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9th July 2019

The business case for Diversity

A recent study by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) has revealed a direct correlation between increased revenue and diversity within an organisation. The study of more than 1,700 companies around the world shows that diversity increases the capacity for innovation by expanding the range of a company’s ideas and options. Organisations equipped with a range of voices and perspectives throughout the ranks are better able to innovate, take risks, solve problems creatively, bounce back from failures, and turn challenges into opportunities.

However, achieving diversity in the workplace has been a struggle globally—more so in some regions than others—with progress being slowest in the leadership ranks. In order to push for progress on diversity and unlock its potential, it’s important that organisations ensure that they are inclusive. 

To help drive change and ensure inclusive working practices throughout your organisation, it’s important to combat against bias and discriminatory behaviours. Making sure all your staff have had Unconscious Bias training is a useful tool in helping to tackle discrimination. Moreover, using the employee lifecycle as a reference point is a good way to ensure action is taken at each stage.

Employee Lifecycle

Recruitment and Selection

We all know that first impressions count. Interviewers form opinions about candidates within the first few minutes of meeting them, which can cause bias in decision-making. According to research commissioned by The Open University, three in ten (29%) senior managers admit they hire people just like them. To overcome these challenges, it’s important to review your job description and person’s specification, making sure they’re free from bias, or other ways of narrowing the talent pool. Additionally, by implementing blind recruitment, it can help level the playing field by focusing on the candidate’s specific qualifications and experience. Other useful initiatives include using psychometric tests or setting diversity targets for recruitment agencies.

Talent Development

Key to an inclusive working environment is making sure everyone has equal opportunities, such as access to learning and development programmes. However, if your organisation has person-centred approaches as opposed to job-centred performance reviews, it could lead to biased decision-making. Without solid competency-based criteria, the assessor’s subjective feelings become the dominant factor in judging an employee’s abilities, skills and recommendations for career development.

To prevent bias from impacting talent development, you could consider using positive action to address under-representation. By analysing your diversity data, you can see trends and patterns on the take up of learning and development programmes. Furthermore, discussing learning opportunities with all your employees, to develop individualised learning and development KPIs, ensuring strategic fit with organisational goals can help ensure everyone has equal opportunities.

Talent Retention

Diversity and inclusion 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. Additionally, staff engagement is key so that everyone feels valued and respected. Developing structures such as employee network groups help to promote organisational voice or engagement levels for those groups who have traditionally been excluded from decision-making.

Managing Career Progression

Career progression is an important part of creating a diverse and inclusive workplace. Building organisational support structures such as mentorship programmes helps to send a clear message that you seek to develop your diverse talent pool. Moreover, introducing competency-based assessments are a way to check a candidate’s skills and abilities helping to remove bias from existing processes.

What are the next steps?

No matter where your organisation is on their diversity and inclusion journey, it is critical that you continually review your progress. To help you gain an in-depth understanding of how your organisation is performing, check out TIDE, our self-assessment evaluation and benchmarking tool, which measures an organisation’s approach and progress on diversity and inclusion against 8 core components, enabling you to focus on specific areas you need to strengthen to create a more inclusive workplace.