Proactively building an inclusive workforce that encourages diversity of thought takes time and commitment. Success certainly doesn’t happen overnight, but with a skills shortage in an already talent short market, it could be your differentiator.
Becoming an inclusive and diverse workplace doesn’t have to mean appointing a director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I), and creating a robust DE&I strategy with specific objectives and metrics. There are small steps you can take as an employer, to ensure voices are heard, individual needs are supported and people feel empowered to share their thoughts and ideas. It is a business’ commitment to becoming truly diverse, that will ultimately help foster a culture of equity and inclusion.
The first challenge will be attracting diverse talent, the second; how to retain that talent and build loyalty and the third, empowering each and every one of your employes so they feel part of your overall vision with a strong sense of belonging. So how can you do this? Well the answer partly lies in your business brand and culture.
“Building a company culture that inspires diversity of thought where people feel safe and empowered to share and drive change, will undeniably result in a highly engaged and loyal workforce. Ultimately creating an environment where not only people want to stay, but where they feel they belong”, says Claire Capehorn, Client Director for IDEX.
What does your internal culture say about your business?
A company’s values, ethics and people define the sentiment, behaviours and ultimately, culture of an organisation. The strength of this culture, how much it reflects the people within it and how far it permeates the organisation is what leaders should pay particular attention to. It not only affects the overall health of a business but importantly, influences employee engagement and attitude, and the perceptions of prospective employees.
According to an employee engagement report by Workbuzz, “45% of UK employees and business leaders surveyed, rank a ‘great’ culture as the most important factor when looking for a new job.” (People Management: War for talent will be won with culture over salary).
Employees are your ‘brand ambassadors’ and if they don’t feel represented, respected or listened to, this could have a detrimental effect on company reputation. Especially when this negative feedback is communicated externally to networks or on anonymous feedback platforms such as, Glassdoor. With more and more people using social media and feedback forums to investigate a company, and with culture having such a significant impact on employee engagement, it’s important leaders take the time to assess internal culture to ensure it’s truly inclusive.
How does your inclusive culture align to your brand?
Given how significant a diverse and inclusive company culture is for talent attraction purposes and operational growth, it’s important that businesses ensure there is a clear correlation between culture and brand identity. External branding is the voice of the company and will influence a prospective employee’s first impression. If an organisation’s culture and brand are driven by the same values and purpose, employees are more likely to make decisions and act in a way that delivers on your brand promise. This in turn will, provide customers and potential talent with a positive, consistent experience, future proof your business and create a powerful platform for future growth and competitive advantage.
How can you use your inclusive culture to attract talent?
Your ability to attract diverse talent will be heavily dependent upon whether your brand and culture appeal to a range of people with varied lifestyles, backgrounds, cultures, and needs. Ensuring your internal policies, benefits and processes are equitable and inclusive is essential.
It’s worth concentrating on the following areas:
The diversity of your leadership team
Whether your compensation and promotion processes are equitable
If your benefits offering meet the needs of your workforce
How you can ensure your attraction channels are truly inclusive
What two-way communication channels are available for employees to feedback concerns and ideas.
Furthermore, it’s particularly important to review employee salary and compensation packages, especially when the gender pay gap is still a challenge. In fact, in the UK Government’s 2022 Gender pay gap report, “the 2022 mean GPG (the difference between men’s and women’s average hourly pay) is 5.45% and the median is 9.71%.”(Gov.UK: DIT Gender pay gap report 2021 to 2022). Senior Performance and Reward Advisor for the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), Charles Cotton states that, “the figures show that very little has changed when it comes to addressing the gender pay gap in Britain” and that “employers need to understand the reason for any gap and be transparent about how they plan to tackle it.” (CIPD: Pay fairness and pay reporting).
Your ultimate goal: retain talent with a culture of inclusivity and belonging
Once a culture of inclusivity has been built with equitable practices, employee engagement and loyalty will be more achievable. Employees who are connected to a business are more likely to feel happier, appreciated and valued. According to Better Up, global consulting business, “High levels of belonging can lead to improved performance and lower turnover” (Harvard Business Review: The value of belonging at work). Their research also shows that employees who feel like they belong at work give higher employer net promoter scores, a strong indicator of employee satisfaction.
It’s no surprise then, that creating a culture of belonging and inclusivity, supported by a brand that speaks the same values, is integral to attracting talent, retaining a loyal workforce and enriching your bottom line.
For more information and guidance on diversity, inclusion and equity take a look at our other advisory articles:
At IDEX Consulting we strongly believe and value equitable practices, here’s what equity means to us, watch our short video.