It is a fact that diverse companies are more profitable and that this is true whether the diversity is assessed by reference to gender or race. They are found to make better, bolder decisions and innovate more effectively .
So, as many companies and organisations look to recover from the pandemic and grow, there is a strong business case for making diversity a priority. Employees are increasingly looking for a shared connection with a company’s values and purpose and evidence suggests that employers who fail to take stock of these issues will find it difficult to recruit and retain talent. So, here are 10 steps towards better and more profitable performance:
1. Start at the top
make leaders accountable
make public and explicit commitments to advancing minority groups
make public and explicit that discrimination/harassment will not be tolerated
model inclusive leadership: e.g. attend and participate actively in training and events and provide appropriate resource to progressing diversity
establish norms of behaviour that are open and welcoming
2. Understand the Issues Via Staff Training on:
similarity bias and how it operates to maintain the status quo
patterns of bias and how these operate on minority groups’ experience of the workplace and in their own decision-making
the importance of workplace allies and
critically, the collective and sharedbenefits of an inclusive culture
3. Set and Publicise Clear and Public Goals on Recruitment, Retention and Promotion
4. Ensure that the Arrangements for Mentoring, Sponsoring and Management Training are reviewed and tracked to ensure equality and fairness of opportunity
Sponsorship, for example, is shown to be key for accelerating career progression.
5. Ensure Performance Management Systems are reviewed (and changed as necessary) to address 2 Issues:
Individual Career Progression
is work on progressing diversity and inclusion formally valued and rewarded?
The Instinct to Maintain the Status Quo
6. Review and Amend (as necessary) Recruitment & Promotion Protocols
consider the use of 1-10 ratings in place of subjective assessment
use the same criteria for each candidate
invite a 3rd party to attend when interviewers discuss candidates
send reminders about patterns of bias/similarity bias ahead of traditional recruitment/
7. Track Outcomes
recruitment is not enough
who is staying? Who is leaving and why? Who is being promoted? Are the right people in place as managers?
9. Listen: Provide Opportunities for Employees to Feedback:
do they see a future for themselves in the organisation through fairness of opportunity? Do they feel a sense of belonging? If not, why not?
10. Review your working norms and employee benefits from a minority perspective:
is flexible working amounting to being ‘always on’?
are your benefits consistent with your employees’ priorities?
when are informal gatherings arranged?
The good news for organisations is that they already have the business tools - leadership accountability, data and metrics - to take these steps. With the balance of power moving to employees, this may prove the year when organisations finally make the leap to real action and progress.
 “Diversity Wins: How Inclusion Matters”, McKinsey & Co, May 2020