Report finds diversity and inclusion in workplace can be improved

Over half (55% ) of employees believe their leaders have a bias toward those who look, think and act like them, according to a survey of 850 men and women working across all levels of seniority in public and private sector organisations, by recruitment company Hays Ireland.

According to the newly released Hays Ireland Diversity and Inclusion Report 2018:

Only 44% believe that their leaders fully understand the relationship between diversity and inclusion and profitability

53% say their progression has been limited because of gender

Just 43% say their organisation is proactive in its efforts to source diverse candidates

Only 42% say their organisation ensures interview panels are diverse

33% believe that challenging cultural norms will negatively impact on their careers

Those surveyed were asked if there had been occasions when they felt their chances of career progression have been limited due to their gender, age, ethnicity, sexual orientation or physical disability. In response, 45% considered that their career had been hindered by one of these elements; in particular, over half (53% ) cited their gender and 44% cited their age as having been limiting factors for their progression.

Maureen Lynch, director at Hays Ireland commented:

“Every employee, regardless of background, deserves to work in a safe, supportive and respectful environment, making a clear human case for building fairer and more inclusive workplaces. Furthermore, both Irish and international research has consistently shown there is a strong business case for diversity, particularly because it helps to unlock the full potential of an organisation’s talent. Therefore, when company policies and behaviours at all levels of the business are geared towards diversity and inclusion, everyone stands to benefit.

“Secondly, inclusive leaders are better able to leverage the talent of diverse teams. Workplaces which encourage debate and diversity of thought are likely to experience better staff morale and higher retention rates. At a time when so many sectors are experiencing acute skills shortages, this is a consideration that cannot be ignored.

“Thankfully, our research suggests many employers are slowly getting better. However, we also know that working toward a more diverse workforce and inclusive workplace is an ongoing journey. With this in mind, we have offered some practical recommendations designed to bring organisations closer to diversity and inclusion best practice and improve the overall success of the business”, she added.

Hay's recommendations for organisations seeking to improve their diversity and inclusion programmes are as follows:

At leadership level:

Inclusive leaders should aim to ‘lead from the front’ as conscious and self-aware champions of change. Undergoing ‘unconscious bias’ training can help leaders in this endeavour

Host regular ‘town hall’ meetings or anonymous ‘pulse surveys’ to gauge attitudes to diversity

Regularly communicate to employees that diversity and inclusivity is on the agenda and be able to point to proof points re-enforcing this message

Talent attraction:

Review all recruitment materials for language and imagery which may reinforce gender, age, racial or other stereotypes

Work with a recruiter who understands how to attract talent from traditionally under-represented groups

Aim to mitigate bias when shortlisting candidates using ‘blind’ decision-making to ensure selection is based on core, essential skills and competencies only. You can do this by removing one or more elements of personal information from CVs, such as a candidate’s name and education.

Assemble a diverse interview panel drawn from different demographics for candidate interviews

An inclusive workplace culture:

Continue to support external diversity and inclusion events, and encourage employees to get involved

Encourage debate and diversity of thought. This can be achieved by actively soliciting ideas and feedback from employees at all levels of the business.

• Promote business successes of those employees who have driven innovation by ‘thinking outside the box’ – which will encourage other employees to do the same.

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