Diversity: the new normal
The World Economic Forum warned in its 2016 Global Risks Report that the
pace of change in technology and the shifting demographics of talent pose widespread risks to doing business.
Certainly, employers everywhere can help mitigate these risks, even
as the world of work is relentlessly transformed. A hallmark of these global trends is the increasing diversity of the workforce. While not a new
phenomenon, diversity is predicted to grow exponentially over the next
several years, bringing the topic to the forefront of global human capital
Business leaders often approach diversity as a problem to solve. Talent
gaps, attrition and litigation are primary risks when organizations fail
to comply with mandates for fairness in hiring, advancement and pay.
However, leaders are now catching on to the realization that diversity
is also a ripe business opportunity.
Talent practitioners have known for some time that crafting a meaningful
employee value proposition (EVP) — a set of rewards and work environments
aligned with employees’ changing needs and preferences — leads to greater employee engagement, which is itself part of a virtuous business
cycle yielding greater organizational performance.
If diversity is a feature of the new work world, the EVP will need
to evolve accordingly.
New research undertaken by Willis Towers Watson suggests that out of myriad elements of work experience and organizational functioning, managing diversity well is one of the most impactful steps leaders can take to demonstrate their
effectiveness and drive employee engagement.
What does it take to manage diversity well?
Inclusion and diversity (I&D) success stories usually begin when executive leaders push beyond the compliance imperative and work to embed inclusion throughout the entire human capital system and within the workplace itself.
The Willis Towers Watson research shows that leaders across varying industries and geographies can drive inclusiveness by privileging dialogue, strong working relationships among employees and robust career opportunities. At the same time, specific inclusion drivers often vary by company and across demographics.
As such, understanding opportunities for improvement requires a deeper analysis of employee experiences across an organization’s workforce segments.
The paper, resulting from the research, outlines strategies for addressing the broad foundations and idiosyncrasies of the current I&D landscape as well as suggested road maps for organizations at different stages of the inclusion journey.
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