Navigating the New Era of HR Diversity
The growing momentum of the ‘ban the box’ movement and the inception of multiple fair-chance recruitment laws have forced organisations across all industries to rethink their HR policies. Gone are the days when administration alone formed the core of HR functions.
Today, HR professionals have a more strategic role to play in the growing awareness of organisational diversity and inclusiveness. A recent survey concluded that over 69% of executives consider inclusion and diversity to be important issues. With millennials also reckoning inclusion as a mandate in corporate culture, it’s high time for HR recruiters to start looking beyond the conventional Ulrich model.
Saying Goodbye to ‘Check the Box’ – Building on Fair Chance Hiring
Professionals with conviction history still find it extremely difficult to land a decent job in most countries. It’s time that the era of ‘check the box’ HR initiative ended.
A check-box free recruitment aligns with the values of diversity which omit aspects such as race, religion, caste, creed and gender from the recruitment process. The entire hiring process is then solely dictated by the professional abilities of the concerned candidate. This helps a company to amass a diverse pool of employees who are driven by excellence.
The model brings with it a host of benefits. A recent survey revealed that inclusive and diverse teams tend to be more innovative, creative, and productive. An employee who can speak up without any fear is likely to contribute more at work.
Inclusion and diversity are no longer limited to just employee demands. These factors also impact the brand image, performance, and the overall corporate purpose in more ways than one. While baby boomers may think that inclusion is all about removing biases from the recruitment process, the younger batch of employees want more. For millennials, inclusion is also about connecting team members through mutual respect.
Embracing Organisational Networks: Moving Away from Hierarchical Structures
Organisational hierarchy is quickly being replaced by employee ecosystems and networks. The high-performing organisations of today are functioning as networks that are powered by information systems, talent mobility, and work culture. Organisational design has sat at the top of the list of the most important trends in the Global Human Capital Trends survey for two consecutive years now.
Companies with organisational networks and a team-centric philosophy generate 30% higher revenue per resource. However, without a flexible and inclusive work culture even a set of diverse individuals in a team-centric model may fail to deliver results. There’s no denying the fact that modern employees prefer to work ‘with’ a company than ‘for’ it. So going forward, HR needs to focus more on breaking the conventional barriers of hierarchy and setting up more open ground for the employee and employer to collaborate.
Diane Gherson, Head of HR, IBM, remarked that ‘the relationships between managers and employees change in the context of a network’. Managers at IBM depend on input from others to identify and resolve issues. Employees have the option to share their input with the intended individuals through an app.
Beyond HR: Bridging the Gap Between Opinions and Facts
There’s much discussion around companies modernising HR policies. Despite this awareness and continuous internal scrutiny, there is a disparity between opinions and facts that businesses cannot ignore.
Very little of what is being said is also being implemented. Many companies introduced the strategic role of HR before launching the concept of shared service centers. In the name of transformation, many companies showcased the HR team as business partners, built service centers, and incorporated some of the latest technologies.
With a new generation (Gen Z) set to enter the workforce, it’s time for the top level to take control of eliminating explicit and unconscious bias from recruitment and the work environment. Many brands are already implementing training and awareness programs to counter biases in the professional space. While these are welcome measures, more needs to be done. Companies need to maintain complete operational transparency, make necessary structural changes, and look for data-driven, result-oriented solutions.
Building Organisations of the Future
In the near future, as digitalization starts impacting society at large, organisations will have to revisit their hiring strategies to successfully meet modern career demands. This change in organisational design has to be phased in systematically to avoid a complicated structural mess.
Consulting firms claim that 70% of organisational restructuring fails due to ‘creative disobedience’. Building an organisation for the future requires a steady, dynamic, and structured approach. Companies that rise to the challenge will manage to effectively boost their productivity, financial performance, and employee engagement. In the new world order, organisational success will only rest with those who forge stronger partnerships and ecosystems to broaden capabilities.