Diversity and Inclusion Strategies & Implementation

Diversity and inclusion programmes help companies drive innovative results. Yet many industries still struggle with diversity and inclusion, often failing to attract diverse talent due to inclusivity issues in the workplace. For organisations looking to shape up their diversity and inclusion (D&I) programmes and policies, the change can be challenging, but also rewarding. Most companies enact change to deliver business value, and many who launch diversity and inclusion initiatives cite research showing that companies with more diverse teams outperform those with a more homogeneous workforce.

As 2018 research from McKinsey shows, greater diversity in the workforce results in greater profitability and value creation. The same holds true at the executive level, as McKinsey found a statistically significant correlation between diverse leadership and better financial performance. Companies in the top quartile for ethnic diversity at the executive level are 33% more likely to have above-average profitability than companies in the bottom quartile. When it comes to gender diversity, companies in the top quartile are 21% more likely to have above-average profitability than companies in the bottom quartile, according to McKinsey’s research.

While financial performance is a major driver of diversion and inclusion strategies, some organisations launching diversity initiatives in the face of government compliance regulations or to address shareholder pressure. In the United Kingdom, for example, companies are required to publish their diversity statistics. Organisations are also realising that make diversity and inclusion a business imperative will help them avoid tarnishing their reputation.

During 2020 and so far in 2021, many companies, including McDonald’s, Microsoft, Boeing, and Best Buy, made pledges to improve diversity hiring practices and introduce diversity and inclusion (D&I) training. The hiring of D&I professionals in general increased, too; more than 60 U.S.companies appointed their first-ever chief diversity officer (CDO). However, much of this work has not yet taken root. In one recent survey, 93% of leaders agreed that the D&I agenda is a top priority, but only 34% believed that it’s a strength in their workplace. In another survey, 80% of HR professionals viewed companies as  “going through the motions.” In other words, they didn’t notice any significant positive impact from the organisations’ actions. Another survey revealed that while 78% of black professionals believe senior leaders’ D&I efforts are well-intentioned, 40% hear more talk than action and have not noticed material changes to policies or culture. Meanwhile, many CDOs leave their roles because of a lack of strategic, financial, and political support.

One-off D&I “initiatives” do not effectively address these long-standing disparities. Instead, leaders should infuse D&I throughout their organisations. Based on our experience and research, we have developed five strategies that can turn diversity and inclusion into an improved employee experience and a strategic advantage for the enterprise.

Change starts from the CEO positions

The CEO needs to take a public stance, embed D&I in the organization’s purpose, exemplify the culture, and take responsibility for progress toward goals. They need to be out front, even if a CDO is part of the team.

PwC’s U.S. chairman, Tim Ryan, has been an exemplar for at least five years. He co-founded CEO Action for Diversity and Inclusion after police shootings in the summer of 2016 to spur business executives to collective action on D&I. The publication of PwC’s workforce diversity data in 2020 revealed that women and people of color are underrepresented, especially at senior levels, showing that even the most dedicated companies still have a lot of diversity and inclusion work to do.

Nielsen’s CEO, David Kenny, added the CDO title to his leadership portfolio in 2018 so he could “set hard targets for ourselves and make those transparent to our board and measure them like we measure other outcomes like financial results.” He relinquished that title to a new CDO in March 2020, noting the D&I progress his team had already made.

Diversity and Inclusion Should Be Key Part OF Business Strategy

D&I is far more than an “HR issue.” It should be a core ingredient in the design and execution of business strategy and embedded in the activities of the organisation day in, day out. Increasing the number of non-white individuals involved in the strategy process will help develop a core purpose that better reflects a broader group of customers and employees. It also gives the organisation more opportunities and places to succeed.

Alex Gorsky, chair and CEO of Johnson & Johnson, who has put diversity and inclusion at the center of his pursuit of sustainable competitive advantage, said, “The best innovations can only come if our people reflect the world’s full diversity of individuals, opinions, and approaches.” A diverse design group is more likely to create products and services that work for a diverse clientele, avoiding biased assumptions, generalizations, or shortcuts. When organizations test products and services on a diverse group of potential clients and employees, it’s easier to identify the variations necessary to enhance the adoption of the final offering. And, when a company has an enterprise-wide D&I strategy, leaders can use it to guide the selection of operating ecosystem partners that are aligned with its D&I intentions.

Every Voice Should be Welcomed, Heard and Respected

Most often employees quit jobs when they feel that their authentic self and uniqueness is not appreciated or valued. As such, it is vital to create an environment where they feel a sense of connectedness to the company and its people. Employees need to feel free to express themselves based on their unique perspectives. 

When it comes to supporting diversity and inclusion in the workplace, don’t play favorites, practice basic courtesy, and pay special attention to how you can embrace non-discriminatory practices and policies. Employees feel included when they feel “safe” to voice their concerns and opinions without fear of victimization. The freedom of expression without fear also empowers companies to not just listen to but also actively embrace diverse viewpoints.

One great way to do this is to invest in a workforce communications platform. By integrating all your communications channel into one platform, you will reach each worker on their preferred channel. You will truly help your workforce feel connected and included in larger company initiatives and goals. Also, you will gain insights from unified analytics to understand how best to meet their needs and help them thrive. And you’ll provide a personalized employee experience that is inclusive and allows all voices to be heard.

