Humans seek comfort in what they know. We tend to avoid the different and strange, gravitating instead towards familiarity. Sure, we think to ourselves, change might be for the better, but it could also be for the worse. Better the devil you know.
This force of habit isn’t great for an organisation’s diversity and inclusion efforts. It means that even the most open-minded and open-hearted interviewer can unconsciously prefer someone who looks, talks and acts like them over another candidate whose differences could bring real value to the company. Diversity, as we now know, is fantastic for the bottom line.
Diversity and inclusion thus demands an organisation’s attention if it is to be realised. Measures must be put in place to spur these efforts on, track their progress and evolve them over time. This helps to erase often unconscious blind spots that we all possess.
The key question is how do you track such seemingly ambiguous concepts as ‘diversity’ and ‘inclusion’? In this article we’ll take a look at doing just that.
Let’s first take a moment to understand what each of these words means:
They essentially form different sides of the same coin, and are equally important from both financial and corporate culture perspectives.
According to this 2018 McKinsey report, companies in the top quartile for diversity are 21% more likely to have superior financial performance than companies in the bottom quartile. Why? Diversity encourages broader perspectives and understanding of market needs enabling business to better address and resolve business problems.
Diversity has become increasingly complex in the corporate environment. For the longest time, workplace diversity revolved simply around gender. However, organisations are now digging deeper to establish an employment mix representative of the broader population.
Today’s diversity and inclusion efforts extend to race, ethnicity, age, physical ability amongst many other dimensions. A representative mix of these dimensions is increasingly perceived favourably by both internal and external stakeholders. However, a certain business will likely have a different employment mix to another, depending on its goals.
For example, a 60+ year old recently arrived migrant might be of limited use to an accounting firm with a focus on digital transformation and Australian regulation, as their technical ability (due to age) and lack of understanding of local regulations (due to location) don’t meet the demands of the job. In this case, diversity and inclusion dimensions of focus must be location- and context-specific. In short, they need to be relevant.
Once you’ve settled on the dimensions you need to focus on, it’s time to use metrics to analyse your current position and track your progress. These include:
It’s vital to first diagnose then continually track your organisation’s progress against these metrics. To assist in benchmarking diversity and inclusion, consider the following:
We humans aren’t instinctively great at diversity and inclusion, but as the world gets smaller and markets get more competitive, diversity and inclusion is becoming less of a plus and more of a must for modern organisations.
Happily you now have the tools to diagnose, track and improve your organisational diversity. If you need assistance in attracting and retaining talent to meet your diversity and inclusion goals Ignite is ready to assist.