“Inclusiveness and Diversity’’ rather than Diversity and Inclusion is the new concept being embraced in organisations looking towards highly effective cultures that will attract and keep the highest talent. 

At a recent UTS MBA Womens Network Diversity and Inclusion Strategy Hack -  we questioned the very name of our network and I suspect at our next meeting it will get a new name! 

Juliette Bourke revealed that organisations which are racially diverse have greater curiosity and those which are gender diverse are more collaborative. But diversity and inclusion needs to be at every layer of the organisation.  Those organisations that have gender diversity outperform competitors 15% and those that are ethnically diverse experience 35% outperformance.  It has also been found that educational diversity improves team innovation.

The challenge to leaders is how to become “inclusive” leaders and how can diversity and inclusion pervade the vision and mission of the organisation.

During this Hack, we workshopped various scenarios which highlighted our own natural inclinations to be drawn to employees, customers and suppliers that are like ourselves. Although “ourselves” might be pretty good – how much better are we when complimented by other outlooks, connections, education and experiences. 

In changing the culture of an organisation, leadership courses and special programs have limited impact on their own. If you think your organisation is diverse and inclusive – look who is talking at conventions – do the men talk the business stuff, whilst women talk the people stuff?  Juliette Bourke, partner of Deloitte Human Capital Leader is encouraging organisations to not only explore demographic diversity but also diversity of thinking.  When looking at your organisation’s “sameness’’ … look at the system and processes … where/when are the trigger points for prejudice? For example, in the recruitment process – are HR Staff or managers choosing surnames over skillsets? Are girls with a unisex name more likely to be successful than girls with feminine names? How are staff promoted … through their performance on the golf course?

At EY, one decision-making strategy used is Preference, Tradition, and Requirement, that asks managers to pause and consider diversity and inclusion. It challenges leaders to examine their preferences toward candidates similar to themselves, consider whether their decision is being influenced by the traditional characteristics of a certain role or outcome and make their choice based on the requirements of the post rather than either of the first two factors.

Grace Donnelly, from Fortune says, “The tool gives people a way of questioning the status quo without accusing colleagues of being biased,”.

Amanda Rogers, Director, WLM Financial Services Pty Ltd.