Start with the ‘why’.
The delegates at this year’s 2017 Talent Conference for the Tech Industry were challenged to ask themselves “why is diversity and inclusion important to your organization”? Arguably, a trend facing all industries today is how to curate a culture that embraces all members of the workplace while managing to provide an all-encompassing environment to spark creativity.
Janelle Acker of Lululemon and strategic consultant, Virginia Nguyen, took their positions on stage as the morning keynotes and began the dialogue into the central topic of the conference—diversity and inclusion (D&I). To help drive D&I in their roles, Virginia highlighted the importance of buy-in power from the executive level and Janelle illustrated how tailoring onboarding activities ensured a consistent message was communicated. The keynotes concluded that organizations who uphold an inclusive environment and operate with diverse teams, will successfully outperform and out-innovate homogeneous teams.
There are numerous strategies organizations can use to embrace a D&I culture. Here are three key takeaways from my experience at the Talent for Tech Industry Conference that can help organizations modify practices to gain a competitive advantage:
1. Redefine Performance
The days of the annual performance review are gone. Traditional methods focus on achieving standardized metrics and customizing the compensation tied to it. Organizations that base performance off these measures are putting themselves at risk of losing their employees due to imminent stress and discouragement. However, driving cultural shifts within an organization is influenced by the performance management system and how employees are engaged.
By removing the arbitrary numbers on a scorecard and implementing a process of continuous feedback, it helps to bridge a connection between managers and their employees. Investing resources into coaching sessions means team members are able to recognize what actions constitute a positive impact and are motivated to do their best. Angela Wright of Hootsuite emphasized the importance of quality conversation paired with providing genuine opportunity for development, allowing employees to better understand how they can contribute to the organization’s success. Redefining what success looks like on paper illustrates an attention towards inclusivity because an organization can embrace all concerns of its people and ensure actions are taken to support them in the process.
2. Culture of Contribution
Building an inclusive environment can be challenging when your organization is divided among departments, various geographic locations, and accounting for a generational gap. To help mitigate barriers of inclusivity, a collaborative platform called Thoughtexchange helps bring various parties into the decision-making process on current issues. This creative platform allows leaders to ask a question to the participant who, in return, anonymously submits feedback and scores comments by importance. The data is gathered from the ‘exchange’ and helps leaders define goals and plan actionable measures to address the concerns of their people to demonstrate that they are listening.
Dave McLeod, CEO of Thoughtexchange, describes engagement as “a mutually beneficial interaction that results in participants feeling valued for their unique contribution.” When implementing a culture of contribution, it is essential that regardless of how diverse an organization is, all members feels respected and empowered. It is not about doing it all, it is about building a connection and fostering trust to enable all members of an organization to do their part.
3. Engage with Top Talent
Implementing a diverse and inclusive culture within an organization is only possible if you have the right people. Across industries today, many HR departments struggle with attracting top talent but fail to innovatively tap into their own resources. Stacey Donovan Zapar, founder of Tenfold brought forth creative solutions during her presentation to help organizations transform the recruitment process.
The first step to attracting talent is to understand what your organization’s culture is and how you educate your staff. A job posting becomes a method of advertisement for the organization by using testimonials or videos to communicate what it means to work at the company. Culture is the driving force behind the decision-making process and it is important to take appropriate actions that align with those values. Stacey presented an ingenious idea of promoting a culture of inclusivity by creating a career landing page that incorporates details for those currently searching for jobs and those who are simply browsing. By adding a “stay in touch” feature on the career page, this allows individuals to add their email to a mailing list and organizations to increase the number of available contacts!
This conference was a great opportunity for a student like myself to gain insight into the current trends that are facing HR teams today. For the delegates representing various companies, there was a chance for people to share ideas and activities they had taken to address the concerns of diversity and inclusion. Overall, the conference provided a great variety of topics and was relevant to current issues. I look forward to seeing what’s next!
Ambition, commitment, passion – these are three key ingredients Angela includes in her recipe for cultivating success. In her final year at the Beedie School of Business, Angela intends to graduate with a dual concentration in Human Resources and Marketing, paired with a minor in Communications. Angela has remained engaged in the Beedie community through her involvement in student organizations such as Enactus SFU, YWiB SFU, SFU JDC West and as a Beedie Ambassador. Aside from on-campus commitments, Angela is inspired by the changing cultural landscape and has continued to align her academic interests with her passions for people and development. Connect and grab coffee with Angela at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Linkedin!