Monday, 13 may 2019 | Redacción CEU
It is politically correct, and also the most beneficial thing for the organizations themselves. Diversity works as a talent magnet, a lever of innovation and a springboard for success in the companies that promote it. When a team is made up of very different people, it is also capable of offering different points of view when facing problems. The strategies end up being richer and more complete, which leads to better results. However, what on paper sounds quite right, sometimes it is not so simple to fulfill. How to effectively foster diversity and inclusion in companies? Why should a firm bet on diversity?
A company that believes in diversity and inclusion is one that does not promote or tolerate inequality and that respects its members regardless of their condition. The legislation itself supports this inclusive approach, but, in practice, diversity is not usually a priority for most companies. The problem is that when there is no clear commitment to diversity and inclusion, and the corresponding actions that help promote them, they may end up being practically impossible to achieve.
Prejudices and stereotypes are the main enemies of diversity. Even if professionals try to be impartial and objective, they may eventually display an unconscious bias. One way to minimize the risk of discrimination in the recruitment process is through the use of blind resumes. In them, applicants' pictures and information about their race, gender or age disappear. In this way, recruiters may value professionals in accordance with their skills and experience.
Recruitment policies are the main tools for promoting diversity, but not the only ones. The management of generational diversity is something in which every organization must work on, since there are now almost four generations coexisting in companies (baby boomers and X, Y and Z generations). Senior professionals have on their side experience, empirical knowledge, the art of negotiation and a wide network of contacts. Young people are at home with new technologies and innovation, a quick capacity of adaptation to changes, the lack of ties and a greater predisposition to take risks.
One of the stigmas that affect older professionals negatively is their inability to cope with changes. However, new technologies present a work context that promises to continue evolving for many years. Therefore, the training of professionals will not only be key for these senior profiles. There are alternatives to combat this unstoppable advance, in such a way that no one is left behind, such as: boosting new formulas of collaboration (like reverse mentoring), promoting collaborative and flexible environments and betting on periodic training programs that take into account all workers.
Diversity also means transparency. Promoting diversity is a formula to attract talent, but this approach will not have a real impact if the professionals that make up these organizations do not know or participate in these actions. Dialogue and communication are key in diverse and inclusive companies, only through them can organizations get to know and enrich themselves from the different points of view of their members. For example, if the same people always speak at team meetings, many points of view may be lost. Those professionals who do not usually participate might offer different, interesting and beneficial approaches for the team.
Organizations can choose between different measures to boost diversity and inclusion in the work setting: flexible schedules, open doors policies, diversity indicators, the visibility of minority groups, employee training programs in diversity and inclusion,... Whatever their strategy is, all the actions will have something in common: to be effectively implemented they will need a very high level of commitment and involvement from the managers and the different members of the company. Achieving this harmony implies going beyond the simple regulatory compliance, organizations also need to promote diversity in their corporate culture.
Many companies consider diversity as a fundamental principle. However, it is the corporate culture itself the one that acts as a brake for diversity sometimes. There is no point in hiring different people, if there is a clear effort to make all employees behave in the same way and share the same ideas. The diverse and inclusive companies need to grow on creative spaces that are open to the confrontation of ideas. The human resources departments of these companies must work on boosting measures that enable them to benefit from what differentiates employees.
When an organization bets on diversity, it also bets on commitment, respect, distinction, singularity, talent, growth, creativity, innovation, leadership and reputation. All of them are virtues which are very necessary in this current work context which is marked by change, uncertainty and globalization.
At The CEU IAM Business School, we are aware of the challenges that new leaders of the business environment must face. That is why we have designed an Executive MBA that prepares its students to cope with the processes of change, in such a way that they will be capable of transforming the challenges they may come across into competitive advantages. Thanks to this training program, they will acquire the necessary skills and knowledge to assume the new responsibilities of the management area and to increase their capacity for influence and leadership in a practical and ethical framework.