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    10 steps to making your organisation more profitable (and fairer) in 2022

    07 January 2022

    Claire Thorogood

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    2 minute read

    How to make diversity a priority

    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 [1].    

    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

      • invite feedback 

    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 shared benefits 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:

    1. Individual Career Progression
      • is work on progressing diversity and inclusion formally valued and rewarded?

    2. The Instinct to Maintain the Status Quo

    6. Review and Amend (as necessary) Recruitment & Promotion Protocols

    For Example:

    • 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/

    appraisal/promotion cycles 

    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?

    8. Address Gaps & Experiment

    • consider “diverse slate” and/or ‘blind’ recruitment

    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.

    [1] “Diversity Wins: How Inclusion Matters”, McKinsey & Co, May 2020

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    Employees are increasingly looking for a shared connection with a company’s values and purpose.

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