Diversity and Inclusion in 2019 – what will it bring?

2018 saw great strides made in shifting the dial on how organisations not only talk about diversity and inclusion, but how they are also proactively delivering initiatives to ensure business success.

Our recent global research suggests that 2019 will continue to see that progress increased. Organisations will continue to make advancements in programmes that help recruit, retain, and advance women in the workplace, such as increasing the number of women in senior positions. However, we see diversity and inclusion maturing beyond a focus on demographic reports and siloed gender diversity, to equity and equality for all.

Widening the D&I lens: All parents need the same support
Whatever the set-up of the family unit, all parents need support from their employers. The way working parents of today think and the support they need has drastically changed, employers will have a crucial role to play in providing the right support at the right time and in the right way. With 70% of parents globally feeling they are failing to be the parent they want to be because of work pressures this organisational support is more necessary than ever.

Engage men in gender equality initiatives
A great deal of emphasis has been placed upon engaging men in the gender debate. There needs to be more sophistication in how to move men from passive to active participants and helping move them beyond their fears of overt involvement. Women-only networks will no longer be seen as a panacea. Men will increasingly be invited to participate in events to help tackle the systemic challenges that are still present.

Generational demographics
Organisations are going to need to address the needs of numerous demographics to tackle opportunities like flexibility and agile working. This will be a must have for organisations as younger generations will avoid those that don’t invest in diversity and inclusion and are unwilling to support individuals with work and the demands of their lives.

Leaders need to be leaders
Delegation doesn't work. Everyone watches what leaders do, not what they say. Our data tells us that many leaders must shift across the inclusion spectrum from passive support to active, conscious inclusion. In active mode, managers set the tone with inclusive behaviours and work practices. And when they do, they support their own success, they engage staff and they help business performance. We believe a few simple leader behaviours, practised every day, will make a big difference. 

Challenge the status quo - broadening the Women's Leadership vision
Organisations will continue the charge, rightly so to empower more of their female talent which will see an increase in women on boards, NED's and in the Senior Leadership teams. However, these initiatives will have a new vision - a vision that takes in to account the needs, challenges and lived work experiences of women of all ethnicities, with the understanding that these may differ greatly from one culture to the next.

Business growth and customer-focus
A large proportion of organisations still focus diversity in terms of retention and recruitment, which yes remains important. However, we have seen organisations leveraging diversity to underpin business growth and make better more informed business decisions, for instance creating market-relevant products that work for all customers.

Cultural agility
The ability to adapt and be effective when working with people of different cultures, is an essential skill for anyone working in any organisation when working with clients or co-workers across the globe or working with a coworker of a different race. This is particularly relevant for leaders of orgnsiations - they need to be able to inspire, engage and motivate people from a variety of different cultures in order to be successful and get results.

At Talking Talent we’re on a journey with many of our clients, working with them to achieve more with diversity, in turn creating inclusive and high performing cultures, delivering vast commercial benefits.  If you’d like to grab a coffee and hear more, please email info@talking-talent.com