With benefits on productivity and engagement, it’s surprising to note that only 14% of new firms have plans and policies to encourage inclusion and diversity in the workplace, according to a poll by First Round Capital.
Charlotte Sweeney OBE, Founder & Director of Charlotte Sweeney Associates and creator and leader of the ‘Power of Diversity’ Programme, part of the Lord Mayor of the City of London’s 686 plan, spoke to us about the importance of diversity, and how employers can best champion change.
“Creating change is not easy and it is the one aspect in business that can create a level of emotion that is seldom seen in the workplace. Many diversity & inclusion programmes, although positioned as attempting to change the culture and structures within organisations, actually have no change management principles wrapped around them,” she explains.
“The majority of these programmes are focussed on initiatives, a number of separate actions and deliverables pulled together on a spreadsheet and presented to the executive committee or diversity steering group in the hope that something will change.
“This is one of the reasons why much activity on D&I has not had the desired and anticipated impact on the business or the individuals within it – a lot of undirected or isolated activity will have a very limited impact.
“If you plan to approach D&I in quite a low-key way, we would urge you to position your focus and activity with a change mentality. As an initial starter, regardless of where your starting point is, consider the following questions;
- “How is your organisation’s brand perceived in the market - are you respected, do you find it easy to attract talent, are the images you use in your adverts diverse, is your website accessible?
- How successful are your recruitment efforts - do you have a high acceptance rate, do new hires settle in well, are they as successful as you had predicted at hire stage?
- Is your performance management process free from bias, are you satisfied that people have smart objectives and are fairly assessed against them?
- Do you know who your high potential/talented individuals are, are you effectively nurturing them, and giving them stretch assignments?
- Do you know if you have a pay gap and if so, what is it and why?
- Are your staff benefits accessible for everyone?
- Is your procurement process free of rules that would deter minority- owned business from tendering?
- Are you developing the most innovative products or solutions – are you aware of the needs and motivation of your entire potential consumer market?
- You will be setting yourself up for failure if you try to tackle all of the above at the same time although they are a good initial indicator of where you starting on this journey.”