A company culture where employees feel empowered to use their voice is the most crucial talent imperative facing workforce planners today. A Gallup poll revealed that only 55% of US workers feel that their organization prioritizes Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) policies.
This low figure is especially worrying when contrasted with the percentage of new-age workers (64%) for whom diversity is a crucial factor before accepting a job offer.
Achieving diversity in the workplace is not just an ethical metric that needs to be ticked off to placate stakeholders. It is also a fiscally important metric. Companies in the top quartile for ethnic and cultural diversity experience ~40% more profitability than those in the bottom fourth quartile.
We have covered these benefits in detail in our discussion on Measures to Implement Diversity & Inclusion.
In this post, we will focus our discussion on highlighting some best practices when it comes to implementing D&I through some exceptional case studies.
Outreach Programs Should Be Your First Step – IBM
Nothing shows the world that you’re serious about your D&I program than a fully-fledged outreach program. These outreach initiatives show that you are actively seeking to incorporate diversity into your company ethos and are willing to go the extra mile to make people feel more inclusive.
A great example of this is IBM’s Girls’ Outreach Program. Started in 2008 to mitigate the declining pipeline of female tech talent, the program encourages girls to think seriously about a career in tech and business. The highly successful program targets girls in the 15-16 years age range and offers them a chance to shadow senior employees and gain practical experience to increase their knowledge and skills. This has a direct correlation with the number of girls expressing interest in taking up an apprenticeship or participating in future placement drives.
Since 2012, the program has shifted focus to schools with a high percentage of Black, Asian & Minority Ethnic (BAME) students.
Set Ambitious Goals & Achieve Them – Accenture
Accenture was ranked no 1 in the Thomson Reuters’ 2018 D&I index. They were ahead of their peers by a large margin. Their secret?
The company set an ambitious challenge to achieve 50/50 gender balance by 2025 and have women comprise 25% of their managing directors by 2020.
To achieve this, the company has taken several steps, including:
- Setting clear & measurable diversity targets and publishing its workforce demographics across countries like the US, India, Japan, & South Africa.
- Driving initiatives that provide women with training for in-demand skills like AI, Analytics, Cloud etc.
- Collaborating across business and government to further gender equality in the workplace.
Suffice to say, by attuning the entire organization towards achieving this goal, Accenture has completely overhauled its hiring and promotion strategies.
Other top IT enterprises are actively hiring diverse talent across different sexual orientations, ethnicities & physical disabilities as well.
Set Up Empowerment Programs for the Marginalized– GAP
The garment industry is notorious for exploiting cheap labour in third-world countries. Most of the clothes available in the Western world are often spun by underpaid, female workers in countries like Bangladesh and India.
Launched in 2007 by apparel giant GAP, the Personal Advancement & Career Enhancement (PACE) program is actively imparting women with foundational life skills, technical training and support to help them advance in their professional and personal lives.
In 2016, GAP expanded the program to include adolescent girls as well. As of 2020, over 500,000 women in 17 countries have undergone this life-changing program.
Empowerment programs can even be something like creating health insurance coverages for transgender folks as well. Most of us take our health coverage for granted. However, traditional coverages often leave out conditions that are unique to the transgender community. The Lalit Suri Hospitality Group in India has taken their inclusivity measure to the next level by not only hiring trans individuals but also providing them coverage for Sex Affirmation surgeries in their medi-claim.
Best Practices To Ensure D&I
While the above case studies have been eye-opening in regards to how far some companies are willing to go to create an inclusive atmosphere, they are simply not practical for enterprises operating at a smaller scale.
Draup has curated the following list of best practices to help workforce planners ensure that the workplace does not leave a particular community behind.
- First & foremost, perform a thorough audit of your existing diversity scenario. The first step to solving a problem is acknowledging it.
- Ensure that everyone, from the janitor to the CEO, is committed to upholding diversity values. This has to be ensured right at the onboarding process itself.
- Opt for transparency wherever possible. It’s one thing to boldly proclaim that you are inclusive, and another to publicly display the numbers to back your claim. This diversity dashboard should be accessible at all times and visible to every stakeholder.
- Develop a D&I roadmap. This could be something as simple as committing to hire women to a certain percentage of leadership roles or even something as like committing to create safe spaces & environments for minorities to air their grievances.
- Monitor & report on progress. Ideally, every company would have a Chief Diversity Officer to take care of this. If not, there should be a SPOC for all diversity-related matters.
You can also make use of third-party consultants or tools like Draup’s Diversity Navigator to help your enterprise achieve its diversity goals.
Using the Diversity Navigator, you can recruit candidates with queries such as “female data analyst in the Bay Area”, “Black female data scientist in New York” or “Transgender Sales Executive in Denver.”
The tool also features a Hiring Opportunity Index and provides a deep dive into their skill sets while also ranking them in terms of New-Age skills set.