Multigenerational Workforce

Today, millennials make up the vast majority of the workforce. Having a workforce that recognizes and accommodates multiple generations is essential in building a diverse and inclusive workforce. And while millennials are generally known for being tech savvy, bear in mind this generation encompasses ages 22 to 38. The older millennials might not have the same proficiency with tech tools as their younger counterparts. You can really see this at work in communications practices. Sometimes certain employees are more comfortable using social channels, for example, or group chat functions. On the other hand, employees of older generations might not embrace such communications channels so readily.

Again, communications professionals can invest in a workforce communications platform to easily and efficiently create and send messages via channels that employees prefer; this will help communicators craft messages that will appeal to all generations, and encourage engagement. There’s widespread agreement on the need to improve diversity and inclusion in the workplace. But it’s not easy to deliver on the promises made. It’s time to adopt a more systematic, coherent approach. By following these strategies, leaders can make more progress and create a more representative, fair, and high-performing workforce.

Given our current situation knowing that your colleagues or employees are best suited for this new scenario we find ourselves in. Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation can be a very challenging task. It is now important to find out whether your managers or your team is well-equipped of working together from various locations. It requires deep knowledge of their personalities, strengths, weaknesses, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you discover if your people are resilient during times of hardship, if they are autonomous, if they are team players, without actual human contact. Given that our platform is cloud-based, everyone can use it from home as well. Humanity finds itself at a crossroad for various reasons now, why not help people discover and develop themselves from the comfort of their own homes?

Request a free demo:



Workplace Diversity Training: How it Should be Done

Nowadays, workplace diversity has become a must to any company that wishes to expand its reach. Organisations now take part in an ever-growing worldwide economy, are they must acknowledge the fact that they need to adapt towards a multicultural workplace environment and the many benefits they can have from workplace diversity.

This issue is most often than not addressed through the organisation of training programmes. However, research done on the effectiveness of such programmes has brought up mixed results. Some studies have suggested that diversity training is efficient, while others have shown that it may as well lead to backlash between employees. All of these inconclusive results have led to widespread pessimism towards diversity training.

It is common knowledge that people/employees coming from various cultural backgrounds have distinctive ways in which they interpret languages, signs and formalities. To be more precise, these differences can be seen in the way in which culturally diverse people communicate, approach conflict and make decisions. In layman terms, having a diverse work environment is beneficial for the organisation, due to advantages in areas such as return on investment, productivity, teamwork and employee engagement. More often than not when we think about diversity, the first few things that pop into our heads is ethnicity, religion, age and gender. Nonetheless, people need to understand that diversity in itself encompasses so much more than that. Diversity can bring to light qualities different from our own, perceptions that we may have developed of others, how our initial approach to interactions differs and many other traits that separate us from everyone else.

It has become abundantly clear to that employees do not have to love or like each other at work, but co-existing is a must. It is imperative they cooperate and communicate efficiently, despite their differences and their contrary beliefs regarding sensitive issues that may be brought up during diversity training. Whether we are talking about a half-a-day diversity programme, or an 8-hour programme, or even a 40-hour diversity programme, won’t change an employee who doesn’t want or is not ready to open his mind and definitely longer is not better.

The effectiveness of diversity training depends on the methods that are being used – whether we are talking about quizzes, small-group discussions, instructor-led discussions or even role-playing exercises – the personalities of the people who are being trained and, of course, the way in which the outcomes are being measured.

In a recent training exercise which was analysed and shows a lot of promise is perspective-taking. Basically, this type of programme represents the process of mentally walking in a stranger’s shoes. By taking the perspective of members of LGBT or racial minorities, people were asked to write a few sentences on what type of challenges a minority may face. The first effects could be seen almost immediately, with a rise in pro-diversity attitudes. In a follow-up done 8 months after the initial training the same effects were even more present and even some crossover effects. The people who took on the perspective of LGBT members have shown more positive attitudes and behaviours towards racial minorities and the other way around.

Another type of exercise that was successful is goal setting. Even though this exercise is more commonly used when managers wish to motivate or improve someone’s job performance, this strategy can be implemented with great success by asking participants to set specific, realistic and challenging goals in relation to workplace diversity. For example, one trainee sets the goal of challenging inappropriate comments about racial minorities when hearing them in the future – while also offering the trainee all the necessary information on how to handle such situations. The goal setting exercise proves to be successful with pro-diversity behaviours being shown three months after receiving the initial training and improved attitudes nine months from initial training. The effects are noticeable and notable, given the fact that diversity training is done once maybe twice a year.

Of course, for these training programmes to be as effective as possible personality characteristics must be taken into account, due to the fact that one type of exercise may be more effective for some employees than others. For example, perspective-taking is going to be more effective for people who lack empathy. Individuals who have a high level of empathy are more than willing to engage in their very own perspective-taking. People with low empathy levels require this training programme to act as a jump-start cable.

In conclusion, ensuring effective communication in culturally diverse organisations involves a deep understanding of cultural biases and social assimilation dynamics. Other than the language barrier, there are cultural perceptions and differences that make us different from one another. Organisations that want to have a strong competitive edge in this ever-changing marketplace must carry out effective training programmes that will enable their employees to work as a collective.

This is where Great People Inside comes to your aid. Our online platform offers the best solutions and tools for your company to thrive in every type of industry and any possible situation your organisation may find itself. In terms of lowering your employee turnover rates, we recommend our GR8 Full Spectrum assessment for hiring and 360° Survey for retention. Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation can be a very challenging task. It requires deep knowledge of your own organisation’s culture and a keen understanding of the candidate’s personality, strengths, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you find employees who can flourish and reach the highest performance required to constantly bring your company forward.

Request a free demo: