We’re all acutely aware of the stats. Take a close look at the list of top CEOs and you’ll see an obvious lack of diversity – ethnicity, gender, disability, religion, sexual orientation. There’s no denying that diversity makes better business sense, and not just to the bottom line. Gender diversity for example is linked to better group efficacy and better group performance. There’s also reputational benefits with ethnic and gender equity increasingly becoming part of a well-considered corporate social responsibility programme.
We’re mostly all sold on the concept of diversity, but the challenge lies in how you prioritise diversity in your company.
Spark managing director Simon Moutter spoke at the Global Women 1 Day for Change Summit last year, sharing what the telco has done in this space. Simon made the comment that Spark has “..thrown everything but the kitchen sink at diversity”. From mentoring programmes through to diversity metrics and celebrating events that embrace diversity, Spark have certainly made a concerted effort to improve their performance in embracing diversity in the workplace. Even so, Simon reflected that the approach adopted by Spark “…has been very logical, very process-oriented, very designed and best practice” – possibly too much about ticking the right boxes.
The challenge lies in the fact that diversity is about people and sometimes, implementing a process or edict in support of inclusion doesn’t cut the mustard. So what actionable steps can you make to encourage diversity in your company. Here are some thought starters.
Create diverse teams
Increased innovative thinking comes from different perspectives which can include socioeconomic background, gender, age and abilities. Teams solve problems faster when they’re more cognitively diverse.
Lead by example
A culture of diversity starts at the top. Visibly demonstrate a commitment to respect and acceptance in the workplace – reiterate that diversity in ideas, backgrounds and experiences is the key to innovation.
Re-evaluate your hiring requirements
Eliminate any requirements that you cannot trace directly to success in that role. It doesn’t have to be overt, sub-conscious bias is still an issue in recruiting for many businesses.
Change doesn’t occur in isolation of effort. For some organisations, this could mean implementing diversity targets, for others, it could be as simple as intervening on values and behaviours.
Expand your thinking
When adding to your team, broaden your search by looking at networks outside of your sector. There’s talent everywhere and bringing in people from different industries, broadens thinking through different perspectives.
Remember that good ideas and brilliant people can come from anywhere.
Listen to feedback
Ask your team for their candid feedback on your efforts in the diversity space and listen to the sometimes “uncomfortable truth”.
Be serious about your commitment
What’s your performance when it comes to gender pay gaps and parental leave? How accessible is your workplace? The best talent has a lot of choices in the market and they can see straight through a company that is all talk and no action.
The final word goes to Simon Moutter who said that everyone should be able to bring their real self to work and expect to be welcomed, respected and included.
If you are looking for direction and assistance in securing the right talent for your business, get in touch with us. We’d love to chat.
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