Diversity and inclusion in the workplace has always been an important topic.
There are clear social justice reasons why everyone has the right to be treated fairly in the workplace. One would hope this would be enough, however beyond being a good human and good member of society, the evidence now clearly shows the significant business impact diversity and inclusion has on organisational effectiveness and the bottom line.
At Talent Point, we’ve faced a few of our own challenges in the past year. We’ve also learnt a lot recently working with our customers on their diversity and inclusion strategies which together has given us a good idea of what to look out for.
The first step is understanding if you have a problem.
This isn’t always easy and just asking people will rarely get a definitive answer. We’ll explore this in a bit more detail in an up and coming eBook on Diversity and Inclusion.
In the meantime, here are four signs to look out for that may indicate your approach to diversity and inclusion could do with some work.
This is an obvious red flag as it is one you cannot ignore as it hits home fast. No one likes to lose valued members of their team.
You can always come up with reasons as to why retention rates are not where you want them, but if you look back and notice certain demographics are leaving your business faster than everyone else then it’s very likely you have a problem.
*Here’s a tip: Conduct exit interviews to understand why people are leaving and then crucially use that data to inform policy decisions that ensures others don’t leave for the same reasons. Remember though, exit interviews are for the person leaving as much as yourself so make sure you create a platform that allows them to share their thoughts openly.*
If you want build a diverse workforce, you first need attract a diverse range of applicants to your business. Pretty simple right?
Carry out an audit of your hiring processes and if you’re not attracting certain demographics then there’s probably a reason behind it.
Next look at the hiring process itself and find out if there are specific stages that you’re typically losing people along the way. If there are, take a deeper look at these and try to understand what might be causing it.
It could be something as simple as asking people to do a lengthy take home technical exercise when in reality they have a family to care for and quite easily be done on sight. Or, on the flipside, you may have an onsite task which some people find intimidating which can be simplified or more easily done at home.
*Here’s a tip: try to standardise interview questions to ensure there is a level playing field for every applicant. Double marks if you can support your managers with unconscious bias and interviewing training (this is so often overlooked).*
Staff engagement & morale
When a person can’t be themselves at work, they will not engage fully as a member of your team. They will withdraw themselves and this can also cause low morale, engagement and productivity for those who work with them.
Whilst imperfect, engagement surveys and staff feedback still remain an excellent indicator of how every member of staff feels in your business. If a trend is emerging around certain demographics scoring lower or trending similar issues then there is likely an issue you need to address.
*Here’s a tip: Instead of sending out generic surveys, try specific D&I focused surveys to get a true measure of how everyone in the workforce is feeling. One thing we advocate for are ‘exclusion surveys’ which seek to more directly identify issues you’re facing.*
Lack of management buy-in
You can have the best D&I policy in the world but if senior management do not actively participate then you won’t succeed. People need to see the effort coming from the organisation’s leaders so it’s essential management leads from the front.
If you’re trying to improve D&I but don’t have any buy-in from the top, it’s an early sign that things might eventually not work out the way you expect them too. Help management understand the importance and benefits of good D&I practices and then get their involvement and support to implement them.
*Here’s a tip: Create a D&I focused internal team with Senior Management representation so the staff can see it’s an important focus for the business. This also allows management to see how staff feel about D&I which can make securing their continued support far easier.*
If you’re reading this and noticing any of these signs in your current team, department or organisation then worry not. Diversity and inclusion doesn’t often happen organically.
To begin tackling any problem, you need data to understand it properly. Therefore the next step along your journey to better D&I is conducting an audit.
We’ll be covering how to run a diversity and inclusion audit and some initiatives you can action quickly in our upcoming eBook.
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