January 2010 Diversity & Inclusion Best Practice
Diversity hot tips for delivering big 2010 profit generation and efficiency gains
1. Profit generation and, or, efficiency gains diversity
The need to find means of generating profit, or in the Public Sector finding efficiency gains, is going to continue to be paramount in 2010. Diversity ‘blindspots’ offer a mostly untapped and big opportunity. These are missed business opportunities linked to diverse employees, suppliers, community, marketing, business development, or capital investment. Our experience is that any sizeable organisation can find millions of pounds in profit or savings from identifying and addressing diversity blindspots. We offer a three step profit generating/efficiency gains process:
a. Blindspots Audit: identification, and prioritisation, of diversity business opportunities and quantification.
b. Blindspots Training: Middle Management training and online e-learning to enable middle managers and front-line staff to deliver on the opportunities.
c. Blindspots Profit Generation and /or Efficiency Gains Scorecard: measurement of progress.
2. Addressing unconscious bias
Senior managers often believe that they have meritocratic cultures. However, IDC’s experience is that this is often only the case if viewed through the lens of the group that historically has held the power, usually white men. For individuals in any other group this results in barriers to recognising their true performance contribution and promotion potential. A director recently described to me how he had been on a panel which favoured the appointment of a white male in preference to a minority ethnic woman. He was able to persuade the panel to consider the 2 candidates through different lens. It was only when they did this that they realised that the woman possessed superior qualities in relation to the job’s requirements.
There are big gains to be had from fostering a truly meritocratic culture: retention of diverse talent; bigger and more diverse promotion pool; performance and innovation gains from diverse individuals feeling more fully included in helping the organisation succeed. This is achieved by raising manager’s awareness of the existence of unconscious bias and interactive theatre is highly effective in achieving this. They then need help to address it through training in bias free performance management and selection interviewing. This all needs to be reinforced by the organisation’s leaders being exemplars of a few, critical, inclusive behaviours targeted on strategic priorities.
IDC is finding that its clients are increasingly deciding that there are business benefits to be gained from the use of mediators, internal, or external. They mediate dispute issues arising from bullying and harassment allegations, grievances, redundancy, job transfer, management re-structuring or reduced hours, etc. Moreover, these mediation opportunities will often involve diversity differences, e.g. generational, race or ethnicity, gender, physical ability, faith and sexual orientation. The impartiality of a mediator and their D&I knowhow and the fairness and equality of the mediation structure means this approach is well placed to deal with such complex and sensitive disputes’ situations.
4. Flexible working
Smart employers from many sectors, both in the UK and beyond, now realise that a strategic approach to flexible working really can deliver business benefits. These can be summarised as:
· Improved work life balance and enhanced well being: delivering a positive impact on performance; plus real savings on reduced levels of absenteeism;
· Research clearly shows that flexible workers are more committed and challenges assumptions that part-time working shows reduced commitment – productivity levels are increased;
· Raised women returners’ rate delivering a greater return on investment – reduced recruitment, induction and down time costs;
· Improved attraction of talent – particularly generation Y who tend to see work/life balance issues as critical in their choice of career and employer;
· Potentially increased ‘oxygenation’ through sabbaticals and career breaks may encourage less committed employees to move on;
· Customer experience and service levels benefit from flexible working practices;
· Flexibility provides gaps to move people and projects, overcome skill shortages and opportunities to retain knowledge workers – perhaps as they near retirement age;
· Employers have found that they can gain significant savings on fuel, office costs, etc.
IDC has the experience and capability to help you deliver big gains on all of the above.
Dr Ian Dodds,
30 Dec 09