Diversity and inclusion (D&I) have become serious buzzwords in recent years with a glaring spotlight on the differences between ages, genders, races, disabilities and more in the workplace. Developments in world beliefs, economies, populations and technologies have changed diversity all over the globe and yet decision-making practices have changed little in many companies.
This apparent gap between demographics in the population and that currently seen in companies is not only starting to affect reputations, but research has also shown that it’s simply ineffective.
It’s time that businesses stopped treating diversity and inclusion as buzzwords in the workplace and go beyond short-term training to taking equality seriously with unbiased decision making.
Diversity & Inclusion in the workplace now encompasses more than just gender or age. This means that a policy on inclusion would include more demographics, and therefore a wider talent pool, than ever before. Today, people are able to stay in work much longer, globalisation connects companies to people from all over the world with ease, more women than ever are looking to take on traditionally male roles and accessibility of technology has given people with disabilities the opportunity to take on the workplace. This new, bigger talent pool is there to be tapped into, and the benefits speak for themselves.
A more diverse global population means a more diverse customer base, and customers tend to buy from companies that reflect their own beliefs and values. Having a company with demographics that customers can identify with, and products or services that are influenced by the same beliefs and values is essential for competitive success in today’s climate.
Businesses that do this right can connect to a wider customer base than ever before with consumers from all over the globe and from all walks of life. Those that don’t are at risk of stagnating or, worse, losing their hard-won customer base.
Just as customers are drawn to inclusive companies, so are today’s potential employees. The best talent recognises the importance of diversity & inclusion in the workplace and comes from a huge range of varied backgrounds themselves. These potential employees and leaders simply won’t apply or stick around for a company that doesn’t share those same values or recognise the value of their own background. Not only do you benefit from the skills this talent can bring, but you’ll also reduce turnover associated with the absence of a diversity and inclusion strategy.
When it comes to business, ten heads really are better than one, and ten different heads are better still. Inclusion means more diverse collaboration which drives new thinking, ideas and ultimately innovation. This innovation directly translates to business success on the bottom line, from developing industry-leading products to identifying untapped efficiencies within the workplace. In the UK, for example, research has found that every 10% increase in gender diversity alone at the executive level results in a 3.5% increase in company earnings.
A strategic plan for Inclusion and diversity is something that businesses should not need a crystal ball for. Whether businesses are prepared for it or not, the workforce has already changed and it will only continue to change in the future. Technology, law, economy and much more will continue to compound and create an ever more diverse workforce.
The companies that start taking inclusion more seriously today will be the most capable of securing and utilising this diverse talent in the future. At a time when businesses invest millions in trying to predict future trends to stay competitive, diversity and inclusion are all but guaranteed.
So, how should businesses go about becoming more diverse and inclusive? The reason why so many haven’t already is because diversity can be a challenge, mostly because it’s often not intentional or even immediately visible. We can see a lack of inclusion by looking at employee data – by analysing demographics across the business and comparing them to roles and levels as well as turnover metrics, but by then it might be already too late.
The cause of this problem often happens much earlier and goes unnoticed, an unconscious bias that led to non-inclusive decision making. Managers make decisions based on a ‘gut instinct’, often unconsciously hiring or rewarding employees that they naturally identify with and are typically more ‘like them’.
The other challenge is scale. Decisions happen at every stage of the employee experience and throughout the whole business, from hiring to promotions. This means that there is room for diversity & inclusion unconscious bias at every stage, a scale that is often intimidating and a huge barrier for businesses looking at making their workplace more diverse.
The good news is that technology has come a long way, and there are now solutions to help solve this seemingly big and invisible problem.
The key to defeating unconscious bias is two-fold. First, remove bias by relying on the facts. Collecting and utilising data instead of falling back on that famous ‘gut-instinct’ means decisions can be based on true skills, performance and more.
Secondly, this data-driven decision making needs to be implemented throughout so that it becomes the default. This eliminates the ‘unconscious’ part of biased decision making and cultivates a truly inclusive culture while also ensuring diversity best practices permeate every level of the business and employee experience.
Achieving this requires powerful data and intelligent workflows. Collecting the right demographic and performance data about every employee is essential for implementing and tracking these inclusive practices while automation helps to remove human bias and ensure consistency. Luckily, such superior software does exist.
The SuccessFactors suite provides innovative and unique tools to collect and use all the data you would need for superior insights plus intelligent workflows and processes. There is a module for every stage of the employee experience to improve every important decision affecting your employees. Take a look at just a few of the things you can achieve with SuccessFactors to improve diversity in the workplace.
Access over 4,000 diverse sources including job boards, colleges, universities and social networks from over 80 countries to the widest talent pool possible. It helps to eliminate bias by improving recruitment based on the data. Look at which sources are providing the most successful candidates and which candidates stay the longest and perform the best after employment. You can also use the central job analyser tool to form a panel of interviewers and eliminate individual bias, plus conduct gender bias scans for a gender-balanced applicant pool.
Writing assistance tools help to keep feedback consistent and provide best-practice blueprints and real-time tips to managers so that they can provide feedback within the parameters of what the business decides is important, not on gut-instinct. Plus, provide more frequent job-related feedback based on accomplishments as and when they happen to ensure all employees are receiving the best opportunity to improve.
Social collaboration tools can be implemented to make the most out of your more diverse workforce. Enable employees to work within their teams and across the business with ease to stimulate diverse collaboration and drive new ideas and innovation.
SuccessFactors Learning can help with workplace diversity on two levels. First, implement training courses to teach managers about unconscious bias, promote diverse thinking and start to cultivate an inclusive culture. These courses can be taken in managers’ own time and at their own pace from anywhere, or make them a mandatory course to regulate diversity.
Next, make sure everyone in the business receives the same development opportunities with a self-service learning portal. Provide everyone with the chance to gain both soft and hard skills from on-the-job training to leadership. You can even enable everyone the chance to access mentors across the business and match employees and mentors based on skills and roles rather than biased demographic decisions. Data and analytics help managers to track employee progress and reward achievements.
Empower managers and employees to track and recognise achievements at any time and stimulate open conversion about salaries and bonuses. Use compensation metrics, relevant employee data and calibration tools to make sure these pay decisions are fair and objective.
Aligning award categories to behaviours you want to encourage ensures that compensation is automatically assigned based on achievement, not bias, and calibrating team compensation-ratios allows increases based on absolute values to reduce pay inequities.
Photoless calibration capabilities in SuccessFactors Performance & Goals help to prevent bias before it even happens so promotion decisions can be based on achievement and skill alone. Visualisation tools help to get an overview of gender diversity to help you spot possible bias in management and executive roles and adjust your decision making accordingly. Talent search capabilities means you can search your existing talent pool for the skills that fit your current vacancies so you can make unbiased succession decisions.
Want to find out more about how you can create a diverse & inclusive culture in your workplace with SuccessFactors? Contact us today or book your demo and see the solution in action.