Making Diversity Work – Implementing a Successful D&I Programme
In our ongoing series on Diversity and Inclusion (D&I), we have looked at everything from bridging the gender pay gap to how to break the glass ceiling and the importance of cultural diversity to diversity in terms of skills and education. We concluded how diversity and inclusion is not just about creating a fairer business environment, but that it can have tangible and measurable benefits as well. In this piece, we look at some of the critical components that go into achieving diversity through the creation of a rock-solid D&I programme.
What is the existing situation
The first step in the creation of a D&I program is to have a look at the existing situation. This should not just be a matter of a one-time data gathering exercise to look at the demographics. Rather it should be a dashboard that reflects the situation in real-time much like that of a revenue dashboard.
Analyse the data and identify the areas of concern
The next step is analysing the data and identifying areas of concern. This step is important as it allows companies to actually focus on any areas that there are actually lacking in, rather than implementing a one-size-fits-all policy. This is the step where interesting trends can begin to emerge. For example, a correlation might emerge between geographical location and biases or certain divisions more prone to having an increased homogeneous workforce than others.
Actions following the identification of deficiencies
The third step is to take action based on the deficiencies identified earlier. This would include things like staff training, targeted recruitment, changes in HR policies and so on. There might be a need to create mechanisms to empower employees to speak up if they feel that they are being discriminated against because of their gender or ethnic background. For example, some organisations have an independent third party representative outside the chain of command which employees can contact to raise their concerns. This person directly reports to the Board, bypassing traditional organisational hierarchy completely.
Measure the impact of the policy changes and the D&I initiative
The last step is to actually measure the impact of the policy changes and the D&I initiatives by going back to the first step in order to measure the success of the initiative. In order to achieve this, a relative comparison of employee satisfaction and employee retention etc. may also be made on a periodic basis and the results often speak for themselves. Demonstrating the tangible benefits of the D&I initiatives is also important as it will reinforce the company’s efforts in this area in the eyes of the employee.
Fostering a climate of inclusion
The long-term goals of the D&I policy should be to create a natural culture of inclusion and fairness in the workplace. Companies can compete based on advantages in for example intellectual property or market share but it is the culture of organisations that helps them build a competitive advantage in the long run. Diversity and Inclusion is all about creating a brand that is valued by both employees and clients.
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