The IoD’s commitment to Inclusive Business aims to provide members and business leaders in general with the tools they need to foster an inclusive culture within their organisation; but how to ensure these essential attributes of any modern business are effectively put in place?
What better place to start than with your people and your approach to talent and recruitment.
Here, Raj Tulsiani, CEO of Green Park, shares his perspective of the D&I landscape and how you should be equipping your workforce with the knowledge and ability to drive this crucial topic area to the top of your organisation’s cultural agenda.
Many of you reading this article will have achieved success by challenging industry norms. Your success will undoubtedly be linked to your appetite for innovation and passion for your customers.
Your approach to talent and recruitment should be just as challenging, innovative and passionate. Diversity breeds ideas, new approaches and innovations and that’s why a great mix of people and an inclusive culture should be equally fundamental to achieving your workforce goals and brand aspirations.
I hope that, by now, you’re familiar with the extensive evidence base that supports why diversity and inclusion is vital to be a successful business. To achieve greater diversity in your company, you need to be attracting, developing and retaining the best people for your organisational journey, irrespective of their background or social grouping. This is the mission of Green Park; help change how leaders think about Talent. In order to do that we have to raise standards and challenge biases that still hinder the thinking around diversity in businesses today.
If you appreciate that diversity and inclusive culture is an area you need to invest in, the starting point is to understand your company’s current position and be honest about it. You will feel uncomfortable about it, and that’s ok. If you’re a small or medium size enterprise, working out your diversity may seem like an easy counting task. However, diversity is much more than gender or ethnicity, and striving for greater diversity is impossible without understanding the benefits of a more inclusive culture. A D&I “health check” enables you to not only understand the representation within your organisation, it analyses where you’re vulnerable to bias in your work context and enables you to objectively learn how well your organisation is leveraging difference or losing touch with a changing customer demographic.
Talent and recruitment are our areas of utmost specialism. We help businesses to change the face of talent in senior roles, knowing that change at the top will create a movement throughout the organisation. To achieve diversity through recruitment, you need to cast your net wide at the start of the process and ensure that process widens the goal posts without ever dropping the bar. It’s no good reaching out through your usual routes if you want more choice; you need to tap into a network of diverse talent. This network is something Green Park have cultivated for years.
During the process, wherever possible interviews should be conducted with a panel or duo of interviewers who are ideally from a mixture of backgrounds or have an impact assess scoring matrix. Not only does it mean you get diversity of thinking in your assessment of the interviewee, but it is more likely to put the interviewee at ease and you will get the best from them to guide your choice and justify your ultimate decisions.
The idea of bringing a new person into your business is that they will thrive and contribute as a top performer. But one size doesn’t fit all and it’s important to remember that if people from a greater diversity of backgrounds will prosper in your business, they will have different needs. Try not to make assumptions, instead ask people what it is they will need to make them the best for your company. Our experience tells us that you should not fear the response to this question. Most people are reasonable in what support they need and, in turn, you’ll no doubt find ways to be reasonable in how you can assist.
For diversity to succeed, it needs to be cultivated in the right culture or a culture more trusted than your competitors for the same talent. This is why the inclusivity of a business’ culture has rapidly become one of the most vital attraction and retention qualities.
Your real (not aspirational) culture needs to be demonstrated through all touch points in your employee life cycle, right from the portrayal of your business on your company website, to the recruitment experience and in your annual reporting process. As a director of your company, the inclusivity of your voice and your actions are being observed by those at work for you, but from you and compete with you. Simply put, you need to be an inclusive leader for your people to follow you and for your business to succeed if you start talking about Diversity at all.
Overall, we encourage you to:
• Discover the truth about your company’s diversity representation and inclusive culture
• Monitor both quantitative and qualitative data, auctioning it for your own commercial interest
• Be transparent inside and outside your organisation about your performance and aspirations for diversity and inclusion
The risk of ignoring this agenda is substantial. Leadership diversity is associated with performance and can have a profound impact on productivity and profit. However, our analysis reveals that the most senior people driving strategy for businesses are not representative of the customer groups they serve, and diverse leadership is what can give them a proven competitive edge. Therefore, it should be a priority to explore diversity and inclusion in your business and determine your strategy ahead.
Green Park has championed diversity and inclusion for over twelve years. Since our inception, we have placed the promotion of equality, diversity and inclusion at the heart of our business. As a result, we hold ourselves accountable for not only setting but meeting a higher standard by widening the gate without lowering the bar. We know our own diversity and inclusive culture is what has led us to be one of Europe’s fastest growing companies. We want more companies to enjoy the same growth by realising the significance of diversity of talent and creating inclusive cultures.
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