To gain the advantage of diverse workforces, leaders have something more to think about in 2021
McKinsey’s top 10 most popular articles in 2020, amongst several organisations’ research, show that inclusion and diversity are critical for business recovery, resilience, renewal and growth, which businesses need the most than ever in this pandemic. When it comes to these topics, people instinctively count how many women and non-white ethnic groups in the room. However, without the power of voice and the right mindset, a high level of diversity cannot guarantee high performance and creativity as companies who want to gain advantages of hiring a diverse workforce.
According to the CIPD definition, Diversity is about recognising difference and Inclusion is where people’s differences are valued and used to enable everyone to thrive at work, which is the key to bring out the power of diversity. Of course, gender and ethnic can indicate some levels of differences, but if companies stop here, they might be disappointed with the result. I appreciate the efforts companies and leaders put in. However, as an Asian woman working in the UK, I almost feel it is a marketing activity that companies are trying to cover their bias when I see those numbers. While gender identity and culture shape my experience and mindset, I am still unique amongst other women, Asian or not, so does every one of you.
Without a doubt, we are still living in a white-male dominated world; even we have made massive progress in the past decades, thanks to both females and males. Therefore, monitoring numbers, such as numbers of women in top positions as well as salary gaps between genders and ethnic opportunity and pay gaps, can drive equality. Yet, to create a truly diverse and inclusive workplace, we need more than numbers.
We need the capability to see past people’s gender and ethnicity and know them as a person, learning their personality and beliefs; valuing their knowledge and opinions; and connecting with their mind and heart, not their look. By then, we could say we have an inclusive workplace. When we are saying goodbye to this dramatically tough year, 2020, it is time to reflect on our unconscious bias and the culture we have in our organisations.