Measurement, Motivation and Management
As only the second woman in 825 years to be elected Lord Mayor of London, Dame Fiona Woolf DBE seized the obvious opportunity to promote diversity and inclusion and was wonderfully supported by a collaboration of some 35 businesses and professional service firms in the City and outside. During her year in office (2014-14), their logos were seen on three buses with the slogan “Dedicated to Diversity” and the programme was called the “Power of Diversity”.
In preparation for her mayoral year, Dame Fiona did a great deal of listening. Her conversations revealed that there was a real sense of frustration that the considerable efforts over lengthy periods of time were not achieving the results that everyone had expected.
Having worked on the diversity and inclusion agenda since the 1970s she says she had often felt that she must be onthe crest of a wave but, somehow it never got up the beach!
The many surveys, meetings and events in preparation for and during the Power of Diversity programme revealed three remarkable statistics – 87% said they could detect very little being achieved, 84% said “my senior leaders are doing all the right things” but only 27% said “and I feel
under some sort of pressure to do something about it too”.
As a result, the City of London Corporation decided to explore the gap between the perception of senior leader activity and the effective activity throughout the entire organisation. The focus was on motivation, measurement and management.
The following text is taken from the Report’s Executive Summary.
The City of London is a world leader because it can attract diverse talent from around the world. We know that businesses which make diverse people feel included tend to perform better on a wider range of measures. In 2013 the Power of Diversity programme was established to explore how businesses in the City could harness the advantages of diversity.
We found 87% of business people in the City surveyed didn’t think that their company’s efforts on diversity and inclusion were having any impact at all. 84% of employees agreed that their company made a commitment from the very top to create a diverse and inclusive work environment, yet only 15% of mid-level managers felt their leader’s actions were consistent with their words. Only 27% felt they were responsible for or empowered to implement a diversity and inclusion strategy. Senior leaders in the City were committed to diversity, but this wasn’t being translated into practice.
We set out to explore why good diversity and inclusion (D&I) strategies were not always being implemented. To discover why this was happening, we examined the D&I strategi es in fifteen leading City businesses. We also held focus groups with people involved with D&I at senior, middle and junior levels.
D&I strategies were being derailed by a lack of individual measures and disconnect with individual motivations. Although firms measured diversity in aggregate, they did not often measure what individual managers were doing to deliver on diversity strategies. When there were measures in place, they were only a tiny part of larger appraisal systems. We also found individual staff were motivated to take diversity seriously when it was championed from the top, when the motives were clear, and when the initiatives connect with their lived experience.
Firms were driven to take their D&I strategies seriously when clients de manded them to, when top management supported initiatives, when there were accreditation exercises, when there was international pressure and when diversity was built into the culture of the firm. Firms found diversity initiatives difficult to implement when they lacked a D&I strategy, they lacked HR systems to measure diversity, there were mergers and acquisitions which disrupted diversity initiatives, tokenism took hold and the wider culture undermined diversity and inclusion.
Recommendations – The Three “Ms”
To implement a diversity and inclusion strategy effectively, firms need to do three things – our three “Ms” – measurement, motivation and management.
First, they must ensure that their progress on D&I is measured. Firms must keep track of how they are doing on inclusion across all aspects of the employee life-cycle – from recruitment to exit. They also need to ensure those measures are used at the organisational and individual levels.
Second, firms need to ensure that D&I initiatives are properly motivated. This means driving people throughout the organisation to turn a D&I strategy into a reality. Firms can do this by making the case for D&I, getting support fr om the top, connecting it with client needs, harnessing individual problem solving by empowering individual teams to create ways to achieve diversity targets. Everyone can create opportunities to unleash the power of diversity by encouraging people from different backgrounds deliberately to work together demonstrating the benefits, encouraging social accountability, and, above all, by holding everyone to account.
Finally, firms must ensure that the D&I strategy is made into a day-to-day reality through good management. This requires firms to encourage their middle managers to move beyond transactional (work-focused) leadership and embrace inclusive leadership, to develop high quality relationships with all team members by developing their talent, and to match the preferred leadership styles of their followers.
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