Measures to Implement Diversity and Inclusion
In the modern workplace, Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) are not just HR buzzwords. Even in traditionally male-dominated industries such as manufacturing, women are finding more opportunities as companies race to fill the skills gap.
In all job roles, ensuring optimal representation across gender, age, sexual orientation, physical disabilities, and other factors is finding a place in board room discussions. This encouraging change is providing new opportunities to talent pools which were left behind as companies discover new sources of skilled talent.
Not Just The Right Thing To Do, It Makes Good Business Sense Too
The hiring for D&I trend may have started its journey for purely ethical & social reasons. However, numerous studies have shown that companies who rank highly in terms of ethical & racial diversity are ~36% more likely to have financial returns above their industry peers’ medians.
Case in point, wireless service operator Nextel implemented a diversity training program in 1999 with the aim of creating a better environment for employees. Nextel saw an ROI of 163% from this investment as a result of higher employee retention rates.
So, how can enterprises implement D&I into their ethos?
Deploy The Power Of D&I Analytics
Transparency is key to the D&I movement.
Tech industry giants have not been very forthcoming with their diversity number unless specifically asked for. This needs to change. Leadership should take the onus and routinely publish their D&I figures & periodically recommit to meeting their diversity slate publicly.
A data-backed diversity dashboard will list headcount across gender, age, ethnicity, geographies, and is available to everyone from intern to CEO. This dashboard can then be used to gauge the enterprise diversity index and provides a starting point for identifying problem areas.
Backed with AI, this dashboard also highlights job roles where diversity can be improved upon by reskilling the existing minority talent. Talent intelligence platforms like Draup for Talent come with this feature built–in. It can also suggest optimal courses and career pathway simulations to fast track the reskilling process.
Leveraging analytics also helps enterprises focus on key D&I KPIs such as representation, pay equity, organizational diversity & talent sourcing.
Intelligent Diversity Insights With AI/ML
While D&I analytics have been crucial in prioritizing areas for intervention and actions, other technologies like AI and ML are also finding new applications.
Workforce planners are relying on sentiment analysis, AI, ML and pattern recognition to weed out unconscious bias from the recruitment process.
Textio, for example, used AI to perform Text Analysis on job postings so that the job description does not seem like it male-oriented. Vendors like HireVue and Pymetrics offer solutions that help with blind assessments aimed at specific skill sets, to reduce the likelihood that diverse candidates are screened out before they demonstrate capability.
A recent industry webinar hosted by From Day One discussed how to leverage technology to manage career growth without compromising diversity.
One of the key points of discussion was how AI-enabled tools are helping HRs make bias-free decisions right from talent hunting to career progression.
Monitor Your Diversity Program
Despite enterprises going above and beyond to ensure D&I initiatives are a success, a lot of them are noting that their top echelon is still woefully bereft of diversity.
Even learning & development initiatives are failing to provide minority talent with the leg–up they deserve. Reasons for these can vary from psychological to racial & geographical. We have covered these in detail in our piece on Hidden Challenges to Employee Learning.
AI helps in identifying these challenges before they take root within your organizations. It doesn’t just stop there. Workforce planners are also provided with actionable insights to correct their D&I course.
Another more personal approach is by managers taking personal sponsorship responsibilities to help diverse talent thrive. Women who return to the workforce report that having such guidance helped them ease into their roles. This report on Getting Women back into the IT workforce highlights just how important organizational diversity initiatives are and how crucial enterprise–wide buy-in is to the success of these initiatives.
Make It Informal
In celebration of Pride Month, a firm placed Kinsey scales on their employee bathrooms. Employees could anonymously mark where they stand on the rainbow of sexual orientation. Such an exercise lets minorities know that they’re not alone and also serves for other employees to mindful of the language they use.
It can be argued that such informal measures make more of an impact than formal training. Organizing resource groups for employees with shared identities is another great step companies can take to prevent the leakage of talent.
Approach D&I From All Angles
The hallmark of a good D&I program is that it incorporates multiple pathways to drive home the same message. As discussed above, this involves invoking the power of technology and revisiting some organizational diversity charters.
But before any of these measures can be implemented, stakeholders need to carefully audit their current D&I numbers to develop a holistic strategy.
Draup’s proprietary Diversity Navigator enables HR leaders to visualize ethnic and gender diversity across business functions, geographies, and job role taxonomies. By leveraging the insights from Diversity Navigator, HR leaders are empowered to elevate the career path of minorities, thus helping achieve true diversity & inclusion.
Combined with the Reskilling Navigator tool, the minority talent can be reskilled in emerging high-demand areas that are most in-sync with their existing skillsets. This helps in their career growth as well as in filling the growing talent gap.