Diversity and Inclusion

by Gamiel Yafai

Measures that support diversity

Once your organisation policies have been reviewed, and practices changed, the process needs to be supported. Some of the measures you can use to do this are suggested below.

  • Recruitment and selection
  • Positive recruitment advertising
  • Diversity criteria for selection
  • Training in fair selection
  • The elimination of age criteria for selection decisions
  • A formal induction process for all recruits.
  • Remuneration

Offering employees the opportunity to choose between benefits such as child care and others of equivalent value that are more ‘suitable to their needs’

  • Training and development

Training to help employees from under-represented groups to understand organisational processes and to increase their self-confidence; study leave; mentoring schemes

  • Promotion procedures

Criteria for advancement that make it open to all

  • Performance management

Revising performance indicators, the definition of competencies and the system of rewards

  • Communication

Sharing information with all employees on intra-net forums; keeping diversity on the agenda at meetings

  • Consultation

Consulting employees on matters that affect them and enabling them to take part in decision-making

  • Intercultural competence

Showing sensitivity to the diets, holidays and dress of different religions and cultures

  • Equal opportunities

Making adjustments or providing equipment or support for disabled people

  • Human resources
  • An explicit policy on harassment and bullying
  • Employee assistance programmes
  • Schemes for child care/elder care
  • Special leave
  • Working hours

Introducing family-friendly working arrangements, such as home working, flexitime, part-time work, job share and work-life balance programmes

Example

The following highlights that it is not a simple tick-box approach – diversity requires organisations to look deeper within.

In the 1990s, Sainsbury’s launched a scheme called ‘Choices’ for weekly-paid staff, which aimed to give them greater career choices through career guidance sessions.

The second stage of the scheme involved sponsoring staff to gain further qualifications through studying in their own time. Sainsbury’s wished to explore the talent that was available in a large section of their workforce – the weekly paid. Their concern was to identify individuals who had untapped potential, regardless of who they were.

The Director of Corporate Personnel at Sainsbury’s comments: ‘we recognised there were a number of people in the weekly-paid section, who probably had the talent to do more.’ The feeling was that by moving these people forward the company would save time and money in recruiting trainee managers. By targeting this level, they proportionately assisted more women than men, because 70 per cent of their weekly-paid staff was female. The scheme could not be criticised for targeting a ‘specific group of people’ for promotion, as all weekly-paid bands were eligible to join, regardless of who they were.

This approach was effective because it attempted to address underlying issues, rather than symptoms. As a consequence, it also required long-term commitment and organisational goals.