Is your approach to inclusion enhancing or hindering your brand?
You can be diverse without being inclusive – do all your people feel like they belong?
We all tick boxes every day. Mine are mostly to opt out of marketing information when ordering the latest champions league football or LOL Doll that one of my children must have immediately. One particular box ticking exercise remains in my memory from a year ago when filling out a form and finding I was now in the 46-55 bracket – oh how I laughed.
When I was preparing to launch MVMNT, I obviously spoke to lots of people about my intentions to gauge their thoughts, interest, feedback etc. My main worries and concerns were around whether people would care enough about wanting to create a truly inclusive workforce and culture for their business. Or, would it be a struggle to educate organisations on the benefits…from staff retention, to better creativity and productivity etc, that an inclusive culture brings with it. I’ve fallen foul of the Rogers ‘Curve of Adoption’ before!
A couple of conversations with business owners in manufacturing went like this
Them “So, what’s it going to be about?”
Me “We’re going to help organisations create more inclusive cultures for their workforce and them help them tell their story through their employer brand”
Them “Oh, so you mean like diversity and stuff – We’re pretty good at that at my place…we employ lots of women” (substitute the word women for other demographics)
Me “That’s great…how many of your management team are female” or “which departments are most diverse”
Them “Erm…” and some silence.
One problem I’ve always had with equal opportunities is with organisations reporting statistics that supposedly show how diverse and inclusive they are, but then reading stories from previous employees detailing how they couldn’t wait to get out.
What’s causing this disconnect? The diversity being evidenced by these stats should be feeding into the culture. Unless the statistics being thrown around like a badge of honour are just for show and as long as it looks good then they’ve served their purpose. If this is simply a box-ticking exercise then I can’t help but feel that the point has been missed.
So, my question is this. When you think about your inclusion and diversity strategy, or look at your equal opportunities reporting, are you really trying to create something special in your company where all your people feel like they belong? Are your product/service decisions enhanced by having the views of many different represented groups? Have you noticed your staff turnover has dropped due to your best people being your brand advocates. Do you find that your recruiting has become easier as the people you’re targeting can identify with the role models at your organisation?
Or are you just ticking a box?