How to make diversity and inclusion top of your agenda.
Diversity and inclusion isn’t just an issue for large-scale corporate organisations or for those who can afford to employ a Diversity Manager. It is a mindset and underpins the culture of your organisation, no matter the size.
Indeed, LinkedIn’s Global Recruiting Trends 2018 report highlighted diversity as “the biggest game-changer and most embraced trend” for the year with 78% of those surveyed identifying it as “very/extremely important” to shaping their organisation. And with widespread gains to be made from a diverse and inclusive workforce, surely this should be the case for every organisation.
Nonetheless, despite the benefits, the evolution of workplaces to be more diverse remains slow. In a previous blog, I highlighted the sliding scale of female leaders in the FTSE 350, which now stands at just 12, while The Telegraph has highlighted that ethnic minorities face a racial pay gap of up to 37% and, in the media, one in three organisations would be unlikely to recruit transgender people.
So what can be done? It’s time to start looking at your organisation and here are five tips to get you on your way:
One: Make a business case
I’ll start you off here: Diverse workplaces have higher levels of productivity, innovation and creativity.
McKinsey & Co’s Why Diversity Matters report identified companies with greater gender diversity are 15% more likely to have financial returns above their competitors, and this figure is raised to 35% for those with greater racial and ethnic diversity. Put simply, you’re expanding your talent pool and in turn increasing your competitive advantage.
Two: Get stakeholder buy-in
Your strategy will not be a success without the backing of the board and senior management.
Highlighting the opportunities for growth and increased performance offered by diversity and inclusion for your organisation is key here – it’s a no brainer, right? – but also diverse workplaces have higher levels of employee retention, meaning not only are you creating an expansive pool of talent, but you’re cultivating and keeping that talent. And no one wants to incur the relentless recruitment costs of high employee turnover nor lose this talent to competitors.
Further, the buy-in of external stakeholders will benefit brand integrity and reputation. Your customers are your advocates so make them aware of and involve them in your D&I strategy, which leads me on to my third point…
Three: Monitor, monitor, monitor
Look around you. Does your organisation reflect the world outside and most importantly the world in which your customers live?
Organisations that mirror the customers they serve have a greater understanding of their wants and needs and therefore are more efficient and effective in developing successful products and services.
Four: Build a strategy
Implementing a diversity and inclusion strategy can seem overwhelming – after all, we’re talking about creating a workplace that is inclusive for all – so keep things simple and start small.
Your recruitment process is a good starting block; from the writing of job descriptions and the screening questions to the interview process and offer of employment, what attributes and qualities are you valuing in candidates? Are you recruiting like for like or are you looking for individuals who complement the team by filling gaps in approach and skill sets?
Five: Monitor some more – and then review and improve
Your D&I strategy needs constant monitoring, review and input from your people at every level of the organisation in order to be a success. This is not a box-ticking exercise for the HR department nor another sheet of A4 to add to the policy and procedures folder, which is most likely gathering dust on a shelf somewhere. This is proactive, it is to be lived and breathed.
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