Each month, Mercer brings together in-house experts and external thought leaders, subject matter experts and influencers for an online discussion of the most pressing issues in the future of work and health. The program is called #MercerChats and takes place entirely on Twitter, where individuals around the world engage with Mercer’s intellectual capital and other leading thought leadership to share insights and discuss the best solutions to help organizations thrive. Below is a summary of our December 2019 tweet chat, highlighting some of the key themes discussed and the best insights shared.
From buzzword to business model, diversity and inclusion programs have evolved greatly over the years. But as the conversations and talking points have changed, the purpose has not, and it’s clearer than ever before that employers around the world win when they embrace and empower diversity.
What’s less clear is the best path to a more inclusive future of work. While almost every organization recognizes the value of a diverse workforce, there isn’t a consensus on how to build one. From hiring practices to leadership training to workforce analytics, there’s no shortage of approaches, and it’s incumbent upon every organization to determine which combination can deliver the balanced workforce they need.
HR leaders and experts around the world wrestle with this question every day, and Mercer’s own research shows that diversity, in all its forms, is top of mind for senior leaders. That’s why we invited a panel of thought leaders and influencers to have a discussion on the best pathway to diversity and inclusion. Below are some of the key takeaways for consideration.
It Comes from Within
While employers may have once passed off high-visibility slogans or flashy campaigns as diversity & inclusion programs, today’s organizations are setting a higher bar. HR and senior leaders in leading organizations around the world are pushing beyond rudimentary solutions and stop-gap fixes to generate meaningful change that positively impacts their workforce.
What’s the secret to this new success? Buy-in and commitment. Whether it’s regular engagement from senior leaders or a greater devotion of resources, the success of any diversity & inclusion programs is determined by those who conceive and support it. Whether top-down or bottom-up, support for diversity and inclusion must come from within.
A2: The single most pressing issue facing organizations today is pay inequality. There is no excuse to pay some people less than others for the same job responsibilities & performance. #mercerchats— S. Chris Edmonds (@scedmonds) 3 de diciembre de 2019
A2: Let's start with more diverse boards to initiate conversations at the top and to build an inclusive culture. This entails a more diverse workforce and inclusive programs, e.g., ample parental leaves provide support & education for managers.) #MercerChats #WEF20 https://t.co/0MZpR0yJ8L— Jola Burnett 🌟 (@JolaBurnett) 3 de diciembre de 2019
A3: Quotas drive awareness, but they don’t drive change. Leaders drive change. Taking an active role in changing culture drives change. To drive workforce parity companies need to change and measure what matters to them. #mercerchats #diversity #inclusion #WEF20 https://t.co/Nt2Kmi8B0N— Shelly Smith (@MsShellySmith) 3 de diciembre de 2019
A4) The most important solution is having #leadership which makes #diversity and #inclusion a top priority. Beyond this, having updated policies and procedures that take #diversity and #inclusion seriously is also critical to making a change. #MercerChats #WEF20 pic.twitter.com/GgXWlYC7OK— Tamara McCleary (@TamaraMcCleary) 3 de diciembre de 2019
Keep the Welcome Lights On
Talent is in short supply in the future of work, and employers need to do everything they can to broaden their pipeline of prospective employees. This creates a whole new dynamic in the employee-employer relationship, and HR is beginning to take notice. A new emphasis on employee experience and value proposition means that employers are reexamining all angles of their organization to ensure it’s as attractive as possible to both internal and external talent, and that includes diverse and underrepresented segments of the workforce.
Driving diversity and inclusion is not only the right thing to do - it also makes business sense - and the only way to effectively compete in today's world.#MercerChats #WEF20 #DiversityandInclusion https://t.co/jmwRGTL38D— Theo - 劉䂀曼 (@psb_dc) 3 de diciembre de 2019
A4: (1) We’ve heard a bit about delivering a rewarding #CX. However, this stems from a solid #EmployeeExperience foundation that extends to the community. When I joined @Citrix a few months ago, it was encouraging to see devoted efforts for addressing bias. #MercerChats #WEF20— 𝘐𝘢𝘯 𝘎𝘦𝘳𝘵𝘭𝘦𝘳 ☕️ 📲 (@IanGertler) 3 de diciembre de 2019
Q7: Gender-neutral #parentalleave benefits are a must, helping men, women, and the #LGBTQ community. And yet, US co’s are so behind: as of 2017, fewer than 25% of US firms provided even paid paternal leave: https://t.co/JA593UPimO @SHRM #mercerchats #WEF20 https://t.co/UNoTu6whrO— 🌈 Jennifer Brown (she/hers) (@jenniferbrown) 3 de diciembre de 2019
Measure Twice, Implement Once
Even the most noble and well-intentioned D&I program will go nowhere if it’s not implemented properly. After all, what good is offering inclusive policies if they don’t apply to the specific individuals in your workforce? Whether it’s extending parental leave to men or adoptive parents or offering flexible working arrangements to primary caregivers, there’s probably a solution that’s right (or wrong) for your workforce.
This is why it’s so important for HR to be mindful of how you build your diversity and inclusion program. Start by asking employees what they want or need, but don’t stop there. Embrace workforce analytics to better understand what’s impacting your employees, and apply data analytics to find ways to retain the most vulnerable segments of your workforce.
A4 Flat rate compensation has proven effective so that it shifts it to performance based as well as transparent as some Corps are posting on a real time site so everyone can see where they fit in 🌐🤔 #WEF20 #MercerChats— BrainBlender🤔🌐 (@BrainBlenderTec) 3 de diciembre de 2019
A4. We need to make bias visible to overcome them. That includes the owned & ingrained in companies' cultures, processes.— Eugenia Naser (@EugeniaNaser) 3 de diciembre de 2019
It's hard but needed to change things. With #leadership commitment, education & transparency, #DiversityandInclusion can have a real place.#MercerChats https://t.co/ZG3yqu2M09
A4) "The first step towards impacting unconscious bias is awareness," writes @DrJaniceGassam in @Forbes https://t.co/gCL0O234Dh— Walter Jennings (@FacingChina) 3 de diciembre de 2019
Too many cases to include of bias destroying reputation. Effective solutions must be ongoing in the long term. #FutureOfWork #MercerChats #WEF20
Just like every other area of human resources, diversity and inclusion is a constantly evolving field. From new technologies to new priorities, leaders and HR professionals should expect and embrace new developments if they wish to offer a best-in-class program that keeps pace with competitors and peers. But throughout all the change, they’d do well to keep these simple truths in mind: