The Leader Magazine

SEP 2016

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SEPTEMBER 2016 25 D iversity and inclusion in the workplace are increasingly accepted as fundamental business necessities in today's employment market. Organisations recognise that their potential to achieve better business results and attract and retain the best talent is increased when people from diverse backgrounds and perspectives are able to be themselves and are included in the decision-making. However, many organisations continue to struggle with how to effectively implement a struggle with how to effectively implement a robust diversity and inclusion agenda and embed robust diversity and inclusion agenda and embed it into all aspects of their business plan, including it into all aspects of their business plan, including it into all aspects of their business plan, including it into all aspects of their business plan, including their talent proposition. Without this, at best, companies' efforts can be seen as "a good attempt companies' efforts can be seen as "a good attempt at addressing the issue" and, at worst, can be seen as tokenistic. Research conducted in London in 2014 found that companies' actions were not hitting the mark: • Eighty-four percent of city workers surveyed • Eighty-four percent of city workers surveyed • Eighty-four percent of city workers surveyed • Eighty-four percent of city workers surveyed stated their company had commitment from the top to create a more diverse and inclusive workforce. inclusive workforce. • Twenty-seven percent felt that they were • Twenty-seven percent felt that they were under pressure to support the delivery of under pressure to support the delivery of under pressure to support the delivery of creating an inclusive work environment. • Only 15 percent stated that the actions of their leaders mirrored their spoken com- mitment to diversity and inclusion. mitment to diversity and inclusion. • Eighty-seven percent felt that the strategies • Eighty-seven percent felt that the strategies within their company had no impact on them personally. them personally. The research demonstrated a very clear The research demonstrated a very clear disconnect between the commitment from senior disconnect between the commitment from senior leaders and what was actually seen and experienced leaders and what was actually seen and experienced leaders and what was actually seen and experienced leaders and what was actually seen and experienced leaders and what was actually seen and experienced leaders and what was actually seen and experienced by employees at many different levels. The key to by employees at many different levels. The key to any progress and embedding into what the organ- isation does on a day-to-day basis is to understand this disconnect and deliver clear actions that help this disconnect and deliver clear actions that help to reduce it. After working with numerous companies After working with numerous companies After working with numerous companies After working with numerous companies across the world, I suggest the following 10 steps across the world, I suggest the following 10 steps as tried and tested guidelines to enable companies as tried and tested guidelines to enable companies to review their current activity and identify areas to review their current activity and identify areas to review their current activity and identify areas where further work may be required. where further work may be required. s tep 1: r eview your business plan Before implementing a strategy to help Before implementing a strategy to help improve the effectiveness of organisations by improve the effectiveness of organisations by building on the benefits of inclusion and diversity, building on the benefits of inclusion and diversity, it is really important to first understand what the it is really important to first understand what the company vision and business strategy are. Any company vision and business strategy are. Any company vision and business strategy are. Any activity focusing on creating a more diverse and activity focusing on creating a more diverse and inclusive company should be able to articulate how it will support the business to deliver their how it will support the business to deliver their how it will support the business to deliver their business strategy and their talent aspirations. business strategy and their talent aspirations. It is important to recognise that no two It is important to recognise that no two diversity and inclusion strategies are alike. Just diversity and inclusion strategies are alike. Just diversity and inclusion strategies are alike. Just the same as a business strategy, it is impossible to the same as a business strategy, it is impossible to replicate another company's diversity and inclusion replicate another company's diversity and inclusion replicate another company's diversity and inclusion strategy and gain the same results. There are strategy and gain the same results. There are so many variables involved, such as the current company culture, the business aspirations and the industry, that play a significant part. It is useful to industry, that play a significant part. It is useful to industry, that play a significant part. It is useful to collaborate with other companies and research collaborate with other companies and research good practices in the industry; however, these give good practices in the industry; however, these give you good examples of what you might do rather than what you must do. s tep 2: What are your people saying? Having reviewed your business plan, the next step involves really finding out what is going on step involves really finding out what is going on inside the company. To achieve this you need to ask a lot of questions at all levels of the company ask a lot of questions at all levels of the company to find out what it's like to work here. This can be to find out what it's like to work here. This can be achieved through employee opinion surveys, focus achieved through employee opinion surveys, focus groups, chance conversations in the corridor, or even listening to what people are saying in the even listening to what people are saying in the cafeteria or by the water cooler. It is also impor- tant to recognise that there may be very different tant to recognise that there may be very different tant to recognise that there may be very different tant to recognise that there may be very different tant to recognise that there may be very different views in different parts of the organisation. Don't views in different parts of the organisation. Don't assume that it is the same across the whole company; assume that it is the same across the whole company; assume that it is the same across the whole company; assume that it is the same across the whole company; there will be pockets of varying views of what it is there will be pockets of varying views of what it is there will be pockets of varying views of what it is like to work here and this should be taken into like to work here and this should be taken into account. s tep 3: r eview current systems and processes Once you have gained a good idea of what it feels like for different people to work here, start feels like for different people to work here, start feels like for different people to work here, start to think about what you are doing in the business

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