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Diversity and talent retention

Diversity management is much more than recruiting from a wide talent pool. It's about holding onto the talent you have by creating a positive working environment. As stressed by the Work Foundation, an inclusive work climate is about providing people with a culture where they feel comfortable and respected, regardless of individual differences or talents.

Core to the creation of a culture of respect is the development of a range of flexible working options that assist employees to manage out of work responsibilities.

Ways in which bias could be embedded within your organisation's staff retention policies and practices:

  1. Not challenging offensive attitudes and behaviours: When organisational leaders, line managers and colleagues allow discriminatory comments and behaviours to go unchallenged it sets a standard that will often be in conflict with employee values.
  2. Creating a long-hours culture: A macho working environment that promotes a long-hours culture can be a real turn off for employees who have out of work responsibilities. This type of working environment can lead to a sense of exclusion groups with out of work responsibilities.
  3. Restricting flexible working options: Some organisations may restrict flexible working options to those with obvious needs, such as women with childcare responsibilities or disabled employees. By doing this the organisations are making stereotypical assumptions on which groups of people may or may not need to work flexible hours.
  4. Stereotyping and categorisation: Organisational managers often pigeon-hole people within their staff teams into job roles based on bias perceptions of their skills.
  5. Lack of career development and planning: As well as placing groups into work silos, organisational stereotyping and categorisation can also restrict career planning and development opportunities for certain groups. This often happens unintentionally by line managers who fail to discuss career development plans with their employees.

5 simple tips on managing organisational retention:

  1. Embed flexible working options across your organisation: Work towards embedding flexible working options as part of your organisation's accepted ways of working.
  2. Create a culture that values difference: Still too often flexible working options are associated with 'minority' group issues. To stay competitive, global organisations need to consider offering flexible working options to all employees.
  3. Develop the 'psychological contract': The psychological contract is not a written contract but an implicit set of assumptions regarding the relationship between employees and employers. Research undertaken by Mayo has outlined some of the key elements that make up the 'psychological contract'. These are:
  • That employees will be treated fairly and honestly
  • That employees can expect to have some degree of security and certainty about their jobs
  • That employees can expect employers to recognise and value their contributions

4. Engage your staff teams: It is vital that all employees feel valued and are respected team members. Developing structures such as employee network groups helps to promote organisational voice or engagement levels for those groups who have traditionally been excluded from decision-making.

5. Demonstrate leadership and management commitment: Research by the Corporate Leadership Council suggests that out of 10 key 'Intent to Stay' indicators, managers' demonstrating a strong commitment to diversity was ranked in 4th place. 

Flexible working, not for all?: a short scenario 

Sponsored by The Law Society.

This video was co-produced by Steps, world leaders in drama
based training.  For more information on their fantastic work around
diversity and inclusion: www.stepsdrama.com

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