The Real Value In Diversity And Inclusion Policies

The Real Value In Diversity And Inclusion Policies

A new survey of nearly 300 infrastructure sector workers and 85 hiring managers by infrastructure firm AECOM and recruiter Robert Walters has revealed the significant benefits of implementing organisational diversity and inclusion programs.

In addition to enhancing loyalty and advocacy towards an employer by 81 per cent, diversity and inclusion programs were shown to increase employee commitment to their job by 70 per cent and increase overall productivity by 61 per cent.

The survey also showed that diversity and inclusion policies have a significant impact on an organisation’s ability to attract and retain talent, with 84 per cent of candidates identifying organisational commitment to diversity and inclusion programs as important when they are looking for a new role. Despite this and, rather surprisingly, 35 per cent of employers do not actively publicise and promote their diversity and inclusion policies when advertising a role.

AECOM Chief Executive Lara Poloni said organisational commitment to diversity and inclusion is a win/win for organisations, especially in the context of a wider talent management strategy.

“With the right leadership, policies and culture, it improves the productivity and engagement of existing employees and helps attract new ones,” she said.

“However, diversity and inclusion alone is not enough; it needs to be part of a holistic talent management strategy to deliver maximum benefit.”

According to employees who completed the survey, the top three drivers for diversity and inclusion in an organisation are company culture (61%), equal promotion opportunities (59%) and flexible work arrangements (44%).

Robert Walters Brisbane Director, Sinead Hourigan, said well promoted and implemented diversity and inclusion policies can give employing companies a significant competitive edge in the recruitment market space.

“When employees are making decisions about who to work for in the infrastructure space, diversity and inclusion has become a key point of differentiation. It is of particular interest to note that both male and female participants are very much aligned in their thoughts about diversity and inclusion with very little difference in response across the genders.

Fundamentally, the survey found that many organisations are missing out on an opportunity to attract prospective employees by omitting their commitment to diversity and inclusion from job advertisements,” she said.

Ms Hourigan also said it is vital for organisations to interview exiting employees about why are they are leaving to determine whether diversity and inclusion challenges were an issue.

“The other area of concern unearthed by the survey was that more than half (54 per cent) of employers do not know if diversity and inclusion has been a contributing factor to an employee leaving.

We urge all organisations to include diversity and inclusion as part of the exit interview process, as this is a great way of identifying ways of improving policies to drive the right outcomes,” said Ms Hourigan.

Diversity and inclusion tips for employers:

Culture is key – while policies are important, it’s attitudes and behaviours that have the biggest D&I impact, according to 61 per cent of employees and 81 per cent of organisations

  1. Lead from the front – when asked who should drive the D&I agenda both employers (94%) and employees (91%) shared the view that it was an organisation’s leadership that had to set the example
  2. Actively promote D&I initiatives and policies in recruitment and retention – 43 per cent of employees believe that if D&I policies are actively promoted, they would be less likely to look for a new employer
  3. Start early – seventeen per cent of respondents felt strongly enough about the importance of D&I that they would actually turn down a job if they didn’t think the organisation was fully committed to it
  4. Measure and manage – ensure key aspects of D&I are measured and reported against in order to track effectiveness

This Better Workplace Bulletin was first published in October 2015