Although we are in the 21st century, work environments are far from safe and caring, and every organisation needs more than ever to be able to rely on the women and men who make up its workforce to navigate through uncertainty and the increasingly rapid transformations of our societies.
The theme of diversity and inclusion is now at the heart of organisational resilience and is therefore a critical cross-cutting issue for decision-makers and leaders of companies, departments, services and teams.
Diversity encompasses all aspects of differentiation between groups and individuals: age, gender, origin, disability, education, preferences. It aims to respect and value these differences.
Inclusion means business practices that fully accept and treat different groups and individuals fairly in order to benefit fully from the contributions of diversity.
Diversity therefore creates potential which inclusion will help to realise.
Climate change, economic crises, pandemics, changing consumption patterns or changes in the perception of the ‘world of work’ by new generations are just some of the elements that can dramatically affect the way an organisation functions and survives. Organisational resilience is the ability of an organisation to absorb and adapt to this unpredictability, while continuing to achieve the goals it has set itself.
Diversity does not always lead to inclusion
Let’s take the example of recruitment.
There are many biases that limit diversity, as recruiters tend to copy and paste and focus on stereotypes: a particular educational background, target age or gender, etc., and they sometimes have biases related to their beliefs or those of their internal clients.
Once this pitfall is overcome, when there is an open mind and recruitment focuses solely on what will really have an impact, i.e. the technical and behavioural skills and motivation of the person chosen, diversity can be broadened.
On the other hand, for inclusion to take place, the manager and his or her team will have to welcome this new person, allowing him or her to fully integrate into the team and bring his or her individuality and specificities.
Then, if the new recruit is a manager, it is possible that he or she will start to favour his or her own ethnic group and, through positive discrimination, slow down the inclusion process by shifting the barriers to entry to other groups.
This example illustrates the main mechanisms at play in enhancing diversity and inclusion.
Lack of consideration
Often, people from different social and ethnic backgrounds may feel excluded, or face barriers, especially to internal promotions.
Difficulty in creating and then developing social links will lead to a lack of networking and information sharing. As a result, opportunities to take on more responsibility will be very rare.
These elements can lead to a feeling of exclusion from the group, which will lead to demotivation and premature departures. Furthermore, these mechanisms will deprive organisations of the richness of diversity.
Analysis via the components of organisational resilience
Modern global companies function as organic networks of teams connected through digital interfaces where mutual understanding, collaboration and sharing of knowledge and expertise are fundamental. Diversity and inclusion not only retain talent and increase motivation, but above all it is the richness that will greatly enhance an organisation’s capacity to act.
Does the organisation base its action on shared values that promote diversity and inclusion? The ability of the organisation to translate these values into expected behaviours will be crucial to fostering diversity and enabling a deep inclusion that will bind the collective together and multiply its effectiveness.
Innovation and the ability to transform in order to adapt to the changes in our society are based on the diversity of the people in the teams, the fluidity of their exchanges and their skills. Here again, diversity appears to be a fundamental lever for the sustainability of organisations, a lever that will only be fully effective through the full mobilisation of this potential wealth.
Leaders therefore play a fundamental role, as they will be the master builders of this mobilisation. Upstream, by encouraging the recruitment and integration of various profiles, and then by facilitating the deployment of this collective intelligence. This support includes sharing feedback to encourage expected behaviour and transform inappropriate behaviour.
Through its studies, McKinsey constantly emphasises the very significant impact on economic performance of in-depth work to develop Diversity and Inclusion.
Similarly, Deloitte’s research demonstrates the importance of these themes for any organisation. Diversity and inclusion is a key driver for transforming organisations and therefore increasing their resilience and performance.
Finally, the Boston Consulting Group puts forward four major reasons for working on these issues: talent retention, increased innovation, better financial results, and alignment with investors’ expectations.
Fear is one of the most powerful barriers. At an organisational level, it impairs the ability to deal with crises and to reinvent oneself, by allowing strategies of withdrawal and standardisation of recruitment profiles to develop.
This search for certainty isolates us in an organisational comfort zone that reassures us. It is now time to dare to go beyond appearances and our beliefs to open up to diversity, the development and survival of our organisations depend on it!
At Skillspotting, we offer you the opportunity to visualise where you are in the deployment of a Diversity and Inclusion strategy.
For example, you will be able to visualise the male/female distribution of your local managers, your middle managers and finally your general management. When you know that mixed management teams achieve much better results, this is a critical assessment.
In the same way, you can analyse the distribution of the different populations by profession, by analysing their composition, by age, sex, training, origin, etc. and thus measure your current diversity effort by profession, by department, by site or by country.
We can also help you check that your managers have the right skills to support the increase in diversity on the one hand, but also the development of inclusion on the other. We will analyse the mastery of technical skills such as the ability to give feedback, to give meaning to the action… and also behavioural preferences such as openness, listening or assertiveness.
Beyond these fundamental elements for the analysis of a D&I (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion) strategy, we allow you to go even further by visualising the diversity, the mobilisation and the distribution of all the skills held by the company. While gender balance is an important indicator, it is not a good predictor of performance. On the other hand, the indicator of balance and diversity of skills is a strong predictor of the resilience of an organisation.
Finally, we enable you to reflect on the strength of your organisational culture and especially on its fit with the preferences of the people in your organisation.