Although, there is a lot of focus on diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace, however there isn’t enough diversity at the leadership level i.e. at the top level. Is there enough diversity in the leadership of your company? If not then you might be missing out on a lot of benefits like higher revenues, more innovation and better talent acquisition opportunities. But, the potential benefits and enthusiasm around the issue haven’t yet translated into more diverse workforce at the leadership level.
We published a blog earlier talking about 12 reasons to build a diverse workforce (You can read that blog by clicking here) . This blog is specifically about building diversity at the leadership level in an organization.The lack of diversity at the leadership level is a lost opportunity for the companies which are serious about creating an inclusive culture at the workplace. In order to get all the business benefits which inclusivity provides, a company’s commitment to diversity must be driven by the leaders at all the levels of leadership.
Most of the people think that only race, ethnicity and gender are known as diversity. However, diversity goes much beyond gender and race. There are other people who fall under diversity like aged persons, disabled people, less educated people, people from LGBTQ category, people from different religion, coming from different socioeconomic background and many more.
Every hire from the above group brings in a new perspective based on their experiences and adds to the company’s diversity and its potential. In order to succeed, your plan must start from the leadership level. Focus on the benefits of your organization and the bottom line.
Some studies have found that a diverse leadership is associated with more revenues and more profitability. So, a good place to start is with the financial upsides. Diversity results into more innovation and innovation drives more revenue in return. Moreover, diversity leads to a better return on recruitment and retention investments, as organizations which pursue diversity are better positioned to acquire the best talent and retain their employees for much longer.
Diversity in leadership gives the B to B companies an advantage with their prospective customers. As more and more leadership teams make diversity a top priority, they also have the same expectations of diversity from their suppliers too. Vendors who demonstrate their diversity practices are more likely to win the business from these companies.
Diversity drives the decision-making of the jobseekers, especially the millennials and the younger employees. The companies which aren’t diverse at all the levels risk losing the top talent to the competitors who are diverse. The organizations which have an inclusive hiring practices and a supportive culture are more likely to retain their best talent.
Diversity is a component of compliance which is getting more and more important each day. Like, few years back California enforced a law requiring all publicly held California based organizations to have at least one woman on their board of directors and by the end of 2021, women should make up 25 to 50 percent of these companies’ boards. So, the most efficient solution to an increasingly complex compliance scenario is to start diversifying your leadership as soon as possible.
If your company’s leadership teams aren’t diverse yet, then you can change that by taking the following important steps.
Although the business benefits of diversity are clear, however, diversity is a sensitive topic which calls for a very thoughtful implementation. In order to give your diversity implementation program the best possible start, consult the experts as and when you decide to diversify.
The diversity consultants have all the knowledge, resources and the sensitivity required to navigate the conversations and changes which come while starting a diversity program. These experts also have all the know-how to help your company comply with the applicable laws. Your company can start by hiring a consultant in order to help you strategize the elements of your diversity plan. Thereafter, you can decide if you need help in implementing it.
Once you have committed to diversifying, you should regularly speak the language of diversity and inclusion. You have to shift the culture within your workplace, by acknowledging where you’ve been and stating where you would want to go. The diversity goals must be stated clearly and by the leadership, as the departments and teams need to hear that leadership is serious about diversity and inclusivity.
When you’re recruiting for diversity at the leadership, the easiest way to diversify is to hire the best talent for each role without any discrimination. A great example which has been recently set, is by Chanel who appointed Ms. Leena Nair, a female leader with Indian origin as their Global CEO.This might require you to network and recruit in ways which are new for your company. So, you have to diversify your talent pipeline.
You should explore the traditional talent sources like professional networks which have served you well in the past. If your workforce is already diverse, then promoting to the management level from within should be a logical choice.
Otherwise, you may recruit from women’s colleges and universities and other schools with majority and minority student bodies. Advertise open management positions in the media which serves women and the minorities. If your company doesn’t have relationships in place with the minority and the women-centric professional groups, connecting with them will widen your pool of the potential talent.
As all human beings are unconsciously biased, so blind hiring is an approach to reduce the unconscious bias in hiring. As in blind hiring, with the names and other personal information removed from CVs, the recruiters can focus on the candidates’ accomplishments only without any influence of the identity of the person while shortlisting the candidates for the interview.
When you recruit from a diverse pool of talent and focus only on the achievements rather than the personal attributes, then it’s easier to select the best people for the job, regardless of anything else.
Diversity in leadership doesn’t stop as soon as you’ve diversified your team. In order to maintain the diversity and retain the new hires, your company should create employee resource groups which are known as ERGs. ERGs can support your diversity program by giving the employees a place where they can discuss all their issues that affect them and the interests they have in common. All are welcome in that group to discuss their issues and participate in the building diversity at all levels.
Diversity at the leadership level can bring in a lot of new perspectives and experiences to the leadership team which can help the organizations thrive by boosting the revenue for the business and matters of innovation. Further, it helps in attracting and retaining the best talent and appealing to the inclusion focused customers. Diversity is great but it’s the equal distribution of that diversity at all the levels which actually counts. It’ll really prove your mettle as a business if you have diversity in leadership.