Key Leadership Moments to Introduce More Inclusion & Equity

/ February 10, 2021 February 10, 2021

I’ve always been fascinated by patterns; how and why things intersect. Interdependence is one of the most beautiful things in this wonderful world we live in. More recently, I’ve been reflecting on how a person’s identity and talent intersect…or don’t.

I’ve also been reflecting on how the values of capitalism, specifically financial growth and gain, can weigh heavier than organizational values. This weight can quiet a leader’s commitment to their own personal values as they conform to climb the ladder or close the next big deal.

The current wave of expectations on equity and inclusion is different than past waves. Social media, ads, and statements are moving people to pause differently; but are they moving people to act differently?

We shouldn’t miss the point that liking a post, and taking a stand, are very, very different. Every day, with every decision we make, or avoid making, we choose to be more inclusive or exclusive.

Here are six key moments to reflect on and see if there’s an opportunity to be more and do more.

  1. Hiring Moments: At a time where unemployment and underemployment are both high, if a diverse candidate pool “doesn’t exist”, hiring managers simply aren’t prioritizing diversity. Leaders of hiring managers should proactively communicate inclusion expectations. Talent leaders need to analyze promotional data for diverse leaders with detail for each specific underrepresented group.
  2. Compensation Moments: So many factors influence pay; let’s focus on job offers & merit increases. People leaders need to own initiating equity discussions and not just assume HR/Finance have it covered. Before new hire offer sheets or employee merit increases are presented, discussions to drive internal consistency on starting base salaries and year-end pay raises should happen.
  3. Pipeline Moments: The term high potential is subjective and exclusive. Succession planning should focus more on critical roles – retaining and developing a bench of “ready now” leaders. Leadership program nominations can become moments of exclusion. If the goal is to grow a diverse pipeline, the composition of all new cohorts should exceed current percentages of diverse leaders.
  4. Reorganization Moments: Reorgs are intentionally meant to be disruptive. Whether it’s net neutral on headcount, or something much more substantive, this is a key moment to see if a leader is for real about inclusion. Beyond adverse impact analysis, when re-mapping talent, who lands with larger scope, direct reports, or on the leadership team should be observed and assessed.
  5. Employee Benefit Moments: Diverse workforces need inclusive benefits. When evaluating plans bias may lead to excluding underrepresented teammates. Selecting benefit packages that are inclusive will consider covering things like HIV testing, mental health services, IVF treatment, adoption leave or gender affirmation services.
  6. Engagement Moments: Not all employees have an equal voice in their organization. Tenure and even loyalty could influence survey metrics to report a false positive because fear exists. Studying qualitative and quantitative employee engagement data requires a strong examination of micro trends that could be invisible in the macro view.
    Employees, customers and shareholders are using their actions more and more to drive accountability, and that’s a good thing. Even Glassdoor adjusted their employer review criteria to include diversity.

The question is will individuals and organizations have the courage to act amidst so much economic unpredictability. Wait a minute…isn’t that the point of values? They guide us in times of high growth and high challenge. Time to step up.

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