gender-diverse companies”. 

Workplace Diversity Facts, Attitudes, and Statistics  

  • Approximately 70% of diverse companies are better positioned to capture new markets. 
  • Companies with racial and ethnic diversity are 35% more likely to perform at a higher level and have increased Return on Investment (ROI). 
  • Companies employing an equal number of men and women manage to produce up to 41% higher revenue. 
  • 78% of people think that diversity and inclusion offer a competitive advantage. 
  • 69% of executives believe that diversity and inclusion are the most critical issues. 
  • Diverse management boosts revenue by 19%. 
  • Over 90% of Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) are currently white men.
  • Men are 30% more likely to be promoted to a managerial role. 
  • 34% of people believe that male executives are better at risk assessment. 

Source: Diversity in the workplace, 

Affirmity’s Emerging Awareness and Best Practices Report highlights that “… among larger organizations there appears to be much stronger and more enthusiastic support for D&I initiatives as a way to have the demographics of the workforce be more reflective of demographics of the market”. 

But aren’t all companies, big and small responsible to push for balance?  

In their article ‘7 ways to be more inclusive in your everyday life’, FairForce states “If Diversity is a fact, Inclusion is an action”. So why do people still struggle to see when diversity in bid teams is lacking?  

Here are my top tips to take action and ensure your bid team is inclusive:  

  1. Take a chance on that inexperienced member of the team, for what their diversity of thought, questioning spirit, and enthusiasm will bring. This provides the opportunity to question what we believe our understanding, awareness and knowledge to truly be, and to encourage further learning and self-development.

  2. Promote a difference of opinion. Do we really want cookie cutter versions of ourselves? Your immediate answer might be yes, but it won’t serve you or the team in the long run. Don’t mistake someone’s silence as inexperience, or someone as argumentative or difficult, if they don’t agree with you or raise issues. Silence may mean that someone is finding their way in the group or indeed their own voice. And, when someone raises concerns, it’s unlikely they’re alone, but they might be the only one speaking up. This shows passion, and they likely want to succeed as much as you (and ensuring risks or issues are raised means we can resolve or mitigate them early on, rather than when it’s too late).
  3. Allow people to show their personality. We are not all alike, nor should we be. Give people the space and environment that garners trust from teammates, so they can bring their whole selves to work.
  4. Affirm skill sets and contributions that people don’t recognize in themselves. A colleague of mine is really good at thanking me when I do a good job and stating why. It is encouraging, and allows people to recognize certain skills in themselves for the first time.
  5. Show up for teammates. Advocate for that person that doesn’t always feel comfortable speaking out or isn’t heard, and don’t take credit for someone else’s work. Be kind!  If you’re the one not being heard, find yourself an advocate or advocates to ensure your ideas are acknowledged and not dismissed.
  6. Don’t pigeon hole people, but ensure the team know where skills lie and provide an opportunity for learning and development. If someone is interested in learning a new skill, create the space for them to do so. It doesn’t have to be straight away, but be sure to follow up when it’s less busy or when the bid is submitted.
  7. Provide valid feedback to teammates. In chapter 7 of ‘Inclusion on purpose’, Ruchika Tulshyan talks about the dangers of “vague” feedback and feedback that stems from clouded or biased judgment. Be specific with your feedback, and offer constructive suggestions for improvement, (potentially) with real life examples. Your goal should be to help people advance in the team and your/their place of work, not to set them back.  

In essence, foster a culture of inclusivity and reject exclusivity. Embrace diversity in all its forms or lose the benefits that diversity of thought, spirit, and a difference of background and education brings to the team.  

In applying the above, we create truly dynamic teams, which will be reflected in the bid response. An inclusive team will naturally be high performing, which will be more impressive at customer engagements than those that simply tick boxes. An inclusive and collaborative working environment, which is not afraid to show personality attracts buyers… in addition to having a solution, par excellence (at a competitive price), of course.   

N.B. The author recognizes that diversity can be viewed differently across the globe. The above is written with a reflection of a UK and US working environment.  


Written by Ana-Rose Hogg 

Bid & Proposal Specialist 

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