The diversity and inclusion (D&I) argument has certainly been in full force recently. It’s likely that you’ll have seen various reports outlining suggestions as to how we can encourage more women into the boardroom or what’s holding females back in the workforce.

What these continued debates suggest to me is that there is still room for improvement in the proper execution of diversity and inclusion initiatives. With hopes of moving this issue forward, Cielo recently held a roundtable event with HR leaders in London to assess the future of D&I and what can be done to foster change.

The discussion uncovered five key approaches to meet the D&I challenge

  • Create Diversity “Nudges”. Encourage managers to include a specific target group in recruitment strategies through tailored talent-pipelining – for example, female-specific groups. Further, consider urging front-line managers to include at least one member of a target group on each hiring shortlist. This approach of regularly exposing hiring managers to a targeted group of candidates can be highly educational and improve D&I.
  • Segment Employee Needs. Learn what your employees and target groups really want from you as an employer. Once you truly know your work population, you can then develop flexible and agile strategies that best suit each employee’s needs.
  • Be Flexible. According to a survey conducted by diversity consultancy, Capability Jane, both female and male professionals seek flexibility with regard to work schedules and benefits. Flexibility can include working part-time, remotely or simply having more control over daily work schedules.
  • Be Authentic. Creating a diverse workforce and inclusive culture demands an employer value proposition that is authentic and accountable, and promoted via the right channels. Communicating it effectively will call for partnerships with marketing and/or communications departments.
  • Consider the Metrics. Use accessible data in a more imaginative way to build and prove the business case for D&I. Only by measuring, evaluating and communicating the true value of diversity and inclusion strategies can you build the organisation-wide support necessary to incite change.

Perhaps the reason that this debate remains is simply that there is too much focus on a quick-fix solution. Creating a culture of diversity will not happen overnight and there is no one-size-fits-all option. Instead, gaining company-wide buy in – which is fed down from the top – to the idea that there are no limitations for any professional with the desire to progress, will create an environment that is attractive to all.

As Chief Innovation Officer, Sue Brooks is responsible for overseeing the growth and execution of the company's talent consulting solutions, including Search Solutions and the Employer Brand Practice.

Formerly a founding member of Ochre House, Sue is widely respected around the world for championing the adoption of innovative talent programs that deliver true business impact. Known as a thought leader in talent acquisition and management best practices, Sue frequently is interviewed by the media, speaks at regional and global industry events and facilitates workshops.

Her passion for sharing her experience and expertise led her to create the Cielo HR Director Network—an extended community of more than 650 senior HR professionals and executives who frequently converge at global events to uncover answers to the talent challenges of today and tomorrow.