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Why do we need diversity in HR? Does diversity breed creativity and productivity?

Why do we need diversity in HR? Does diversity breed creativity and productivity?

How can the least diverse sector be the lead in changing the diversity paradigm?

Diversity (or lack of) is one of our key focus areas. Saxus is strongly committed to building a diverse future – with particular focus on cognitive diversity rather than the broad-brush gender /race / sexuality diversity of yesterday. A diversity based on true self rather than extrinsic factors…

This search for greater creativity and spark has led me through many thought processes and one in particularly is this:

HR is, quite possibly, one of the least diverse sectors in business. It is the one area of the C suite where women outnumber men. The majority of HR graduates are women…

Is this a case of women rising – or is this in fact a lack of diversity issue that we seem comfortable to ignore?

HR has historically been a “people-focussed” side of the business with a strong leaning towards administrations. Historically women have been the mainstay of secretarial functions and so the move to a career in HR has been an easy one. In fact, for many women the move to HR was clearly a step in the right direction – the pay was better, the career opportunities better and perhaps more importantly – the dinosaur (male) bosses of the 1970s were comfortable with women in this so called more “caring” profession. Today 73% of HR Managers are women. (source: 2015 Bureau of Labor Statistics)

So – the real question here is… Is this a problem? The rise of women in the workforce is a good thing, the inclusion of greater numbers of women in the C suite can only be beneficial – and – let’s face it – historical work patterns do lead towards a gender bias in other professions (think nursing and teaching!). But if we have realised the need for less gender bias in these professions – then why are we still so secure with the world of HR being a female only zone?

HR is the gatekeeper to our organisations. If diversity breeds more creativity and productivity – then why wouldn’t your Human Resources department be the first place you look to change the status quo? Talk of diversity is cheap when the first people you interact with are not showing the way as role models themselves.

So, do we need to change?

Well I would argue that this is a resounding YES. Diversity is an all-encompassing factor in the way we improve all aspects of our world of work. A greater diversity in HR will filter through to the rest of organisation.

As with most things – the path to change starts with enlightenment – it’s about changing education and perceptions. A male nurse 20 years ago would have been a standout feature of medical care – now it’s just a healthcare professional.

Graduate programmes need to actively encourage men to consider a career in HR –and job descriptions need to show less gender bias. HR is not purely an admin role. It is strategic and critical to business success. After all, if we all agree that our people are critical to our organisation – then surely the department geared towards those people is an integral part of corporate success?

First impressions matter.

If diversity matters – then perhaps it’s time to change the face of HR?

Cognitive Diversity

Cognitive Diversity

“If you’re constrained by classical, conventional wisdom on appointments in recruitment you’re never going to optimise the situation. You need people to bring different thought processes and challenge the system, you need a cognitive diversity”

Dave Brailsford

Far too often , in work , and in life – we seek out people that validate ourselves. We look for the familiar, the mirror image. We cultivate (very often unconsciously!) a culture of “groupthink”. Corporations have bought into the commercial proposition that a diversity of gender, race, ethnicity and sexuality improves our workforce. Yet all to often we overlook the diversity of thought that could truly innovate within our workplaces.

Cognitive diversity means breaking away from the perceived norm of thought process; defined as differences in perspective or information processing styles.

Cognitively diverse organisations are more genuinely inclusive and collaborative places to work.

Tech is a classic example; when looking at the companies who are now positively recruiting individuals with Aspergers or on the Autistic Spectrum. These are companies who have recognised the power of “difference” – and are using these differently wired brains to enhance performance and innovation.

We do tend to recruit in our own image – its human nature to want to fit in. But this functional bias slows the process of innovation and performance down. In a time of huge disruption – agility is critical to staying ahead. If all our talent is only able to think in one way – we reach an impasse. Teams of cognitively similar teams may be great while situations are stable – but our digital world isn’t waiting.

A First rate Madness by S. Nasser Ghaemi explores the differences further still – looking at Politcal leaders with a history of mental illness. So called “healthy” leaders such as Tony Blair operated well during politically stable times – but compare that with Churchill and the crisis after crisis that required a mind more able to change on a sixpence.

Tips for better Cognitive Diversity

Change your recruitment process:

If we always do what we always did… then we always get what we always got. A cliché – but valid. Cognitive diversity is a far less obvious recruitment challenge. Many people do not come into an interview situation expecting to show how different they are to the organisation they want to work for – so searching out cognitive diversity is an obstacle in itself. Corporations and recruiters must work together to ensure that job descriptions and interview processes seek out competencies of those who are willing and able to challenge groupthink. Seek out talent from different pools, look for the curious, the open minded, the insightful. Don’t look for the mirror image of the rest of the team!

