Very few leaders are extraordinary, and in fact, most are mediocre. There’s three key, inter-related areas where businesses can focus
Diversity and equity with inclusion builds a sustainable workforce
Building and nurturing a diverse workforce is at the top of many human resources, executive leadership, and board meeting agendas.
The employees that are contributing to the diverse workforce are offering incredible advantages and are helping companies to accelerate their performance, drive rapid innovation, and create a highly competitive business that outperforms in their market.
The acute focus on diversity, equity WITH inclusion is a strategic imperative for employers to create a competitive workforce.
Why is The workforce more diverse than ever before?
The workforce is made up of a diverse range of people from many different backgrounds, circumstances, and experiences.
When people first think of diversity, they tend to consider proactively including a range of ethnicities, genders, and generations or ages. Diversity is more than that. It is ALL the ways in which we are different including family, abilities and disabilities, experiences, religion, sexual orientation, values, education, travel, and where we live.
So, why are we now more diverse than ever before?
The globalisation of the workforce has removed the restriction of hiring local talent. Virtual and remote technology has accelerated the opportunities to attract and hire the best talent from around the world.
We are now at a time where we are living longer and therefore working longer. Where previously people would retire at an earlier age, people are now needing to financially support themselves and therefore staying in the workforce for longer. At the other end of the spectrum the younger generations are entering the workforce earlier looking to rapidly expand their skills and experience and hungry to learn quickly, scaling their experience with the gig economy approach.
Dual income families
With the rise in the cost of living more family households have both parents working in part time or full time capacities. This family dynamic has created a higher demand for personalised support balancing the load of work and family life.
Demand for new skills
As the market progresses, new technologies, processes, and systems advance. As the rapid advancements are adapted in the workforce new skills are required to help effectively implement and deliver.
what are the potential challenges for you to be aware of?
Having a diverse workforce does have some challenges. Being aware of these challenges are important to be able to manage and nurture your workforce effectively.
Effectively managing diversity
With multiple generations in one workplace there will be different perspectives, experiences, and methods of working. If not managed correctly this can create a degree of conflict and indecisiveness in the workforce. Leaders need to adapt their leadership style to be able to lead and manage the different styles, skills, and approaches.
Making inclusion sustainable
Leaders are having to consider how they consciously include people through their formal and informal communication, meeting management, and social events. Inclusion is not just a buzz word. In the complex workforce leaders need to understand how to create a sustainable inclusive culture to maintain a positive work environment for their employees.
Creating simplicity through complexity
As a leader you need to be conscious not to over complicate meetings, management, systems, or people. Creating simplicity through clarity helps people deliver results. The greater the complexity the greater the possibility of disengagement.
what opportunities do you get from a diverse workforce?
There are many benefits to having a diverse workforce. How you engage your employees will determine the strength of those benefits and the opportunities you gain from them.
Perspective from different lenses
The depth and breadth of work and life experience from your workforce offers you an opportunity to understand business opportunities from multiple different lenses. These multiple perspective gives you diversity of thinking to help you grow.
Develops leadership capabilities
Managing and leading a diverse workforce requires strong leadership capabilities. Improving leadership capabilities across your business provides you with a strong foundation on how to lead people better.
Ideas that drive innovation
When people come together ideas can be generated. By including a diverse range of people, you can uncover new and different perspectives, obstacles, challenges, and opportunities. In doing so you reduce risk and accelerate progress. People bring perspective and perspective drives growth.
Creating a competitive workforce
Your workforce IS your competitive advantage. When you focus on creating a diverse workforce you can add huge value to your business through the intellectual property, skill, reputation, and culture that your workforce helps create.
The insight you have within your diverse workforce is invaluable. Including mentorship programs across departments and levels of seniority shares the knowledge, upskills on techniques, improves communication styles, and generates a higher level of inclusion across the business.
How can you better prepare for a diverse workforce?
Building a diverse workforce takes conscious effort. With the support of leaders, systems, processes, and human resources you can create a diverse and competitive workforce.
Update your recruitment processes
Updating your recruitment practices is critical to how you effectively source, select, and hire the right people for the right jobs and create a diverse and fair workforce. If this has not been a priority, it needs to be. Recruitment practices include your attraction strategies as well as your assessment and selection processes, and background checking. Having a well thought out process and selection criteria starts with a meticulous workforce planning analysis and the development of detailed and up-to-date job descriptions. From this foundation you can build bespoke recruitment processes that allow you to identify and capture the best talent on the market.
Remove conscious and unconscious bias
There is conscious and unconscious bias found in most recruitment processes. This bias discourages diversity. To remove the bias there needs to be a greater focus on the job description understanding objectives, methodologies, measurements, and outcomes. When you understand the intricacies of a job description you can source and select talent that meets that criterion, removing bias in the process.
Develop your leaders to manage effectively
Managing and leading such a diverse team provides so many benefits under the guidance of a strong leader. Invest in the leaders across your business by developing their leadership capabilities and emotional intelligence. When your leaders can effectively build, manage, and nurture a diverse team you have the foundations of a competitive and inclusive company.
Focus on your culture
The increase in diversity does shift your culture. Take proactive steps to monitor and adjust your culture so you can ensure the employee engagement remains high. Employee engagement has a direct impact on productivity. The focus on inclusion needs to be as much a priority as the diversity and equity.
Invest in training and development
Diversity, equity and inclusion is not just a quota or a buzz word. Diversity, equity and inclusion is a skill everyone needs to improve and develop. When you invest in developing the skills to understand and embed diversity, equity, and inclusion you create a more sustainable and competitive workforce. Your leaders set the standard. For this to be embedded effectively your leaders need to embrace and lead diversity and inclusion.
Hunton Executive can help you plan and build a diverse workforce.
For a comprehensive guide to attracting, recruiting, and retaining your talent contact Hunton Executive.
Being a leader is tough. Most people are okay at being a leader. Very few are extraordinary. The gap between