Diversity in Business: Widening the focus through technology

Last updated

19th January 2022

Read time

3 minutes

Our Strategic Lead for Talent, Simon Reichwald, explores D&I strategy vs reality.

Why is it so important to have diversity in business?

Having a diverse range of people at every seniority level has a huge impact on a business’s chances of success.

Diverse decision making supports business growth and evolution, and avoids a pattern of ‘groupthink’ which can quickly stump innovation. New products, services and offerings are created that may not have previously been considered.

Plus, a diverse workforce is one of the single most powerful tools for helping organisations attract new, talented individuals from underrepresented groups. This new talent fuels further growth and creates a virtuous circle.

Is our current diversity focus too narrow?

Many organisations are now proactively prioritising underrepresented talent. But many D&I strategies in place prioritise gender, race and ethnicity. As a result, other more ‘invisible’ diverse characteristics are being overlooked. Very few organisations have prioritise engagement with people from lower socio-economic backgrounds, LGBTQ+ individuals, or neurodiverse talent.

With growing noise around the D&I agenda and only finite hours in the working day, many organisations are effectively being forced to choose and focus on their priority diversity groups. Plus, businesses are currently only required to measure their progress with certain groups – currently gender, and soon ethnicity. This is leading to these groups being prioritised by time-poor HR Heads.

However, intersectionality is incredibly important. It’s vital organisations consider prioritising the whole ‘diversity family’ rather than picking a ‘favourite child’. So, with the limited bandwidth, how can employers widen their thinking and meaningfully support all diverse groups?

How can businesses address this using technology?

It is time-consuming to set up individual strategies for each underrepresented group. But there are single processes that will have huge impact on all, including those that remain overlooked. Enter the magic of mentoring.

Online mentoring is an incredibly effective tool that supports and develops all underrepresented groups and builds a key sense of belonging amongst employees of all backgrounds. Leveraging technology delivers impact at scale that ensures all people benefit, rather than a privileged few.

Reverse mentoring can also be incredibly powerful in boosting an organisation’s D&I strategy, through junior members of team mentoring their senior colleagues. With many organisations currently lacking diversity at board level, these programmes help senior team members better understand the challenges faced by underrepresented talent in their organisation, and deliver better strategies for attracting new diverse talent.

Blind recruitment and blind promotion panels can also help to remove unconscious bias from the process. These should go further than simply removing the ethnicity and gender of an applicant. There are a whole host of factors that can indicate someone’s background, from the school they went to, through to their personal interests.

Role models inspire current diverse employees and attract new talent to your organisation. Individuals want to work somewhere where they feel represented and can see real-life examples of people like them succeeding. Having a range of senior employees from various underrepresented groups,- including those qualities that are ‘invisible’ – who can proactively tell their story of success is incredibly effective in inspiring and motivating incoming diverse talent.

In summary

At Connectr, we are proud to be a voice for the ‘whole family’, not just the ‘favourite diversity child’. We believe everyone should be made to feel as though they belong and are given equal opportunity to succeed. We know that businesses reap the rewards when they shift their focus to engaging and developing people from all groups, not just those they are currently being measured on.

Prioritising all overlooked talent results in creating your people’s happy place, fuelling the organisation’s future growth.

Find out how Connectr turns D&I strategy into reality, by chatting to us.