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Are your business leaders driving the D&I agenda?
Not only do C-suite executives develop the strategies for the businesses that they run, but they also set the tone for the organisation’s culture and this is key when it comes to diversity and inclusion (D&I) in the workplace. Alarmingly, recent PageGroup research has found that just 34% of C-Level execs say their company has a D&I policy and know what it is.
With two key strategic assets – one being clients and customers, and the other their talent – why are so many business leaders failing to acknowledge the importance of a sound D&I policy?
The business case for D&I
Elimination of ‘groupthink’ is one of the key benefits of a diverse workforce. This occurs when a team is predominately made up of individuals who look, sound and think the same, narrowing decision-makers’ field of vision. As a result, this reduces an organisation’s ability to tap into the constantly changing needs and wants of their diverse customers and clients.
There are extensive business case studies that prove diversity within the workplace significantly improves performance and drives success. There are clear benefits of D&I including; improved and faster decision making, boosts in innovation, new insights, open communication and higher revenue to name but a few.
Ultimately, by adopting an inclusive leadership style, C-suite execs can build smarter and more profitable businesses.
DOWNLOAD: You can access the full eBook, ‘Inclusion in the UK workplace: Common challenges and how to tackle them,’ produced by Michael Page in partnership with VERCIDA Consulting here.
UK D&I challenges
In the UK, there are a number of sectors that fall behind when it comes to diversity and inclusion. From the PageGroup survey of over 2,000 UK workers, individuals were asked to score their employers on inclusivity. Legal, logistics, and procurement and supply chain sectors were found to be the least inclusive. Many of these industries that struggle with D&I also face a significant challenge in changing longstanding perceptions of what it is like to work within that industry, which are specifically male-dominated cultures.
In addition to this, it was also found that due to the lack of inclusion within businesses, employees don’t feel comfortable revealing why they are leaving a company. Honest and open communication is key in any business, and to ensure that you are receiving accurate feedback from employees to improve attraction and retention rates. Inclusive cultures support this flow of conversation and ensure that all employees feel comfortable to open up about any issues they may have.
One obstacle to this is office cliques as they can be damaging to office morale and in turn, hinder an inclusive culture. Despite how common office cliques are, organisations are not equipped to manage them. The trouble with cliques is that if not managed, they can lead to exclusion and can be damaging to the productivity of a team.
Considering these challenges, it is surprising that business leaders are not driving the agenda for D&I.
Challenging unconscious biases in the recruitment process
As individuals, we all have our own biases, most of which we are not aware of. These are influenced by our upbringing including factors such as the beliefs our parents have, the schools we went to and even the subjects we studied. Unless challenged, an individual’s unconscious bias will sway decision making and in a hiring process. This is likely to result in great candidates being overlooked if they don’t fit with what a hiring manager’s picture of an ‘ideal’ candidate.
In recruitment there are a vast array of areas that unconscious biases can influence: the job description, advertising, the interview process, the types of questions asked, reviewing a CV, and even the way an individual performs in an interview. If biases are not challenged at each stage, then like-for-like people will continue to be hired and diversity will not be achieved.
At Page Executive, we work closely with our clients during the recruitment process and are well placed to assist in improving the diversity of your business. In fact, we actively challenge our clients’ ways of thinking to not only support an inclusive and diverse approach to hiring, but also to ensure that the best candidate is selected in the process. Find out how we have helped our partners boost diversity in the financial services sector.
If you would like to discuss how we can support your diversity and inclusion agenda, get in touch with your local Page Executive office for a confidential conversation.
Partner, HR Practice Page Executive