Human Capital Management, Leadership

Assessing the Talent Life Cycle Through the Lens of D&I                 

/ November 30, 2018 November 30, 2018

In our dynamic and progressively connected world, it is vital for organizations to seek out diverse talent and perspectives. It’s also crucial to create an environment where people feel comfortable sharing those perspectives without fear of bias taking over.

There’s no shortage of articles and research affirming that companies who embrace and are actively engaged in creating a culture of diversity and inclusion boast competitive advantages: increased employee engagement, higher performing teams, innovative products and services, a bigger share of the market…the list goes on.

With the amount of research that is out there, I occasionally find myself getting disheartened by the fact that a case must even be made for diversity & inclusion in the workplace—it’s about treating individuals with respect to ensure that you get the best out of your people, right? Why would anyone want to work hard for a company that fails to show appreciation for their uniqueness?

To my comment, some might say: “But…I already do treat people with respect.” You can see how my case is not quite strong enough to drive a sustainable commitment for change.

“It’s rare to find someone who rallies against what D&I professionals are setting up to achieve, but it is often that people show how little they understand the depth and breadth of the challenge.”- Inclusive Leadership by Charlotte Sweeney and Fleur Bothwick.

From a diversity and inclusion perspective, the reality is that at any stage of the talent life cycle, there is the potential for derailment.

Let’s consider a few biases that may creep in at these different stages. You can start to assess your organization’s practices by thinking about some of the questions below:

Attraction & Recruitment

  • How is your brand perceived in the market?-Do you find it easy to attract talent? Are the images on your website and in your job advertisements diverse?
  • Do you utilize diverse mediums and channels to recruit?
  • Do your job descriptions or postings reflect unintended biases (such as having an advanced degree or specific language proficiency that might not truly be necessary)?
  • Do your website and job postings include D&I statements, goals, or priorities?

Interviewing & Selection

  • Do you have interview questions designed to measure diversity, cultural competence, emotional intelligence?
  • How do you define what qualifies someone as a “cultural fit”? Are you thinking about how a candidate might offer a dimension that your culture is missing and how they effectively mirror your company values, or is the qualification more of a gut feeling that someone just “fits in”? (be careful of the latter!)
  • How successful are your recruitment efforts? Do you track recruitment patterns for underrepresented groups? Do you have a high acceptance rate?

Communication & Engagement

  • How are meetings run at your organization? How might someone suggest a topic for consideration or inclusion at a meeting?
  • Is there a focus on welcoming all new employees and providing them with clarity about resources available to them and how to succeed?
  • Are there workforce flexibility options? How diverse are your benefit offerings, and are those offerings informed by the desires/needs of different employees?
  • Do you have recognition systems in place? Are those recognition systems 360 in nature, meaning that anyone can recognize anyone else in the organization?

Performance, Training & Development

  • Are the criteria used in your performance evaluations fair, objective, and free of biases?
  • Do all employees have access to training/developmental opportunities?
  • Have your staff, management, and leadership team participated in D&I training in the last 6 months?
  • Are managers encouraged to question assumptions about what excellent performance looks like to promote more innovation and higher risk tolerance?

Career Development & Succession Planning

  • Are your career paths visible throughout the entire organization?
  • Is diverse talent included in your succession plan?
  • Does your organization challenge assumptions about who might be interested and ready to be promoted?
  • Are stretch assignments being limited to any one dominant group?

All of this may seem like a lot to think about, but rest assured that it’s better to start small than to delay starting. Something as simple as awareness, which starts with an openness and curiosity to learning more about the topic of diversity and inclusion, can begin to shift workplace culture and lead to more demonstrable, impactful action.

If you are serious about creating a more inclusive and diverse workplace or about being a great leader for your people, it’s important to invest deliberate time and attention to D&I.

Exude can help in your creation of a more culturally agile and sensitive workplace. Contact us today to learn more.