THE LATEST IN OUR SERIES LEADING UP TO THE MANAGEMENT BOOK OF THE YEAR AWARDS
By shortlisted authors Danny Kalman and Steve Frost
The cliché is that people don’t leave organisations, they leave bosses. In fact, the evidence is pretty close to this – it suggests that people leave organisations above all else because of culture.
People are different, and require tailored inclusion strategies that avoid both one size fits all (that tends to favour the dominant group) as well as tailored approaches based only on stereotype.
Here are five actions you can undertake to retain minority groups:
Proportionality is the simple concept that promotion should be in proportion to the talent available. If 30% of ‘Grade B’ population is female, then we would expect 30% of promotions to the ‘Grade A’ above to be women.
In this way, the Grade A 20% female population would increase over time towards the 30% incidence at the grade below.
The concept’s simplicity allows it to be scalable across the entire organisation. It’s a nudge that doesn’t require much training. Its power lies in challenging previously held assumptions about the fairness of our promotion systems.
2. PROACTIVE PROMOTIONS
How we frame promotions is vital. Not everyone presents in the same way, or needs the same pull factors, but just because some need more persuasion than others does not mean they are less talented.
Make extra effort to find the brilliant talent that doesn’t self-promote – and then promote those people. Demonstrate through actions rather than simply words what you value.
Not only does this promote great talent – it also signals to self-promoters the behaviours that are truly valued by the organisation.
3. MIXED PANELS
Promotion panels should be mixed at least in terms of gender and department. The people on the panel should also demand mixed slates to interview, seeking out the quiet talent. Nudges such as independently ranking candidates blind (to avoid name association bias) and then coming to a group afterwards (to avoid groupthink) can be helpful.
The challenge is how to vary the selection method to better suit the individual while also having consistency and fairness to all candidates.
4. DEVELOPING INTROVERTS
Those people who are more open, talkative and comfortable with self-promotion tend to excel in more traditional training settings, get noticed more readily and are often highlighted as high potentials.
Introverts, on the other hand, internalise their thoughts and by the time they have had time to think others have often spoken up.
People responsible for running development programmes need to understand such traits so as to leverage the potential of all participants. Once people feel more confident to express themselves their energy and passion can often be seen.
5. EMPLOYEE RESOURCE GROUPS
These are associations of people with common interests, often diversity-based. For example, women’s networks, LGBT associations, and Black caucuses.
Often these networks go beyond immediate need and become proactive networks to win new business, advance careers through mentoring and sponsorship programmes and decrease attrition of particular groups.
The above five strategies can help retain minorities by changing the system, rather than making them ‘build profile’ when it might be inauthentic for them to do so.
Instead of ‘treating everyone the same’, signal to all of your people that you value them through the system changes you enact and the actions you undertake.
Danny Kalman and Stephen Frost are the authors of Inclusive Talent Management, which is shortlisted in the Practical Manager category.