Half of A/NZ’s bosses have their heads in the sand when it comes to understanding the business and innovation benefits of diversity and inclusion.
That’s according to a survey of over 1,000 people across Australia & New Zealand by Hays.
According to Hays, there are several ways to move the dial forward on diversity and inclusion and address the challenges and opportunities these present:
• Use data to make the case: Collect diversity and inclusion data and use it to demonstrate the link to business performance. Design and use performance metrics and analytics to measure and quantify the performance of diverse teams. Focusing on performance in this way will, in turn, lead to diversity improvements.
• Be self-aware: Inclusive leaders should aim to ‘lead from the front’ as conscious and self-aware champions of change. They should learn to recognise their own unconscious biases, so they are able to mitigate any unintentional consequences these may have on the demographics and culture of the organisation they lead. Only then can they be seen as authentic champions of change in diversity and inclusion. Undergoing unconscious bias training can help leaders in this endeavour.
• Understand employee sentiment towards their leadership style: Building an inclusive workplace relies upon all employees having confidence that their opinions are heard, valued and respected equally. Inclusive leaders can inform themselves and encourage this by regularly seeking opinions about both the leadership style of those in positions of authority and how their diversity and inclusion strategies and actions are being received by employees across all demographic groups.
This can be done through regular face-to-face ‘town hall’ meetings and anonymous employee feedback ‘pulse surveys’. In addition to supporting their self-awareness, regular ‘health checks’ of employee opinions may help leaders investigate the reasons behind both positive and negative sentiment, and take active and transparent steps to increase trust, confidence and a sense of belonging amongst their workforce.
• Identify training needs: Diversity data is mostly sought during or following the recruitment of new employees, but it should also be collected throughout the employee lifecycle. Not only will this help inform an organisation’s diversity and inclusion commitments and progress, but it will identify any areas that can be addressed through leadership training, such as a lack of diversity in a particular team, unfair people practices or career development decisions.