Today’s workforce is the most diverse workforce in history. Modernity ushered in a special concoction of people of different races, ages, genders, ethnic groups, religions, and lifestyles to work together. The goal of any organisation is to synchronize how these varying pieces of talen move together in a harmonious,coordinated way. Hiring managers look to utilize and leverage the abilities, talents, and perspectives of each employee to give the organization a competitive advantage. Research conducted by McKinsey highlights diversity is substantial for a business’s bottom line: ethnically diverse companies were shown to be 35% more likely to have financial returns above the national industry median.
What’s a framework to evaluate your diversity needs?
Organizations can take a page from a process created by famed entrepreneur and speaker Tony Robbin’s Strategy, Story, and State. Robbins’ system may have been invented to explain how an individual can reach their goals, but it provides a helpful structure organizations can leverage for reaching their diversity goals.
Strategy is the tools and processes that you need to make the change within your organization. This includes the roadmap to creating new policies, like a diversity and inclusion plan. It’s incorporating video interview tools to create barrier-free interviewing. Strategy is learning from current employees about how they feel diversity and inclusion is being addressed by upper and middle management.
Strategy supports companies to find experts who have succeeded in implementing a colorful workforce. HIring and recruiting teams don’t have to figure it out for themselves. Find diversity coaches or workforce equality consultants to review policies or to give feedback on how to make the interviewing process more equitable. Strategies are helpful in getting you there, much like a personal trainer supports you in getting into shape for an Iron Man or an art teacher guiding you to new techniques.
You don’t need to reinvent the wheel of diversity policies. Take a page from the best and learn what other companies are doing. The world's largest PC vendor, Lenovo, for example, has their own Chief Diversity Officer who states, “More than out-of-the-box thinking, because it’s not just one box. It’s a hundred different boxes. A million different boxes. It takes every dimension of our diversity. All our diverse mindsets, skills, and cultural backgrounds, to deliver such a wide array of technology.” Or learn from the multinational beauty company, L’Oréal, who boasts women make up 69% of the workforce and 53% of key positions.
As much fun brainstorming strategies is, it’s not the way to implement diversity and inclusive hiring practices. We’ve probably had the experience of reading a book or watching a movie and thinking, “That could never work for me because…”. That’s a belief system. Those same kinds of self-limiting talk spreads to coworkers, teams, and a company culture.
What is the story you tell (or your company tells) about diversity at your company?
“We’re already doing enough”
“Our teams are pretty diverse”
“We’ve tried everything”
“We’re afraid that if we push ‘diversity’ too much, because we’ll sacrifice quality”.
Hiring teams should consider what story they tell themselves--good or bad. Reexamine the stories or narratives that don’t move your company forward. After all, research strongly shows diversity is a competitive advantage. It’s worthwhile to examine how diversity is addressed, viewed, and implemented in each department, office, and at all levels throughout the company. Gather a baseline of sentiment and to gain understanding about how it’s prioritized.
State is often referred to as a particular physiology, when body, mind, and spirit are aligned. A state could be positive or negative. Disappointment is a state. Hopeful is a state. After diagnosing and reevaluating the belief systems within your company, time to adjust the organization’s “state of mind”.
An organization’s state has a powerful effect when it comes to succeeding. This is not only helpful in a diversity and inclusion plan. A can-do state was what made Apple engineers pull all-nighters to release the first iPhone on time; a state of honesty supports Bridgewater Associates retaining the top position as the world’s most successful hedge fund ($160 billion under management).
A positive state is when an organization feels “on”, like they are powerful and can handle anything thrown their way. Because it’s so powerful, it’s important to encourage a positive state when it comes to diversity and inclusion practices.
What’s the first step in gauging our organization’s Strategy, Story, and State?
Determine the focus
Focus equals direction. Our focus determines on where our energy flows. If your team has a belief that diversity policies are quite good already, you may want to examine which areas are they referring to? Employee policies? Staffing? Hiring? Bringing in various speakers for monthly workshops? Learn where a team’s focus has been centered traditionally.
Focus may mean understanding there is so much to do, but you’re not sure where to start. Again, focus on a small area to improve diversity and inclusion. It could be creating and sending out a survey to managers to learn about their attitudes towards diversity. Keep focused to succeed.
A few questions to ask yourself (or ask within a team) is:
- What do we tend to focus on: what we can control or what we can’t control?
- Do we tend to focus on what we have or what’s missing?
- Do we tend to focus on the future, the present or the past?
Creating a diverse workforce centers on teaching and learning from others who are different and providing a workplace that promises dignity and respect for everyone. The culture, environment, and company practices are tools to cultivate learning from each other to create a competitive advantage. In short, synergy and information between various team members should flow to create a sustainable company.
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