Is ‘diversity hiring’ working OK for you?

ByJoanne Lockwood

Is ‘diversity hiring’ working OK for you?

Let’s assume for one moment that you are thinking about to need to develop your business to be representative of your customer based or the community in which you serve.  And let us face it, that is a big assumption!  Many organisations are still not realising the opportunity of enriching their number with people of varying lived experience and background.

I would like to challenge the term; “Diversity Hiring”.  What is that about?   Often it is meant to mean hiring more Women, or people of different skin colour or sexuality.

Since when have women be a diverse hire?

We make up approximately 50% of the population and potential workforce, yet we are still talking about women as being Diverse.

I would like to ask organisations to consider using the term “Underrepresented” instead of “Diverse”. 

If your boardroom and senior leadership does not have representation of women or voices from non-white people in sufficient numbers then they won’t be heard or be able to influence direction and strategy, let alone be role models and be aspirational for others to follow in their footsteps.

Maybe, just maybe, this is on your agenda but how are you tackling it?  Do you collect metric and track progress?  I am certainly not in favour of quotas or targets, but to focus any business imperative there must be a “why”.

Why does your business or organisation want to strive to amplify and bring in people from underrepresented communities or groups?

Yes, it is the right thing to do, the human factor.  As we know this only goes so far in business, but we also need to have an ROI, the “why”, to ensure that this becomes a sustainable way of working.

Let’s consider for one moment, by being more representative of society, your customer base or service users, it is going to allow your organisation to adapt quickly to their needs, be able to seek out opportunities for new products or to enhance the service you are already delivering.  

Additionally, we can throw into the mix that when an organisation aligns their culture of inclusion and belonging then our people will bring their passion and purpose with them, they will believe in the organisation and are more likely to stay and be engaged.

What can you do as an organisation?  My belief is it needs to be on the agenda, tracked and part of the strategic goal of an organisation. 

Positive action and targeted recruitment are good starts, but please look at your own culture first and make sure you are fit for purpose to handle difference of thought, perspective in order to retain great people.

Joanne Lockwood, SEE Change Happen

Originally published in the Herald, Scotland

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About the author

Joanne Lockwood administrator

SEE Change Happen: Transgender Awareness & Inclusion