Perhaps consider using a recruitment algorithm to help reduce some of the natural human bias – use a diverse group of people to interview

Be Yourself:

Management needs to change to show that authenicity is welcome here. Generate an inclusive culture that empowers learning from everyone. Debate welcome here – challenge welcome here. Status quo no longer relevant. A manager that can enable employees to truly express themselves will encourage cognitively diverse and collaborative teams

Active Promotion:

Organisations must actively practice what they preach and positively promote differences in thinking styles across the corporation. This needs to be factored into career development and progression to back up the culture of true human diversity in real terms. Reward innovators and encourage disruptive thinking

For further reading take a look here:

https://hbr.org/2017/03/teams-solve-problems-faster-when-theyre-more-cognitively-diverse

Teams Solve Problems Faster When They’re More Cognitively …

hbr.org

The Difference: How the Power of Diversity Creates Better Groups, Firms, Schools, and Societies – Scott Page

http://nonprofitprofessionals.com/2014/01/from-rhetoric-to-practice-recruiting-strategies-to-make-diversity-more-meaningful-in-your-organization/

Workplaces of the future

Workplaces of the future

Total Talent Management is the current avant-garde of recruitment. The next method of competitive advantage. Everyone jostling for the “best” and most “talented” candidates and implementing benefit and reward schemes to ensure they retain their loyalty and dedication (Hardly a light bulb moment in the evolution of employee / employer relations).

But here is the thing. Not everyone is or can be the BEST.

In fact – the vast majority of us cannot, by default be the most talented.

So – given that this is an absolute – how can companies and recruitment alike – possibly begin to align the search for the best candidate with the population of potential employees that exist.

Talent scarcity is a big concern for the C-suite. Put simply – there are currently not enough people with the right skills / experience ready to step into roles. The supposed / perceived talent gap is driving the need for a shift in traditional recruitment and retention strategies to a more innovative and employee focused approach

So given that there is not enough Talent (or even that Talent in itself is not enough) – the future of talent management, at least in some part, must lie in truly understanding our employees in order to unlock potential; what motivates them, what is important to them?

What is needed is agility, connectivity, speed and cognitive diversity. The ability to respond in an ever shifting environment. Business must change – not just to take in the demands of the so called 4th industrial revolution, but also to reflect the changing workforce demographics and expectations of today and tomorrow.

It’s time to rethink what Talent management actually entails:

The Mercer Talent Trends review for 2017 raises some critical new perspectives for the age of disruption

Change:

The future of business is transformation. Evolution has already occurred – in order to stay ahead the pace of change needs to be rapid, efficiency increased and customer experience improved. And somehow – in this whirlwind of advancement – the focus on People within the organisation needs to stay high to ensure that the growth is sustainable.

93 % of businesses are planning to effect organisational change within the next 2 years – replacing the traditional vertical top down approach with a more streamlined and customer focused horizontal structure. This removes some of the more formal management roles and requires greater autonomy and critical thinking among employees.

Redesign is critical to success and having a solid “decision science” behind this will ensure that the new job roles accurately reflect the needs of agility, innovation and simplicity. As many of the new roles have no precedent – they need to be outlined via business contribution rather than specific “job spec” language. Changing job evaluation methodology has to be a key focus for TTM to assist with the change process.

Digital is what is pushing this change agenda – yet the vast majority of businesses do not feel they are a “digital company”. Most corporations have focussed on the external process first leaving the employee experience for later. Yet in the ever shifting world where talent is in short supply this is a short sighted and risky approach to take.

Personalization

A corporate “culture” is not a new premise. Far from it. What has shifted is that it is now no longer good enough to have a one size fits all approach to corporate culture. Gone is the narrow focus of company engagement – instead enter the world of employee experience. By this we mean a tailored approach, a person centric holistic view of the individual employee. A list of standard global perks and benefits is outdated and does not cater for the changing demands of the employee. Yet this is where the digital age can truly come into its own. Greater flexibility in working practices is becoming far easier to balance with corporate strategies due to technological advances. Think real-time workforce apps and career matching!

However there is still work to be done – many employees still report concerns that so called flexible working is perceived as a perk rather than as a means of optimising individual circumstances to bring about maximum return for everyone. It is estimated that 75% of the worlds workforce will be Millennials by 2025 – if you do not change with the times and cater for the needs of the many then you will become part of the problem.

True personalisation of the employee experience needs to include more than just a benefits package. Businesses need to consider the health, wealth and career path of their talent. Nurture and reward a culture of “work working for you” and utilise technology to act as a differentiator for your business.

Rewards

Given the shift in a one size fits all approach to corporate culture, it is no surprise that a change in how employees are rewarded is also on the cards. Whilst the old guard of fair and competitive pay and career opportunities still rank highly with employees, these are no longer the only way to reward and recognise contribution.

A climate of uncertainty is leading many employees to re-evaluate where and how they want to work. Corporate values are often measured via its performance management and rewards scheme and as such 83 % of companies have made / planning to make changes to their goal setting processes.

Exactly how rewards are calculated seems to be up for debate – but transparency about the metrics seems to be critical. Whether your performance ratings are numerical or verbal seems to matter less than a forward progressive approach to career development. The basics still count. A fair and transparent contractual reward system coupled with clear individual and team performance metrics. Add to this a greater clarity of information dissemination about career progression and further opportunity / reward for greater performance and it would seem that the ability to reward fairly and positively is on chart for effective change in 2017

Analytics

The sheer amount of real-time data available is greater today than ever before. Yet despite this wealth of information the progress towards “predictive” analysis is still slow. Mercer reports that almost 1 in 4 companies are still only generating basic talent management descriptive reports and historical trend analysis.

