Why Diversity & Inclusion Matters In Organisational Culture
transearch.com.au

Often seen as a problem for boards, a Human Resources issue, or a concern for hiring managers to address during the recruitment process, Diversity and Inclusion should really be discussed alongside organisational culture.

How diversity is reflected in an organisation and how it responds to inclusion is in its genes, and that its everyone’s responsibility. For however well intentioned, any D&I objectives cannot be achieved unless they are driven by the business as a whole – from senior leaders and executives, through to middle managers and at grass roots. This is the only way to land an organisation that fosters a workplace culture where diversity and inclusion are valued, cultural safety is promoted and the ways in which intersectionality affects our workforce is recognised.

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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.

What Is Stakeholder Value?

"Stakeholder Value" is an idea being given a good deal of positive support by the who's who of business. Following their meeting in August 2019, the Business Roundtable released a new statement on "the purpose of a corporation". Signed by 181 top CEOs, they committed to lead their companies for the benefit of all stakeholders – customers, employees, suppliers, communities and shareholders. That society is demanding a voice in the way businesses are run and is further endorsed by a change in corporate law in the UK in 2019. Companies on the London Stock Exchange must now report on both the "Employee's Voice" and "Corporate Culture."

Expect Boards to be far more involved in organisation culture in the future. Having run sessions on culture for Board members it's interesting to note that they quickly move from interest to enthusiasm once they realise that culture can and should be measured. Meanwhile, businesses that are truly stakeholder-driven have no problem attracting and retaining top talent. Patagonia, for example, receives 9,000 applicants for every internship.

Stakeholder value is also changing how intelligent organisations think about branding. Brand is more than a symbolic representation of the product or service being offered – it's the organisation's story simply told through compelling imagery and rich language. If, in the future, that story doesn't endorse the organisation's social and environmental contribution know that consumers will look to a brand that does.

George Wallace, Chief Executive, MHE Retail, put it this way:

"Brands that can show they are putting people or the environment ahead of sheer profit will be rewarded by consumers and employees and enhance the way they consider the brand."

Expect COVID-19 to transform a soft want into a hard need.

Insights from "Leadership: Moving Beyond The Crisis".

The "New Normal"

A good deal is being written describing the "new normal". There is no need to speculate. We are already living the new normal:

  • Ongoing disruption
  • A need for a different kind of leader
  • The challenge of implementing emerging technology
  • Recalibrating the organisation's clock speed to a marketplace ever-demanding of shorter lead times

Add:

  • Complexity
  • Uncertainty
  • The challenge of a millennium workforce
  • Gig employment
  • Fractures in international relations
  • The existential threat we, in passing, refer to as "the environment"
  • A severe shortage of top talent

You are starting to describe the world not as it will be, but where we are NOW!

The challenge we face isn't simply about skills and capability. The disruptive, tech-driven, speed-oriented world we have created demands a very different way to think about what it means to be an organisation:

  • Ideas-driven
  • Agile, and
  • Built to learn faster than future competition.

"Today is the fastest things have ever been and the slowest they will ever be."
- John Burdett, Leadership Advisor to TRANSEARCH International

Insights from "Leadership: Moving Beyond The Crisis".

Coming Down the Mountain: Coming Out Of This Crisis Stronger

Breakthrough technology, uncertainty and the unprecedented and ever-increasing speed of change demand an organisation that is a fit for the challenges of the 21st century. We are describing not just a better, but a very different kind of way to operate. An organisation built to change; one where disruption, agility and speed of learning dominate the leadership conversation.

Which brings us to the COVID-19 crisis. A crisis has three stages. Stage one: acceptance. Stage two: survival. Stage three: growth. And the winners will be? Those who come out of this crisis stronger.

Amid the veritable avalanche of "me too" advice on how to get through this crisis it is easy to overlook two central questions:

  1. "How will your business come out of this stronger?"
  2. "As a leader, how will you personally come out of this stronger?"

"Part One: Coming Down the Mountain" looks at how to come out of this crisis stronger:

  • The Three Stages of Crisis
  • Letting Go of Our Past
  • Following a Script From a Different Century
  • The New Normal
  • Coming Down the Mountain
  • Why Culture Matters
  • Next Steps
  • Appendix one: 3 X 3: Crisis, Culture and Change
  • Mindset Assessment: Will You come Out of This Crisis Stronger?

Download your complementary copy today »

Leadership: Moving Beyond The Crisis

"Leadership: Moving Beyond The Crisis" is a complementary book series, specifically aimed at enhancing how leaders respond to times of crisis.

