Aitch Are Gives You...
After a few weeks pondering the world of work in the face of the continuing pandemic, the International HR Forum switched gears to how companies can advance their approaches to diversity, equality and inclusion from "just talking about it" to practical frameworks and initiatives that can lead to tangible results.
It was great to welcome Toby Mildon to facilitate the conversation, given the depth of experience he has had in many organisations in advancing the DEI agenda.
First up was a conversation on the challenges participants on the call have been facing. These included the following:
- How to accommodate significant differences that exist from one country to another.
- The breadth of what it can encompass.
- Being able to attract diverse candidates for specialist roles from limited labour pools.
- Lack of data to help with decision-making.
- Measuring the effectiveness of any initiative.
- Lip-service from leadership teams.
- Seen as a compliance or tick-in-the-box exercise.
- Low, or no, budget.
- More of a marketing/PR exercise.
- Short-term knee-jerk reaction to an issue or incident (e.g. George Floyd).
- Lack of shared ownership, it typically falls into HR's remit.
Toby said that quite often, taking all these challenges into account, the biggest challenge of all is where to start!
He recommended a simple framework to help build a plan:
- Establish: clarity, culture.
- Evolve: change, colleague experience, cyber.
- Enhance: collaboration, celebration.
The business benefits of genuine DEI are well documented: better results, improved engagement and productivity, enhanced ability to attract and retain, etc... So find your "why", and build your business case together around the following "C's":
We then talked around the key issues that will arise as you create and drive a program:
- How to engage with senior leaders. Understand the audience, think about their style, balance logic (have data to hand) with emotion (paint a picture of what life could be), be ready to have challenging conversations.
- Data is key. Qualitative and quantitative. And there are various ways of getting this e.g. self declaration, focus groups, questionnaires,
- Respect, empowerment,
- Culture. What are the key behaviours to support DEI? Six signature traits of effective leaders. Awareness of biases and blindspots, curious, collaborative, courage, commitment, cultural intelligence.
- Having an approach to managing change that works for your business e.g. John Kotter's 8-step change model which focuses on creating the right climate, engaging and enabling the business, and then implementing and sustaining change.
- Take a human-centred approach. Look at all people management practices through the lens of the target audiences.
- Have DEI champions at all levels.
- Lead from the top.
- Be clear on your employee experience.
- Understand the business benefits of any DEI program.
- Develop a personalised plan for your company.
For more info around the above, then Toby's book "Inclusive Growth: Future Proof Your Business by Creating a Diverse Workplace" dives into the nitty-gritty, and is a must-read. Available from all good retailers :)
A huge thanks for Toby for giving up his valuable time, and for leading such a thought-provoking session.
Connect with him: https://www.linkedin.com/in/tobymildon/
Access his free resources: https://mildon.co.uk/media/
Book a free consultation with him: https://calendly.com/tobymildon/meeting-with-toby-mildon
My summer holiday in Gozo beckons...perhaps. I took a risk a few months ago in booking it, and thankfully Malta was added to the green list last week. The Maltese authorities however won't allow people to enter unless they have proof of double vaccination, which we all have, apart from my daughter who has just the one. Yikes... Complicated, isn't it?
Wishing you all a good summer too, whether you are able to get away or are staying closer to home.
Until August then - be good, and stay safe.