4 Thoughts to Improve Workplace Diversity
(4 min read)
With International Women’s Day on the 8th of March just around the corner, it’s worth considering the positive impact that increased diversity can bring to your workplace – and more importantly, how to improve diversity and inclusion your own business.
Here are some general thoughts on how to achieve positive change in your workplace diversity — we are also just at the beginning of our way to develop this important topic. At the end we would like to tell you how NTT DATA Business Solutions and NTT DATA actively engage to move forward on this path.
Increasing diversity in the workspace has been a goal of business leaders and HR departments around the world for decades. Often, workplace diversity is viewed in moral terms, as a question of right or wrong. And while there is certainly an important moral aspect to workplace diversity — nobody should be excluded based on grounds such as race or religion — this conversation should not upstage another important point: diverse workplaces perform better.
One recent study by Boston Consulting Group (BCG), for example, showed that “companies that have more diverse management teams have 19% higher revenue due to innovation.” Make no mistake: If you look at research and statistics from the past few years it’s clear that diversity and inclusion of all kinds is good for business, whether in terms of profitability, productivity or creativity and innovation.
International Women’s Day is a good reminder to consider what strategies are most effective in bringing about actual change in workplace diversity, especially when it comes to unconscious gender bias. According to a 2019 study, women represent only 21% of the membership in the average C-suite. It’s not enough to simply desire change. One must actively live his or her commitment to diversity.
Building a Foundation for Diversity
The first step toward living your commitment to diversity is measuring progress. Begin by looking at your current KPIs. Having a baseline is the only way to know objectively, as you move forward, whether your efforts are effective.
Then, second, consider your own mindset. Remember: change starts with you. Ask how you can be a leader and how you can vary your communication and behavior to enable cultural change. Why it is that you don’t already have the diversity you’re looking for in your company? What you might do to change that?
We still ask ourselves these questions, constantly reflecting on how we are doing on our way toward our goal of workplace diversity.
Step three: Consider whether your company has policies that promote cultural diversity and encourage freedom of thought. Are managers trained correctly on inclusivity and how to guide a diverse team? If you have an international staff, do you provide linguistic and cultural support? Are there structures in place that help ensure minority employees are afforded the same opportunities as others during their career development?
Implementing these structures will certainly help to increase the diversity in your workplace — nevertheless, it’s important to stay in contact to your colleagues and start discussions about these topics. Managing and enabling culture change depends on human beings: so talk to each other about your internal communication, about your management style and issues of diversity.
We incorporated diversity as a fixed element in our people values in order to raise its importance to all our employees. But that is just one possibility of enabling change and also just a single step of a long way.
Finally, and fourth, now that you’ve looked at how you can foster diversity, it’s important to examine how one can attract a diverse talent pool. Because, unfortunately, the phrase “if you build it, they will come” does not necessarily hold true in this case.
Diversify your Talent Pool
According to a recent LinkedIn study, women are 16% less likely to apply for a job but 16% more likely to get a job for which they do apply. “If women apply for jobs at a lower rate,” asks the Harvard Business Review, “but tend to be the right candidates, why are they more selective about the jobs they apply to, and how can companies more effectively reach them?”
The article goes on to suggest a number of steps companies can take to make up for the “confidence gap” between men and women. Start by avoiding masculine or aggressive language. Promote stories from your organization’s successful women, internal women’s organizations, and networking events.
So these are general thoughts about how to increase workplace diversity. How is your status quo? What are your thoughts on these questions and ideas?
That’s How We Engage in Diversity Management
We, at NTT DATA Business Solutions, are aware of the importance of workplace diversity and are constantly working on improving it within our company. Through internal communication, we try to sensitize our employees and colleagues for that meaningful matter.
Our shareholder, NTT DATA, has all but achieved this in Romania and Myanmar. It boasts a multinational, employee-led women’s group — Women Inspire NTT DATA (WIN) — active in nine countries, supporting and promoting women throughout its workforce. In addition to various other country-specific efforts and women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) recruitment programs, itelligence and NTT DATA are proud to endorse the UN’s Women’s Empowerment Principles.
We may not yet be where we want, but we’re on our way.
And we’re always happy to talk and exchange perspectives.
What are your experiences? How do you proceed on this way?
I’d be happy to talk with you,