Cultivating Diversity And Inclusivity In The Workplace

The pressure to increase diversity in the workplace continues to rise across sectors and is a prime focus for business leaders around the globe.

What is the difference between diversity and inclusion?

Diversity in the workplace encompasses many dimensions, including race, ethnicity, gender, age, religion, disability and sexual orientation; it can also include differing personality characteristics, thinking styles, experiences and education levels.

Inclusion means that the organisational culture and practices make employees of diverse backgrounds feel welcome, accepted and treated equally.

Numerous studies have shown that cultivating diversity and inclusivity in the workplace makes good business sense. For example, McKinsey’s workplace diversity study, "Delivering Through Diversity", found that companies whose executive teams rank in the top 25% of racial and ethnic diversity are 33% more likely to reap financial returns above the national median for their industry. Diversity has also been shown to be a key driver of innovation, creativity and productivity.

Attracting and retaining top talent

Most importantly for HR professionals and recruiters, a diverse and inclusive workplace is crucial for attracting and retaining top talent. Candidates are drawn to diverse organisations because it signals that the employer values people's differences and treats their staff equally. When it comes to retention, a culture of inclusion will make top talent feel valued, heard and understood.

Diversity is particularly important to younger employees. A 2019 survey by U.S. consultancy John Zogby Strategies found that 51% of millennials and generation Z agree that a "fair representation of race, ethnicity and religion is paramount to creating the ideal workplace." Forty-eight percent of generation X (40-54) and 42% of baby boomers agree with that statement.

The path to diversity and inclusion

Companies that have invested in diversity and inclusion over the years are reaping the rewards. The path to diversity and inclusion starts with moving it from an HR initiative to a business strategy. While this strategy may look different at every company, the key elements are:

  • C-suite support.
  • Employee commitment and collaboration.
  • Improving diversity in recruitment.
  • Fostering inclusiveness in the workplace.

Creating a diverse and inclusive workplace is no easy feat but it's clear that this is the way forward. How you screen and source talent, conduct interviews and onboard new employees are all opportunities to integrate diversity into your processes. Put simply, the companies that do this well will outperform others as recognised workplaces of choice among top talent.

Adapted from "Leading the Charge for Diversity and Inclusion" by Frank Galati.

Mental Health, Virtual Integration & 'Remote' Compensation

After enjoying the comfort and cost savings of working from home, would you rule out a potential job if remote wasn't an option? Ever struggle logging into a video meeting and then face "technology bias"? How about your employees' mental health – are you seeing resilience or deepening depression?

These compelling questions and issues, impacting workforces the world over right now, were explored recently during TRANSEARCH USA's Executive Human Resources Virtual Roundtable.

The following are key themes that emerged and some useful guidance for HR professionals.

Read "Mental Health, Virtual Integration & 'Remote' Compensation" leadership insights

Here is what to keep in mind as you tool your reinvention

At some point in your career, transitioning into an an industry that has richer prospects than the one you have come to know may give you room to grow. Here is what to keep in mind as you tool your reinvention:

  • Flexibility is key - As you contemplate a change, having the right mindset is key. It is important to have realistic expectations.
  • Heed cultural cues - Culture matters. It can be nourishing and thrilling; it can be defeating and stressful. Culture hugely impacts your experience.
  • Network - Your network is an excellent resource. See who you know and where they are positioned. Ask questions. Build momentum. Learn what you need to about positions and industries you are targeting.
  • Tell the right story - Change gives you the chance to see your experience, skill set and goals from a different vantage point. That’s empowering. Use the momentum.

Transition, timed right, is powerful. As the shot caller of your own career, you have to be bold, brave, energised. Enact your decisions when you see what is coming, not after it is here. Enact foresight not afterthought.

Insights from "How To Transition Into A New Industry" by John Ryan.

Free Online Courses for Leadership Development

Spending more time at home can be an excellent opportunity to gain knowledge and develop skills. Explore free online courses for leadership development. The following are available from OpenLearn by The Open University:

There are many more free online courses for leadership development available, including from the following:

How to Recruit Top Talent When They're Not Looking for a Career Move

Considering today's disruptive business world, it's never been more important to employ exceptional people who can navigate through and thrive within this ever-changing climate. The question is: how do you find them when they're not looking?

Many organisations struggle to fill key leadership positions because the best and brightest typically aren't seeking a career move. So, if you're posting on platforms such as LinkedIn, your chances of finding the top one percent of talent are minimal. While junior and mid-level management roles may make sense for posting online, filling higher-up positions requires something vastly different than keyword searches and filters. It requires a distinctly human element: communication and connection with the talent.

High-tech tools and experiences do have a role to play in HR, but as other industries are finding as well, people still crave a human connection. On top of wanting a human connection, many people are also experiencing "message fatigue" on platforms such as LinkedIn, particularly with regards to untargeted sales messages.

Given these factors, it's increasingly important for HR professionals to make their new opportunities stand out. However, finding passive candidates isn't easy for most organisations. Here are some key steps for recruitment success.

Start the Conversation

While A-level talent likely aren't scanning job boards, they tend to be open to having conversations about new opportunities. At Bedford Consulting Group, we search for the top talent in any given industry, whether they're in the job market or not. This way, we get to know their career goals and skill levels, and understand what they want and need from their employers.

Tell Your Story

For today's top performers, compensation isn't everything, so it will take more than a higher paycheque for them to consider a move. Company culture is critically important, and that's not something you can convey in a job posting. As recruiters, we play a key role in communicating - up close and in person - why an organisation is a great place to work.

Ask the Right Questions

Bedford has a high success rate for engaging A-level talent not currently seeking new opportunities. The secret to success? Asking the right questions. By doing so, we uncover not only their needs and motivations, but also elements of discord employees have in their current roles. We can then leverage this information and present new options that offer potential candidates what their current job isn't providing.

Understand Why They Stay

In addition to discovering what would make top talent head for the exits, it's important to find out why they stay. Most organisations have a general idea of why their overall employee population stays, but not as firm an understanding of why their top 1% stays. At Bedford Group, we employ a process called "Why Do You Stay" when interviewing high-performing employees to find out what keeps them at their current company. That information can then be used with potential top-tier candidates to convince them the company is a good one to join. If you understand why you're retaining high performers, you can leverage the insights to attract more of them.

Build a Relationship

The competition to win over top talent will only intensify, so it's critical to build and nurture relationships with candidates until the right opportunity opens up. This requires time, continual engagement and deep connections. When you have a strong relationship with the talent, chances are you can win them over with a new opportunity. At Bedford Group, we are trusted advisors to help guide people to the right opportunities with our clients.

Originally published by Steven Pezim on LinkedIn.