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Developing effective diversity policies

Stop scratching the surface !

Go deeper for bigger changes.

How often have you heard “we have all these diversity programs, and the needle is not moving!”. Well managed diverse teams are indeed clearly more effective than homogeneous ones. And yet, a vast majority of diversity policies are ineffective to generate change in the composition of the workforce, especially at the highest level: in many organizations “diverse” managers whether in terms of gender, nationality, age, professional background… often tend to get “stuck” in middle management.

Strategy

Stop scratching the surface

In our experience, the ineffectiveness of most diversity policies stems from several factors:

 

 A vast majority of policies are too limited both in terms of resources and scope to allow registering the magnitude of change needed. They only scratch the surface while deeper change is needed.

 

 Many policies tend to address the issues perceived by management, which are quite often different from the actual issues. Management often tends to develop wrong assumptions about the root causes for the limited diversity. For example, many senior executive tend to believe women leave to take care of their family while women often leave for competitors. Diversity efforts sort of miss their target.

 

 Last, most policies do not effectively address the impact of System 1 and therefore have limited impact to effectively change behaviors.

The diversity policies we recommended to several of our clients have allowed them to register significant changes in their workforce composition in a relatively limited time frame. Such policies are grounded on a fact based analysis of the root causes that need to be addressed. They also quite often integrate actions which go beyond the traditional scope of diversity management, and integrate more general transformation programs.

Client case

A global industrial company had most of its growth levers in emerging countries. However, its total number of general managers was too limited to allow the opening of all subsidiaries considered, and most of the current senior executives had limited appetite for the new bottom-of-the-pyramid local market segments.

 

Read the case 

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