It’s important for any company to understand why diversity is important to them. And how the company needs to change in order to support their plan for diversity.
’Diversity’ in any organisation means hiring, promoting and valuing people from different backgrounds and with a wide range of experiences. Organisations are smartest when they incorporate fresh perspectives and different ways of thinking.
Cognitive diversity has two dimensions:
Inherent diversity: This is aligned with the traditional meaning of ‘diversity’ in the workplace: the range of differences that people are born with, or are associated with, such as gender, ethno-cultural origin or age, or one of the protected characteristics under UK equality law, as shown in the table below.
Acquired diversity⁵: This means differences in how people think and behave as a result of life-changing experiences, knowledge and skills. Acquired diversity enhances the quality of collective decision-making.
Foot note: (5. The term ‘acquired diversity’ was coined by the Center for Talent Innovation.)
Often the best business opportunity arises when these two dimensions of cognitive diversity work and are managed together. This is when organisations can really start to outwit their competitors.
Realign your recruitment procedures:
Seeking out prestigious education and a job history of working for big, well known brands can cause an unconscious bias that locks out great candidates. Anything that stops the best people from getting the best opportunity effectively harms your organisation. Look for and focus on personal capability and real evidence of delivery.
Make someone accountable: Diversity should be a business priority, not just a HR priority. The accountable person(s) is who your Diversity Manager should report to.
Link diversity goals to performance metrics: This will add urgency to your strategy, increase motivation towards meeting specific goals and encourage a cascade effect to employees at other levels within your organisation.
Don’t just focus on women: Companies need to think broader. Achieving a better gender balance matters, especially in executive roles, but there are other untapped streams of diversity that are relevant to your business.
Attend networking events: Talk to others in the same situation. What have they tried and learned? Create a diverse pool but going out there and talking to the world.
Don’t think it’s going to be easy. Get some specialised help.
This isn’t going to be a walk in the park. A deep strategic commitment to diversity involves organisational change. The way is paved in small, incremental steps and developing an effective blend of background, talents and perspective in your executive team will add significant value to your organisation.
Green Park have just launched a new initiative called DRIVE – Diversity Recruitment Institute for Value and Excellence, which aims to effect an extra 10,000 diverse hiring choices per annum for the next five years.
Chaired by Baroness Janet Royall (ex-Leader of The House of Lords), DRIVE aims to increase social mobility and diversity through excellence in recruitment, procurement and internal talent management. To find out more or to be a part of this national diversity and social inclusion movement, visit www.green-park.co.uk/drive
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