Deloitte Human Capital Trends report echoes this feeling. Highlighting a mere 8% of respondents using tools such as Organisational Network Analysis (ONA) to help inform better growth and redesign.

Properly done, Talent Analysis has the capacity to drive employee performance by providing the evidence that underpins talent management and business decisions. Given the rapid speed of corporate change, the ability to utilise talent data will not only help minimise the risk of talent loss, low productivity and engagement but also ensure corporations are better placed to plan for the workplace of the future.

As part of providing a fully integrated TTM service we must help corporations view talent through a different lens, to help them discover the potential and untapped skills in their existing employees.

The talent is there – the process of evaluating and developing it needs to evolve!

Fresh, Bright and Female… Careers Open to Talent – welcome here!!

Fresh, Bright and Female… Careers Open to Talent – welcome here!!

I recently highlighted an excellent blog post  http://www.insuranceage.co.uk/insurance-age/blog-post/2427441/moving-away-from-stale-pale-and-male which I hope you will have taken the time to read..

And I wanted to follow this up with a few ramblings of my own.

The “traditional” working picture – doesn’t exist anymore. Or at least – it shouldn’t! in a 21st century digital age – I sincerely hope that we no longer expect women to chain themselves to railings in order to have a voice. And it’s actually much more than that. Technology should be breeding diversity – in the workplace, workforce, work structure – work everything.

The diversity debate should no longer focus purely whether women can enter a “man’s” world. But more it should actively be looking to be totally inclusive – and how to present that a career is open to talent!

This is a subject that is especially close to my heart – as one of my children is deaf… so we have inclusivity issues in abundance right on our doorstep.  Human beings are pre-programmed to want to fit in and feel accepted. In the workplace (and especially the city) – that picture has been one of a MAN in a suit. It becomes pretty hard to walk into an environment where you feel that already you are the exception rather than the rule. Think men in Nursing if you want an alternate career example.

Recently Saxus tweeted about Exceptional Minds http://www.onrec.com/news/news-archive/exceptional-minds-gets-the-job-done – an example of how harnessing “non traditional” employees has huge benefits for everyone concerned. Our world is a smaller place as a result of technology – supposedly with opportunities presenting themselves. Yet we still choose from the same small pool we always chose from. Stereotypes abound – and we are missing so much talent through their fear (and ours) of challenging the status quo

Well – I would like to confront this “Stale Pale and Male” paradigm. I would like to suggest that we investigate our inner bias – and ask if we are choosing our next hire because its’ like looking in a mirror? Or because they are the best person for the job?

Genetically speaking – our species becomes stronger through a more diverse gene pool.  The same holds true for work.

 

If you always do what you always did.

You will always get what you always got

Interested in Diversity in Insurance – take a look here http://diveinfestival.com/

 

Images courtesy of FreeImages.com/Krzyzstof Baranski

Your Recruiting Process is Broken!

Your Recruiting Process is Broken!

So, when the demand for candidates with a certain skill exceeds supply of candidates with a certain skill, then any candidate with that skill is going to get a lot of calls from recruiter’s simple mathematics.Still, the problem of unfriendly and ineffective hiring processes by companies is all too prevalent.

How can you make your process more efficient?

How many rounds of interviews are necessary? How many people need to interview the same job candidate? Companies sometimes draw out the interview process because they’re trying to make sure candidates can “fit” with everyone with whom they will end up working with (which is great!) but not every company has an organized process. .This results in the wrong questions being asked, or the same questions asked multiple times by multiple people.

Recently, even the mighty Google acknowledged that aspects of their previously-used interview process were pointless, saying: “On the hiring side, we found that brainteasers are a complete waste of time…. they don’t predict anything.They serve primarily to make the interviewer feel smart.”

What many companies don’t realize is the protracted hiring process hurts them.Highly qualified candidates will not be on the hunt for long. They will be quickly snapped up by more nimble companies.The longer the process drags on, the lower quality candidates are left in the pool.This is counterproductive to what you want to accomplish.Long hiring processes cost the company in lost productivity.There is the opportunity cost of the open position or the revenue the new hire would generate.There is also the time the managers lose when constantly interviewing candidates.Assuming a candidate will interview with a minimum of 3 people and there are at least 2 candidates, a company will lose 6 man hours for every round of interviews they conduct. Companies with 4-5 rounds of interviews will be measuring lost time in man-weeks instead of hours.

So the next time you have a vacancy keep in mind it’s becoming more and more a candidate’s market.There is no need for a protracted job opening.Companies should be able to hire people fairly quickly… While every manager wants to hire a superstar, the reality is, not everybody is a superstar.Most of us are normal humans.Your hiring process is flawed and you as an organisation have the power to change it and save yourself some time and money in the process so what will it be?

JOB DESCRIPTION: A UK based software and services company that provides systems to the financial services market with an international client-base is looking to add a C# Developer to their current team.They are seeking a developer to work with the Development and Support group on their leading edge financial applications. Candidates will be considered with

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