Studies have proven that the more diverse a businesses’ leadership team is, the easier it is to recruit and retain talent and attract a more diverse range of clients and customers.
How can you achieve a diverse leadership team?
- Acknowledge the difference between diversity and inclusion. Diversity focuses on the makeup of your workforce by reference to the “protected characteristics” under the Equality Act 2010. Inclusion is the creation of a culture that enables diversity to thrive. Even if your recruitment strategy leads to the creation of a diverse workforce, your culture has to enable the retention and progression of those recruits!
- Have in place policies which aid the promotion of diversity. A detailed equal opportunities policy and recruitment policy is a must. Procedures are also needed to help resolve workplace conflicts. Don’t however fall into the trap of introducing policies as a tick box exercise – implement and communicate them. Also take any alleged breach of the policies seriously – don’t sweep discriminatory conduct under the carpet and be mindful of the current clamp down on the use of non-disclosure agreements!
- Educate your management team. Train line managers not just on equal opportunities legislation and the do’s and don’ts but also on true leadership and coaching skills so you are getting the best out of your staff.
- Communicate with staff and ask them what they would like to see change. Can you ask via 360 feedback, one to ones/appraisals or the setting up of focus groups. Do you hold exit interviews and establish why people are leaving you? Can you identify any trends?
- Lead by example. Whether this be by working flexibly, mentoring junior colleagues or holding Q & A sessions so staff can get to know you and the challenges you have faced better.
- Take steps to promote diversity. Can you hold events to mark International Women’s Day and Gay Pride like you may do for the MacMillan Coffee Morning and Children in Need. Can you promote any relevant charities in line with your corporate social responsibility policy?
- Be bold when appointing senior individuals. Are you promoting people just like you? If everybody on the board has similar personalities, your business decisions may become predictable. Can you appoint some-one external to shake things up?
For more information on any of the above, or how we can help you, please contact Sarah Furness, or call 0191 232 8345.