The books cover concepts such as how to come out of this crisis stronger, culture, leadership agility and learning, what makes great teams. Also included are essential skills to enable us to start having conversations about moving forward while taking appropriate actions.

Read on for more information about the book series:

Or, Download Now

Coming Down the Mountain

Part One, Coming Down the Mountain, looks at how to come out of this crisis stronger:

  • The Three Stages of Crisis
  • Letting Go of Our Past
  • Following a Script From a Different Century
  • The New Normal
  • Coming Down the Mountain
  • Why Culture Matters
  • Next Steps
  • Appendix one: 3 X 3: Crisis, Culture and Change
  • Mindset Assessment: Will You come Out of This Crisis Stronger?

The Culture Conversation

Recognising, as we move forward, how important organisation culture is, Part Two outlines the Culture Conversation:

  • The Culture Carriers
  • Look, Listen, Learn
  • The Building Blocks
  • Culture Is A System
  • Is the Organisation Managing Its Culture?
  • What Makes the Business Special?
  • One Culture or Many?
  • Measurement
  • Strategy Versus Culture
  • A Team of Teams
  • Without Leadership You Ain't Got Much
  • The Orxestra Change Model
  • Culture Assessment

Leadership, Learning and Agility: The Way Of The Dolphin

Part Three explores the need for leadership agility and what that implies: Leadership Agility and Learning - The Way of the Dolphin:

  • Agility is a Way to Think
  • Bass and the Shark
  • Agility and Speed of Learning
  • The Way of the Dolphin
  • Conclusion
  • Assessment: How Good a Coach Are You?

Great Organisations Are Built Around Great Teams

Drawing on the reality that tomorrow's organisation will be a team of teams, Part Four examines what it means to be an outstanding team - Great Organisations Are Built Around Great Teams:

  • Who We Were is Who We Are
  • It's All About Culture
  • Organisational Lessons from Nature
  • The Organisation of Tomorrow
  • Building a Great Team
  • Team Assessment

When the Trees Get Bigger and the Forest Gets Deeper - It's Time To Sharpen Your Saw

Part Five moves beyond leadership as a philosophy and drills down into essential skills - When the Trees Get Bigger and the Forest Gets Deeper, It's Time to Sharpen Your Saw:

  • Are You The Leader They Need?
  • Assessing Your Organisation's Leadership Balance
  • If Ever There Was a Time to Listen - It’s Now
  • The Listening Tree
  • To Lead Is To Care
  • 50 Ways To Say You Care - In a Covid World
  • If You Are Not Living Your Own Story, You Are Living Someone Else's
  • Resilience Assessment

Download your complementary copy of "Leadership: Moving Beyond The Crisis" from TRANSEARCH Downloads.

Leading with Purpose: The New Organisational Advantage
aesc.org

Companies that are winning the war for talent are providing meaning, value and purpose to their teams and their stakeholders. John Ryan, US Regional Vice President for TRANSEARCH International, contributes his valuable expertise to this insightful article by AESC.

"Talent will make choices that reflect their values."

"In some regional markets and in some industries, unemployment isn't 3%. It's 2%. It's that tight. So there is a war for talent, and talent cares where it works and it cares about how it's treated."

"Individuals who make a career transition care quite a bit about an employer's brand. Some of the things that people look for include paternity leave, work hour flexibility, the ability to work remotely or work around children's sporting and school events. People will ask us whether the company promotes all individuals, regardless of gender, ethnicity and so forth."

"I do a lot of recruiting in renewable energy. There are a lot of companies, for example, Google, that are really driving a clean energy, carbon neutral energy strategy, and it comes from the top. The people who run Google actually care about sustainability. It's not an economic decision, but an ethical and authentic decision to try to be carbon neutral. It's Google, and who doesn't want to work at Google? But that's the kind of thing that makes a company like Google an employer of choice, if somebody has options. And top talent always has options."

"Executives look very carefully and very intently at the employer brand of the company. If the company has a brand for treating its employees well, adding in special amenities like onsite daycare, flex hours, working from home, paternity leave, and some other things that are family friendly, these things really do become part of the brand of the company. And that might separate a company like Patagonia or Nike from a Merrill Lynch or GE. With successively younger generations, there is also a rising demand with respect to social responsibility."

"It's also easier now to leave a toxic culture or a brand people don't believe in. It's harder to hold onto really talented people. If you're not treating them well, and if there are hypocritical elements in your culture that they can't stomach, people will just leave."

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