With increasing scrutiny of corporate diversity and inclusion in all sectors, many experts believe that a good starting point is to gather as much current demographic data of your workforce as possible. The reason for this is to create an accurate picture of how diverse your company is. This picture can then provide some valuable insight into the culture and environment that allows some demographics to thrive and some that may feel uncomfortable and then leave after some time.
Companies regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority are piloting a scheme that makes diversity data gathering on company boards mandatory, as well as targets on gender and ethnicity. As noted in a recent update by law firm Pinsent Masons, “The ‘comply or explain’ targets proposed by the FCA are for at least 40% of the board to be women; at least one senior board position to be held by a woman; and at least one board member to be from a non-white ethnic minority background. Senior board positions include chair, chief executive officer, chief financial officer and senior independent director. The FCA said that the targets were not ‘quotas’, but rather designed to “provide a positive benchmark for issuers to report against.” If effective, many other regulated sectors could follow suit.
If you’ve gathered this data in your organisation, what do you see? Where are the gaps and discrepancies? And what do you do now? We offer a few tips that may help.
be honest and transparent
If your diversity data shows some notable gaps, then own up to them.
Platitudes and apologies will be no match for acknowledgement of such gaps, with a clear action plan – with timeframes – on how the gaps will be plugged. Scrutiny is high, and failure to acknowledge lack of diversity in your organisation will not be tolerated.
have some difficult conversations
To increase diversity, you must look into making your organisation more inclusive. Inclusion is rooted in organisational culture, so leaders have to be prepared to thoroughly examine what cultural aspects prevent this.
An efficient way to do this is to have open and honest conversations with those groups who are underrepresented in your employ. This is how you can realistically assess how inclusive your company’s culture is. Let’s face it: some of the talks you’ll have about this topic in the workplace will be awkward at times. Pushing through difficult conversations, on the other hand, is the only way to achieve progress and meaningful changes.
make meaningful change
When you’ve identified the issues, work to resolve them by implementing policies and culture changes that provide a psychologically safe space for all. You can build an environment where people want to work, contribute, and develop their skillset if you have the right culture in place. Think back to your action plan and stick to it.
how we help
You’ve designed the culture you need for increased inclusion and diversity, now comes the most difficult phase – getting your people to buy into, work with, support and enhance the change to make it a reality so your organisation can realise its full potential.
All the hard work you have done designing a new culture now has to be fully embedded to ensure that it is part of everyday life. Engaging Communications is a large part of this and we use our 4E’s Principles of Human Change to create these – Educate, Engage, Empower and Enable.
A programmatic approach is required to the review, prioritisation, re-design and implementation of the required changes – and this needs to form part of an overall implementation roadmap. We shape that roadmap, leveraging other strategic initiatives or change projects that are already underway so as a company you are achieving the best value from your investment and the fastest traction possible.
Our team-based embedding programme enables your people to transform the organisational culture, team by team, to embed the newly defined culture – at department, divisional, location or company level. We believe adopting the team-based approach provides some flexibility as the teams can be cross functional, functional or sub-teams allowing teams to set their own timetable albeit within the overall culture change milestones.
We’ll also provide overall culture programme leadership, support and challenge to both assure delivery to time, cost and quality and to provide input on specific re-designs e.g. behaviours frameworks, internal communications, process changes.