Asking the HR community for help developing comprehensive solutions to a multidimensional problem

Achieving inclusion, diversity and performance all at once

Jorn Verweij
25 Jul 21

An original article by Decision Free Solutions

For the full article in PDF go here.

A New Approach To Achieve Inclusion, Diversity and Organisational Performance all at Once

— Asking the HR community for help developing comprehensive solutions to a multidimensional problem

Management summary

As a 2018 McKinsey report demonstrated again, lack of inclusion and diversity — in the workforce and in leadership-roles throughout the organisation — is correlated with lagging organisational performance. This observation has resulted in a range of measures, usually as part of HR-lead diversity programs, to improve diversity in the work force and in leadership teams.

This article argues that diversity is not a driver of performance, but goes hand in hand with it. It is what happens when expertise is utilised to overcome prevalent social biases. Diversity programs play an important role, but the challenge intersectionality poses can’t be overcome by setting targets. The problem is systemic.

Social biases enter organisations whenever choices are made which are not fully substantiated — e.g., through hierarchical decision making and as often found in rules, protocols, procedures, contracts, etc. Organisations can overcome these social biases by creating the conditions to optimally utilise expertise — where expertise has no colour, gender, religion, body-type, title, socio- economic background, accent, etc.

As such, lack of diversity is an organisational red flag — it indicates the organisation underutilises expertise. And this includes the expertise of the privileged as well: they may have been given the opportunity, but they, too, suffer from the frustration of lack of freedom, autonomy and trust.

The consequence of underutilising expertise is suboptimal organisational performance. The lack of diversity which goes hand in hand with it, signals to the outside world that the organisation is not an attractive employer for talents, and not an attractive partner for other organisations.

This article proposes a new pathway to both achieve greater organisational performance as well as inclusion and diversity. It solicits the expertise, energy and motivation of the HR community to develop and implement new measures to this extent. This article provides some pointers as to what some of these measures may look like.

Organisations who manage to optimally utilise available expertise are, by definition, human centric organisations. This article proposes that Human Resource departments are perfectly positioned to take on a much more pivotal and impactful role in organisations than “merely” managing the employee life cycle and administering employee benefits.

HR departments can be, and in the author’s view should be, drivers for organisational performance. It is the quickest road to do away with the grievances of racism and discrimination, and achieve inclusion and diversity instead.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Want to get a notification when we publish more articles?
The alternative to decision making is transparency.

Decisions are conclusions or resolutions reached after consideration (the Oxford dictionary definition of ‘decision’). When something needs to be considered it means it is not transparent. Create transparency and what follows are not decisions but ‘the logical next step’. When something is transparent you don’t have to think. Transparency allows decisions to be replaced by approvals.

Read more
Het vrijmaken van resources is efficiënter dan kosten besparen

In goede tijden is het eenvoudiger om goede marges te maken. In slechte tijden is je enkel verlaten op goede kwaliteit een uitdaging. Maar het simpelweg het mantra “kosten besparen” hanteren leidt tot een lagere kwaliteit en uiteindelijk kleinere marges. Het implementeren van DFS leidt tot een betere benutting van de beschikbare expertise, een verbetering van de kwaliteit, en dus uiteindelijk ook tot lagere kosten. Dit is hoe expert-organisaties de competitie voorblijven, en hun marges op peil houden.

Read more
Leadership performance is easy to predict.

In every leadership-role the aim is to create the conditions to achieve the aims against minimal risk. The needed combination of experience and skills is always different. Simple observations help to identify the right person.

Read more
Everybody can manage risk, only few can minimise it.

In every organisation there are both identified and unidentified risks. Unidentified risks occur e.g. when aims are not clearly understood, when it is unclear whether the right expertise is available, or used appropriately. All of which results in decision making. To manage identified risks is straightforward, to minimise risk you must avoid decision making. Which is what an expert does. But what does it take to become an expert?

Read more
To stay ahead, freeing up resources beats cutting cost.

In good times it may be relatively easy to make profits. In bad times relying on quality alone can be challenging. But the approach of “cutting cost” will affect the quality of your solution, and margins will get affected. Implementing DFS improves the utilisation of available expertise, improving quality and (thus) bringing cost down. This is how expert organisations stay ahead of competition, and retain healthy margins.

Read more
That decisions increase risk is not semantics, it is logic.

That decisions increase risk follows from the dictionary definition and use of logic. Few experience decisions in this way, for various obvious reasons. Many unsubstantiated choices are made based on experience or are educated guesses. We get a lot of decisions right. When the risk does occur, usually much later, we often fail to make the link with the decision. What is more, making decisions often makes us feel good. But the risk is still for real.

Read more