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Promoting a culture of diversity positively impacts engagement, leadership and the bottom line
When it comes to creating a balanced organisational culture the value of investing in diversity cannot be underestimated. Positive diversity benefits such as better representing the customer base, avoiding groupthink and boosting innovation all add to improvements on the bottom line.
But any move to improve diversity across the organisation has to be approached in the right way in order to avoid resentment and keep engagement levels high. Positive discrimination can act against the organisation if it leads to individuals feeling that either they, or others, have been appointed in order to fill a quota rather than on merit.
In an effort to boost diversity HSBC has introduced a range of measures including a professional tennis program to support women who are returning to work after taking time off to care for children. It has also instructed recruitment firms to provide 50-50 candidate shortlists for all senior management positions. However, recognising that this could lead to accusations of quota appointments rather than appointments on merit, CVs for all senior and junior appointments will have names blanked out in order to remove any unconscious gender bias.
The idea has not been without its critics but if successful it should lead to an improvement in employee engagement as well as laying the foundation for a more positive leadership development programme which will be based purely on merit rather than on stereotype or bias.