Elliot Clark, CEO of HRO Today, recently sat down with Lyndsey Shankland, EMEA Accounts and Global Continuous Improvement Lead for one of Korn Ferry's Fortune 200 clients, to talk about diversity and inclusion — one of the most discussed topics within organizations today. Whether you're a large, multinational corporation operating in many locations, or a mid-sized firm, it's critical to build and maintain a diverse, engaged and inclusive culture.
Infrastructure and cultural changes to achieve your DE&I goals
When asked about what types of infrastructure and cultural changes she would recommend to her clients in order to achieve their DE&I goals, Shankland first talked about some of the challenges facing organizations in this regard.
"I don't know a company that isn't talking about D&I right now. We come across many organizations who have been investing in D&I for years and have seen very little return. We encourage our clients to really come at it from leadership and management and ensure D&I goals are aligned with talent or business goals. Diversity and inclusion should be viewed as a source of value creation and a way of doing business. Inclusive leaders maximize the collective intelligence of their teams and unlock the potential of all that talent."
How important communication is between leadership, hiring managers and other stakeholders
Clark also asked Shankland about the importance of communication between leadership, hiring managers and other stakeholders when it comes to fostering a more diverse workforce — one that reflects the organization's customers themselves.
"I think leaders are responsible for removing systemic barriers and reducing bias in decision making," Shankland said. "But employees are responsible for tenaciously driving their own development and performance. This is something that's top-down and bottom-up. At Korn Ferry, we help our clients understand their diversity and inclusion maturity by either a quick temperature check or an in-depth, diagnostic assessment — then we can support leaders in creating those D&I strategies from a more practical roadmap with global and local metrics.
Shankland pointed out that while there is an emphasis on recruiting departments, it's not the whole picture.
"It's important that we recognize that, yes, absolutely, recruiting functions can certainly help present diverse talent, but it can't be done in isolation. We can't abdicate this responsibility to just recruiting functions, or just leadership. It's going to take a number of individuals, teams and functions within that organization to drive true D&I."
Maintaining a diverse culture
Next, the discussion shifted to organizations that may have built a diverse culture already, but now must maintain that culture by ensuring new hires are the right fit.
"How do you make sure, if you've got an inclusive culture, that your hiring process is screening out people that won't fit, or people with intrinsic bias in the way they work or manage?" Clark asked.
Shankland explained that when it comes to ensuring new hires are the right cultural fit, it's all about designing evidence-based D&I strategies that are grounded in talent and business priorities throughout the recruitment assessment process.
"It's all about partnering with the business to ensure effective onboarding of underrepresented talent. One size doesn't fit all. We work with our clients to take a systemic approach to building an inclusive organization."
To listen to the complete conversation, click to access the full podcast with HRO Today here.