Diversity is firmly on the recruitment agenda now, it is long overdue and it is a pleasure to hear our clients discussing it as part of most briefings.
I do believe that diversity is going from being a buzz word to the realisation that a diverse workforce adds huge value to an organisation and a significant positive impact on its performance.
There is a reality though. We work with clients of all sizes from start-ups to global $multi-billion organisations and I do feel that SME businesses have bigger barriers to overcome and more significant cultural obstacles to negotiate.
The difference between a business located in a city such as Manchester or London and one in a rural location is likely to be stark. Both have very different potential workforces to call from and which will make a policy of growing a diverse workforce either easier or more difficult.
In summary companies may want to employ a diverse workforce but the pool available to them will dictate the speed at which they can change.
What the Experts Say Unconscious biases have a critical and “problematic” effect on our judgment, says Francesca Gino, professor at Harvard Business School. “They cause us to make decisions in favor of one person or group to the detriment of others.” In the workplace, this “can stymie diversity, recruiting, promotion, and retention efforts.” Left unchecked, biases can also shape a company or industry’s culture and norms, says Iris Bohnet, director of the Women and Public Policy Program at the Harvard Kennedy School and author of What Works: Gender Equality by Design. “Seeing is believing,” she explains. “If we don’t see male kindergarten teachers or female engineers we don’t naturally associate women and men with those jobs, and we apply different standards” when hiring, promoting and evaluating job performance. “Managers have to learn to de-bias their practices and procedures.”