Diversity is Not Just about Tactics for Hiring

As part of our ongoing research projects, we examined the diversity and inclusion activity for over 140 large companies. These companies all consider diversity and inclusion to be a priority for their company, and they have a lot of activity in this area. This research is captured in our report "Best Practices for Diversity & Inclusion: How does your company stack up?"

We know from research that a diverse and inclusive workforce delivers better outcomes through better decision making, lower costs, higher profits and more innovation. However, our analysis shows that most companies are chasing these benefits with hiring tactics and not an integrated strategy.

Many of these tactics are designed to increase the diversity of a company's workforce. For example, Morgan Stanley, among others, has a program offering internships to professionals who have take time off from working. Synchrony Financial launched a program to explicitly hire people with disabilities, either physical or other. There is clearly a lot of activity around increasing the diversity of the hiring pool, and that is focused mostly on demographic diversity.

There is also a booming market for products to make hiring less biased. Companies like blendoor and Tech Inclusion change the hiring process by modifying existing systems. Companies can use these programs to create more demographic diversity in the hiring pool, but these tactics need to be part of a broader diversity strategy.

Keeping diversity and inclusion confined to talent management tactics is too passive to yield strong results, particularly in terms of increasing innovation. Also, talent management often focusses on demographic diversity which is a narrow and limiting definition.

How do you bring diversity and inclusion into a broader context for your company? The fundamentals of strategy are to know

1) who you are ,

2) what you want, and

3) what resources and capabilities you have to bridge the gap between your current state and your desired future state.

Everything else is just tactics. Implement a strategy for diversity and inclusion to see the benefits.

Barbara Clarke