Home Business Acknowledgement without action – simple steps companies can take to drive diversity and inclusion efforts

Acknowledgement without action – simple steps companies can take to drive diversity and inclusion efforts

by jcp

By: Rob Symons, SVP, EMEA, SmartRecruiters

Diversity is a business imperative. Not only are 70% of diverse companies better positioned to capture new markets, but companies with racial and ethnic diversity are 35% more likely to perform at a higher level and increase ROI. More than ever before organisations are making statements about diversity and inclusion, speaking about it more and discussing its importance – but tangible evidence of change is lacking.

According to SmartRecruiters’ 2021 State of Diversity Hiring Report, which surveyed over 40 talent leaders across EMEA, North America, LATAM, and APAC, 51% of organisations have no processes set to achieve diversity and hiring goals. Globally, there is a significant gap between awareness and action, and as consequence companies are struggling to translate their vision into a concrete strategy that attracts and retains diverse talent.

People are well-intentioned, they want diversity. But nothing has changed in the last 10 years other than more conversations. Why? In reality – it’s because companies are failing to adopt simple strategies that will help drive the overall Diversity, Equality & Inclusion (DEI) policy.

What are brands missing to drive DEI change? 

Organisations are missing opportunities to publicly share their diversity commitments. 56% of respondents in the SmartRecruiters survey reported they don’t consistently publicise their diversity plans, commitments, metrics, and outcomes. However, more diverse organisations attract more candidates and are ultimately more successful. We are entering a talent shortage internationally as well, and to attract the best talent, and the next generation of talent – companies must showcase commitments to DEI and be able to back it up with authentication.

By investing in Diversity Brand Equity, an organisation does more than protect its overall brand reputation. It also gives its business a powerful competitive recruitment advantage, one that improves its ability to prioritise attraction, accessibility, and positive interactions, creating a better candidate experience for the talent you need.

Building Diversity Brand Equity isn’t a task that can be left to the DEI team alone. Attracting diverse talent requires a deliberate, highly strategic partnership between DEI, talent acquisition, and marketing teams.

Plan, set, action, budget 

DEI initiatives require a complete plan, from setting specific, realistic goals, to measuring and assessing progress toward those goals, to developing mechanisms for governing DEI programs. Additionally, the C-suite must authorise sufficient funding and resources to carry out the strategy and revamp the infrastructure needed to achieve DEI goals.

Yet, most organisations are barely scratching the surface. Only 32% have a budget that aligns with their stated objectives. Additionally, only 21% of companies surveyed have defined strategies and processes for calibrating diversity hiring goals and only about 26% of them have a way to assess progress.

Only when responsibility is well defined, and the process is mapped out and committed to, can an organisation achieve lasting DEI outcomes. That accountability must originate in the C-suite. From there, accountability should cascade down to those responsible for recruiting and hiring across the business.

Finding success with a strategic mindset 

For example, Cielo has a shared commitment to providing opportunity for all, regardless of what they look like, where they come from, how they worship, or whom they love. It is committed to being an organisation that encourages employees to be their authentic selves.

This vision is brought to life at Cielo through strengthening the role all of Cielo’s leaders play in shaping a culture of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEI&B), supporting teams in going beyond awareness and empowering them to act, expanding global employee resource groups (ERG), and improving the overall hiring experience and process.

One of the most successful programmes at Cielo has been its global “Inclusion Infusion” sessions.These are peer-led conversations that happen within all our regionspulling together employees at every level to discuss impactful topics such as microaggressions and neurodiversity.

Cielo is now focusing on ERGs and other resources to support the areas of disability and neurodiversity, race, ethnicity, culture, heritage, and religion after experiencing success with one of their first anchor ERG groups for the LGBTQIA+ community, as well as first responders.

Cielo is taking its own learnings to help clients improve their DEI efforts. Its consultants help audit its clients’ DEI candidate journeys from attraction to onboarding.

Action items for any organisation 

The more intentional and deliberate an organisation’s diversity hiring plan is, the better its chances of increasing workforce diversity. Some simple changes that any business can implement includes:

  • Make sure commitment to diversity is supported publicly by multiple organisation leaders, starting with the C-suite
  • Develop a partnership between talent acquisition, marketing, and diversity and inclusion teams to create content that highlights values, culture, and diversity
  • Promote benefits that may appeal to individuals to represent various dimensions of diversity – partner benefits, employee assistance programme, maternity leave, etc.
  • To further help companies be laser-focused on diversity in hiring, SmartRecruiters has also launched a new diversity toolkit.

Concrete processes, oversight, and metrics provide a sense of direction and accountability for diversity hiring efforts, and tangible metrics enable businesses to track progress over time. By setting goals that are specific, actionable, and measurable, an organisation increases the likelihood that a diversity hiring plan will drive impact and excel future growth and success.

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