Diversity & Inclusion has proven to be more than a passing trend, and it’s no wonder given the strong business case for a diverse and inclusive workforce – and the social movements that make D&I impossible to ignore. But while some companies have managed to reap the many benefits of their D&I strategies, others have been spinning their wheels.
As we enter 2020, Dr. Rosanna Duncan, Chief Diversity Officer at Palladium, anticipates a few key trends we can expect to see, and the ones that will have the most impact on companies and their people.
More Chief Diversity Officers
Real change must be driven from the top of any organisation. One of the biggest risks to a company’s D&I strategy is the perception that D&I is compartmentalised, a bolt-on to HR, or of too little strategic value to merit a proper seat at the table.
“Companies that do this well understand the importance of a very senior leader with a global view and a strong mandate to drive change,” says Duncan. “In 2020, as more Boards and CEOs wake up to this reality – in many cases through their own failed initiatives and the hard-won lessons of others – we’re going to start seeing more Chief Diversity Officers like myself.”
What gets measured gets done, and diversity is no exception. Basic measurements, such as the number of women in particular roles and the gender pay gap, are frequently collected and discussed. But these types of over-simplified calculations miss the root causes at play, and can prevent companies from taking the actions needed to really move the needle.
This is why Duncan is an advocate for measuring ‘equal pay’ using the compa-ratio method, which compares directly between men and women in a particular salary band.
“By looking at how people are paid for the same work, we can better identify trends and anomalies and take action,” she explains. “We can also make global comparisons, and tie meaningful KPIs to senior leaders’ pay.”
Duncan reports that improving the quality of the metrics at Palladium has had a huge impact, and as data science continues to increase in popularity, more companies will choose to equip their D&I leaders with ever more sophisticated data and set more ambitious KPIs.
Focus Beyond Gender
The past year has been dominated by discussions around gender diversity, but this is just one piece of what Duncan calls the “inclusion jigsaw”.
“Women are not a homogeneous group, and gender parity does not equal diversity or inclusion when women are only being recruited and promoted from the same privileged backgrounds as their existing male counterparts,” she says.
Diversity of thought requires an intersectional approach, with just as much emphasis on socioeconomic and other minority backgrounds as on gender. In 2020, we’ll see more analysis of how different types of inequality intersect, and will be able to shift our recruitment practices, selection criteria, cultures, and unconscious biases toward the necessary action for meaningful change.