Navigating the Road to Diversity

April 14, 2023 – By now, we are all well aware of how diversity in the workplace can help our teams, companies, and society as a whole—not as an act of pinkwashing but actually as a sound and simple business approach to ensure that the people in company match those that you are looking to serve outside of your organization. If you are selling to the Spanish market, for example, you will want to make sure you have people onboard representing that market. Or, if you are selling to hospitals or caretakers, you should make sure to have that target group represented in your ranks. We know from research that a high degree of diversity in your teams will give you the best foundation for making the right decisions and keeping your innovative edge.

This means that you will want to make sure that you do a thorough analysis before you recruit new talent, says Stockholm, Sweden-based executive search firm Mercuri Urval in a recent report. “Ask yourself: Who are we today on this team? How do we resemble one another? Analyze educational backgrounds, age, gender, and location (do you all live in the same area, wear the same clothes, and eat the same food?) as well as the current business requirements. What is it that you are not facing today as a company? Where are your blind spots?”

The blind spots are the most difficult, and by definition very hard to identify on your own, writes the report’s author Hanne de Linde, head of inclusion and diversity, and a partner with the search firm. “Therefore, it’s important to reach out and ask somebody outside of the organization, ‘What is it that we’re not facing, and what is it we may be blind to?’”

Next, it’s critical to get the type of people on board who can help your company progress and develop. “The best candidates could be difficult to find and attract, so it’s essential to be persistent and invest in this part of the process,” said Mercuri Urval. “Maybe you have to be extra mindful about how you represent your company in order to attract new candidates—ask yourself how you can reach out and include people who may not look and think like yourself at a first glance.”

The Cost of Falling Short

Getting the right people on board is vital. Failing to do so could cost a lot of time and energy. What’s more, it will be a missed opportunity and could delay development of what might be the next great business idea or strategy. “Make sure you invest in this, and measure how well you are doing at attracting new candidates,” said the report. “If you are not content with your results, it may be time to reach out and get help.”

Related: Diversity and Inclusion Trends for 2023

Lastly, when you have succeeded in landing candidates that represent a high degree of diversity, then your job moves into a new phase. “It’s important to include this new person in your company and at the same time continue working for diversity,” said Mercuri Urval. “Make sure your new colleague’s ideas are being listened to and taken seriously.”

How Diversity Initiatives Have Become More Prevalent
There is a quiet revolution taking place that is affecting every company that is looking for transformational leadership. So what is that revolution? Ruben Moreno, HR practice lead for Blue Rock Search, explains that one in which candidates are saying: “I am no longer going to take full responsibility for moving a company’s DEI initiatives forward. I am no longer going to trust promises of change unless I see real evidence of commitment. You say diversity, equity, and inclusion are part of your mission, and yet, there is no evidence you are actually living these values.”

As you recruit new and diverse individuals, it’s likely that you will need to pay extra attention to onboarding and developing these new hires. “They may feel that they are not fitting in, and not intuitively matching the company,” said the report. “That is a natural consequence of opening up to a more diverse workplace. Will your new employee need a mentor or a coach as a support for the first 100 days? Will your organization need to become extra conscious of allowing for new approaches, ideas, and thoughts? The team may have to break some long established patterns that they’re not even conscious of.”

Respected Recruiters

Mercuri Urval is a global executive search and talent advisory firm. The firm was founded in 1967. Today, Mercuri Urval works with more than 3,000 clients – across all sectors – in over 70 countries every year. It is the only global executive search and leadership advisory firm based in the Nordics.

Mercuri Urval has been present in the U.S. since 1981, and in more recent years, the business was predominantly focused on the East Coast and in servicing its European clients doing business in the U.S. The firm has recommitted itself to establishing a strong presence in the market, and is fully dedicated to investing in, and reinvigorating, its business across the entirety of the U.S.

Ms. de Linde, based in Copenhagen, is involved in coaching, development, and training. Her focus areas include leadership teams and organizational development. Ms. De Linde specializes in coaching, both individuals and teams, and in general development processes. Some key areas include: organizational development programs, coaching training, leadership training, and development. She is an active member of Mercuri Urval´s International Bid Office (IBO), and she is head of people development in Mercuri Urval Group.

Related: Successfully Hiring Your First Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Leader

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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