Let’s start with some good news. Diversity & Inclusion is likely to be the fastest growing segment within HR. Between 2017 and 2018, even before the shockwaves that the #MeToo movement has sent through workplaces worldwide, there has been a 20% growth in D&I vacancies at executive and senior executive levels, according to Indeed. It won’t be surprising therefore if 2018-2019 will show an even bigger spurt, with more companies opening D&I positions at a C-Suite or senior management level.
In many cases, corporates are arriving to this decision because it’s the right thing to do, and thanks to the abundance of research which proves above doubt that diverse & inclusive workplaces perform substantially better. In many other cases (such as Uber) the decision to embrace a D&I agenda and appoint a senior executive comes after sustaining a scandal due to misconduct, namely sexual harassment or racial discrimination.
And so the strong link, or indeed inverse proportion between misconduct and lack of diversity is becoming clear. This connection is not lost on the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority, who has launched a probe into the least diverse financial institutions following increase in claims of sexual harassment & bullying, and put senior City leaders on warning. The regulators are starting to understand: diversity can’t live where misconduct thrives.
Taking a closer look at the role of the D&I executive, it seems that the main responsibilities revolve around three themes: Attracting diverse talent, maintaining an inclusive culture, and addressing inequalities in the workplace.
Attracting diverse talent can prove difficult once the organization got tainted by a misconduct-related scandal. We’ve seen numerous examples of companies taking emergency measures to remedy a falling number of diverse candidates who are applying for jobs. For many companies, it’s almost impossible to bounce back and restore Employer Brand as a great place for everyone to work. Maintaining an inclusive culture and retaining diverse workforce can also be hard (consider the recent Google Walkouts) when the latest scandal is the only thing on employees’ minds. And addressing inequalities such as the gender pay gap becomes almost impossible. Sexual harassment, for example, is one of the silent drivers of the gender pay gap, with women 6.5 times more likely to leave within 12 months after experiencing this at work (which, in turn, stalls their effort to climb the career & salary ladder).
The conclusion is that each of these three main job objectives of the D&I executive can be adversely affected when misconduct issues remain under the surface, or when to the contrary – they erupt and become public (more often than not- the latter is the direct result of the former). Yet, over 75% of the observed misconduct in the workplace goes unreported. The remedy, therefore, is to take every step necessary to “know more” – to ensure employees feel confident to speak up and raise problems internally. Luckily, technology and innovation can help.
After decades of relying on the anonymous reporting hotline (or in recent years – anonymous reporting app), which did little to give employees a true voice, and failed the modern workplace in shedding light on unreported misconduct, new advancements in technology as well as new methodologies are taking their turn.
Vault Platform, the advanced reporting tool we’ve developed is becoming an essential channel of communication between employees and employers, and a crucial enabler of corporate trust. And it’s the D&I manager’s job to ensure that this trust exists. Without advanced reporting solutions, issues will continue to lie beneath the surface and threaten even the most progressive D&I initiatives. As advanced reporting tools become a standard solution in the D&I manager’s toolkit, both the company and its people are better protected, and a truly diverse culture can blossom.