Diversity, equity, and inclusion (D,E&I) is a prevalent workplace topic as many enterprises are struggling to see progress.
In fact, the likes of Slack have outlined fears that post-pandemic workplace will be even less diverse and inclusive as offices will be dominated by white males to a greater extent than before the pandemic.
On the back of this ongoing issue, Gartner investigated the actions managers are making to support company’s D,E&I initiatives. Unfortunately, it turns out a great deal of managers are doing very little.
Gartner spoke to 357 job candidates in June 2021 to get a picture of the challenges they face. Additionally, the research company spoke to 500 HR leaders across all major industries to assess their priorities and expected challenges in 2022.
Gartner’s surveys found that 50% of candidates who experience bias when interacting with hiring managers will discontinue their application.
Additionally, underrepresented talent groups are 2.5 times more likely to face barriers when progressing their careers because of their managers.
Bias and discrimination also impact business performance and employees are 63% less likely to be high performers when their managers do not celebrate gender and cultural differences in the team.
Gartner noted that managers in most organizations serve as mere supporters of diversity, equity, and inclusion (D,E&I) initiatives rather than owners of D,E&I outcomes.
However, Gartner stated that managers can do more by taking ownership of D,E&I initiatives.
What can managers do?
Katie Sutherland, senior principal, advisory in the Gartner HR practice noted: “Managers are at the center of fair treatment for their employees, so it’s important to determine if managers are truly making fair and consistent decisions when it comes to performance evaluation, employee development, and growth.”
Managers need to begin by addressing systemic bias, according to Gartner.
The firm argued that while looking inward is important, seeing the shortcomings of business processes is vital.
Rooting out bias is essential and Gartner recommends that managers speak to team members, seek advice from employee resource groups (ERGs), and from diverse leadership. This can provide insights on the correct, more equitable path forward.
Sutherland continued: “HR and D,E&I leaders need to support managers with the necessary tools to build authentic relationships with the underrepresented talent on their teams, so that they have a better, more holistic view of their team members and can advocate for them appropriately.”
Once this has been done, managers need to advocate for under-represented talent and support them.
Additionally, inclusion needs to be part of daily activities. This includes attending and providing training for teams on unconscious bias and celebrating societal milestones.
These simple tactics can change an organization for the better. Not only does it drive an ethical benchmark that everyone should want to be involved in creating, but it can also have an impact on the productivity and success of a company.
This was illustrated by a study conducted by Havard Business Review which found that diverse companies are 70% more likely to capture a new market, and are 45% more likely to report increased market share year-over-year.
On top of that, companies can better attract talent by making ethical commitments. In fact, LEWIS found that only 19% of Gen Z would work for a company that doesn’t share their values.
Safe to say, it’s time for managers to take responsibility and improve business practices.
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