Eight strategies to make more impact with your diversity efforts

3 minute read

Companies pay a lot of lip service to diversity and inclusion, but the pace of change is still too slow. Human capital specialist Leathwaite offers eight tips to shift it up a gear

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Helping organisations secure the best human capital within support, enablement & control functions

  1. Design your organisation for inclusion
    While many large corporates are keen to espouse the value of agile as a means of change, they are still building teams around traditional hierarchies and not treating teams as human systems with interchangeable parts dependent on the shared goal. Flatter, open-forum hierarchy with greater emphasis on flexible, on-demand human capital naturally lends itself to fostering diversity

  2. Give yourself a chance via the recruitment process
    How about at least one minority candidate in the final shortlist? Increasingly executive recruiting firms are being asked to commit to clients’ individual diversity charters as a pre-cursor to doing business. Think about your interview panel. Construct a panel that will reflect your organisation’s aspiration and simultaneously give you a diverse and insightful three-dimensional assessment of the candidates. Of course, simply hiring these people is not enough so retention becomes your continued goal once they are in. Make sure these hires land well

  3. Consider quotas at the pain point
    Most organisations will tell you that even by front-loading the graduate intake in favour of women, the pain point is still acute at the mid-career level – 10-15 years’ post-graduate experience – when females often leave the workforce to start families. Bringing quotas further down the organisation to vice president or director-level (at a manageable level so as not to be an impediment to actually getting things done) would surely be an experiment worth trying. While quotas will remain controversial and should not be a permanent construct, they are extremely effective at moving a heavy needle at speed

  4. Crowdsource what you can
    Simple but valuable. In the spirit of Inclusion, and with the benefit of technology, companies can harness the thoughts and ideas of a vast audience. Crowdsourcing anything from ‘name the new meeting room’ to ‘what should our corporate value behaviours be’ can cost next to nothing but result in everyone in the organisation ‘owning’ the results

  5. Make returnships matter
    The returnship is designed to bring ‘lost’ productivity back to the workforce, to experience a range of roles and departments in an allotted period of time. In recent years the genre has exploded with many corporates offering their own variance on the theme. It has not been without critics, with hiring rates cited as too low (50-60%) and the returnship wage cited as exploitative in some cases. However, it is clear that with tweaks, the returnship can be a highly effective mechanism. The value is applying these untapped resources, whether female, military veteran or another returner, into real work within real roles to avoid the sense of tokenism associated with can feel more like work experience than work itself if the scheme is badly conceived

  6. Embrace co-headed functions via job-share
    Co-head structures have been proven to work over the years but are still a rarity. Recently the Bank of England announced its HR head (an ExCo position) would be a job-share via two people and Visa has made a similar commitment in the talent space. Clearly the chemistry of the two individuals concerned is critical, but, rather than treat job-sharing as something for administrative staff, why can’t it work at c-level?

  7. One size does not fit all
    Headcount size and geographical footprint could credibly be argued as contributory to a firm’s success or struggle within D&I. Recognising that large, global organisations are a composite of sub-cultures dependant on business-line and geographical centre-of-gravity, why would we assume that one single, global D&I strategy would work? Coupled with the challenges of the strain and spotlight afforded to a single global head of D&I, some organisations have recognised this culture conglomeration and de-commissioned the group D&I role in the centre, instead allowing business lines to hire embedded D&I specialists to treat their specific culture and D&I challenge appropriately

  8. Stick with Talent – everything else is secondary
    Needless to say, and despite all of the above, talent must always win the race. No one but no one sleeps easy in a role they feel they did not 100% merit.
4 October 2018. Taken from www.leathwaite.com/diversity-and-inclusion-things-we-should-be-seen-to-be-saying
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