What is all the hype around diversity and inclusion? Is there an increase in focus on fewer opportunities for some, or equal opportunities for everyone?
What exactly is the meaning of diversity in the workplace?
Does it pay off from a business perspective to focus on diversity and integration?
These are some questions that might be on your mind when talking about diversity. Let’s break it down into smaller pieces.
The employees have their own set of skills which are attained through studies and experience, as well as through their personal and professional background, all of which will affect their work perspective in certain ways.
On a personal level we are talking amongst others about ethnicity, country of origin, gender, age, sexual orientation, religious beliefs or disabilities. The second level is the professional diversity that includes amongst others academic background, career path, industry background, personality type and thinking style.
All of these traits and experiences are accumulated over time and give candidates unique perspectives and skills that come in handy when the company wishes to increase creativity and develop innovative solutions. That being said, employers are not defined by their background, but rather enriched by it.
Integration can be designed as an ongoing process in which all the qualified bidders are taken in consideration and where the focus lies on giving everyone a fair, unbiased chance and not concentrating on excluding some or stop hiring and promoting the typical profile.
Inclusion is shifting attention towards bringing people in as a substitute for keeping people out.
A workplace that focuses on a culture that is accepting of diverse profiles and that includes everyone is on their way of designing the job environment for the future workforce.
This is done by designing a workplace where employers can all have lunch together, make company activities so people interact with each other beyond work tasks and be aware of the employers work-life balance.
Look beyond culture fit when hiring for new positions. By looking for someone who will compliment your work culture you end up having a fresh mindset that will improve and bring new insights to your team. Teams created by like minded employers with a similar cultural heritage and educational background tend to become homogeneous thus making growth and development a slow process.
It all starts with the leadership
Include training in cultural awareness, diversity and inclusion. Set guidelines that will ensure the implementation of processes that support and embrace diversity in the workplace.
Measure the progress of the inclusion efforts with the help of analytics. There are relatively easy options to help eliminate bias from inclusion and diversity processes. Analytics help identify and minimise unconscious prejudice throughout the HR departments.
The first step in combating bias is to be aware of it. Once recruiters become aware of this, they will be more likely to screen for a broader candidate base.
Optimize the hiring process so it is based solely on merit and not cultural heritage, race or simply a name that sounds foreign, and continue with the career advancement processes in promotions and leadership development. Focus on these issues and give a fair chance to all candidates and therefore enhance employee involvement and give them a memorable employee experience.
Business value in diversity
There is revenue to be gained by D&I. The benefits are numerous, starting with increased creativity and innovation. A recent BCG study shows that companies with a diverse leadership have 19% higher revenue. This is the result of a diverse team that will inspire each other and come up with more diverse solutions to the company’s problems.
Creativity is broken loose, more innovative solutions come on the table, you get a competitive advantage and the employees are engaged and motivated to do their job knowing that their actions are acknowledged and they have a fair chance of advancement. As a result you get a positive reputation which enhances your talent pool.
–for those curious minds a talent pool is a database where hr managers keep all their top job candidates.–
The only offset is that it takes time and engagement to change the way things have been working out so far, and naturally the beginning might be rocky, so keep at it if you want to see results.
We are facing a accelerating globalisation and advancement in technology and access to education. Therefore the future of the talent pool is expected to grow in the future, in fact, according to The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)
“the number of young people aged 25-34 with a tertiary qualification increased by nearly 45% between 2005 and 2013 in OECD and G20 countries and is expected to keep increasing in the coming decade”.
Though migration may make a difference in where the future workforce will come from, the OECD predicts that the individuals with a higher education in the working age population from the EU countries is likely to increase from 26% in 2015 to 34% .”
By 2030 more than 60% of science, technology, engineering and mathematics(STEM) educated young people will come from non OECD countries mainly India and China.