Inclusion matters: The role of executive search in building leadership diversity
According to the Harvard Business Review, many CEOs worry about managing diversity and cultural differences within their organization.
Over the course of the next decade, record numbers of leaders and managers will approach retirement age across the US labor force. This mass exodus from the C-Suite will provide organizations across the country with a unique opportunity to accelerate existing Inclusion and Diversity (I&D) strategies – at both management and executive levels.
Now, more than ever before, the demand for succession planning is becoming apparent across many industries.
Organizations stand to lose knowledge and skills from those exiting the C-Suite. So, there’s an urgent need to rapidly onboard the next generation of inclusive and diverse talent.
The business impact of diversity
For businesses wanting to expedite growth and gain a competitive advantage, adopting a progressive approach is vital. When the focus shifts from hitting metrics and achieving targets, everyone in the organization stands to benefit.
Building inclusion programs within the workplace can drive performance, profitability, and foster a feeling of belonging for the workforce. Employees from diverse backgrounds feel valued, and can flourish in their careers.
Over the past two years, awareness of the business case for inclusion and diversity strategies has risen. If businesses want to prosper, and retain this competitive edge, they would benefit from having an inclusive and diverse workforce.
In a cognitive intelligence study completed by MIT engineers, researchers observed that successful teams had three things in common:
- They gave one another roughly equal time to talk
- They were sensitive towards each other (even in awkward situations)
- They included more women – automatically making them more diverse
Having different types of people on the same team can help give organizations a more rounded, holistic approach to problem-solving – thus, in turn, driving innovation and creativity.
Leveraging inclusion in the aftermath of a crisis
COVID-19 (and the ensuing jobs crisis that followed) made positions inherently more vulnerable – which puts diverse talent at risk. According to research from McKinsey, companies that fail to address the issues raised by the pandemic risk totally undermining the entirety of their corporate response to the pandemic.
For women and other minorities, the challenges of working during a pandemic – like broadband access, balancing childcare, home-schooling and remote working – have been widely documented. If tomorrow’s leaders – with strategic agility and other essential skills – are left with no choice but to leave the workforce, organizations will miss out on a generation of talent, with the skills and knowledge needed to see them through the remainder of the crisis.
Plus, creating a more engaging working environment should also be a top priority for companies. According to Gallup’s latest investigation into employee engagement, 87% of the US labor force are unengaged at work. The immediate result of this is staggering; companies are losing a whopping $450bn a year in productivity alone. From onboarding to upskilling and succession planning, mentoring can become a valuable asset for any business.
And, first impressions count. Only 32% of organizations currently have a formal onboarding process. A rushed or underwhelming first day can leave new starters feeling disengaged, and looking for pastures new.
Leaders who contribute towards building an inclusive workforce stand to reap the rewards. Improving inclusivity within the team welcomes boosted employee morale and stronger retention rates for those from underrepresented backgrounds. The organizations that prioritize I&D look to create a sustainable working environment.
How mentoring can help organizations build an inclusive workforce
By now, it should be clear that inclusion and diversity are more than the latest industry buzzwords. An emerging trend within workplaces is DIVERSITY + MENTORING = INCLUSION.
Research from Cornell University found that mentoring can help increase promotion and retention rates of minority men and women by up to 38% (when compared to non-mentored minorities). Moreover, the Association for Talent Development recently found that 44% of CEOs list mentorship programs as one of the three most valuable strategies to advance women into the C-Suite.
With 57% of employees feeling that their companies could be doing more to be more inclusive (and SHRM finding that 41% of managers are “too busy” to implement diversity training programs). It’s no surprise that the most diverse organizations implement robust mentoring programs within their culture. And, what makes employees feel included in a company (more than anything else) is when they have a personal connection with employees at all levels of the company. Mentoring programs can humanize the existing employee experience, allowing newcomers to make meaningful contributions to the business from day one.
Utilising talent management for succession planning
In Q3 2020, around 28.6 million Baby Boomers (those born between 1946 and 1964) retired from the labor force. This number isn’t set to slow down in 2021, either. As workers continue to exit the workforce, many organizations are struggling to plug the gaps within the senior leadership team. Here at G&E Partners, we can help find the right talent to maintain operations and drive further success from within your organization. After all, finding the right solution now can help prevent a number of headaches down the line.
Our strategy consultants are always on the lookout for fresh talent, to create and implement new management strategies to directly benefit your business.
For more information about how succession planning can benefit your organization, contact G&E Partners today.