DRIVER #4 – DIVERSITY AND BIAS (Part 5 of 6)
Globalisation and the increased movement of labour has direct implications for the future of our workforce. A diverse workforce made up of a mix of cultures, generations and social groups presents numerous opportunities as well as significant challenges for organisations.
52% of respondents said that diversity, and addressing the conscious or unconscious bias that comes with it, is an extremely important issue.
Whilst there was a clear desire to let leaders and managers take the initiative in accommodating diversity, there appeared to be no clear plan in place for many organisations to deal with the changing world around them.
Striving for Equality
What are companies currently doing to attract and retain a diverse workforce?
- Many companies are addressing gender identity in the workforce. One area of progress is in supporting expectant mothers leading up to the birth, and then carefully integrating them back into the workplace
- Some companies organise events where colleagues are encouraged to share cultural experiences – such as one initiative called ‘Trading Spices’ in which employees share culinary delights from their home culture. Active participation helps to break down barriers
- Many organisations are actively promoting gender equality in their hiring processes, even in traditionally gender-specific professions like engineering
Call to Action
How can you improve the environment in your organisation to encourage diversity and avoid bias?
- Identify and address conscious and unconscious bias, particularly regarding what constitutes unreasonable behaviour when dealing with people from diverse backgrounds.
- Define diversity in broader terms, not just gender or ethnicity (e.g. religious background, cultural difference, sexuality, etc)
- In the Asia Pacific region particularly, there is a need to open up discussions about the implications for diversity, particularly around issues that are sometimes considered taboo. Many organisations still have a traditional, hierarchical approach to developing their workforce, and this needs to change by having more open communication
Check out pages 28 and 29 of the full report for some insightful initiatives from companies who embrace diversity and reap the benefits.Next week will be our final post in this series touching on DRIVER #5 – CROSS GENERATIONAL CHALLENGES