Have we got Diversity wrong? Time for a rethink? Time for a rebrand?

After 16 months championing people with mental difference, launching a unique online diagnostic that uses psychometrics to validate how diverse groups feel and cope at work, hundreds of amazing conversations and conferences, and two general conferences last week alone that turned out to major on diversity, it’s time for me to get something off my chest!

Some of the leading campaigners and thought leaders on diversity, and some media I might add, have confirmed recently that we are just not moving the needle far enough on diversity!

But I believe we might be doing a little better than most people think but they just don’t know it! I also think with a slightly alternative and consolidated view people will recognise this, and the UK will have an opportunity to push on and lead the field.

I started to doubt we had diversity 100% correct a few years back when I was on an all-white male seminar panel and someone called it out on social media. Yes, it didn’t look diverse, but one of the panellists was an OAP, one was gay and one had a mental illness. So it was in fact, in my opinion, totally diverse. I’m tempted to say hidden diversity!

Recently, there has been a lot reported about all female shortlists and quotas, and this was raised on Wednesday at a roundtable event. Very positive feedback from everyone, including me, however, I did suggest this had risks because it could be seen and experienced as being exclusive by others, especially white middle aged males with a physical disability / mental health condition or another protective characteristic. Again, in my opinion, they represent diverse groups but just happen to also represent one of the groups at the centre of the inequality debate.

So is the problem people not understanding what diversity means, or how diverse their workforces actually are?

Is the problem too much silo focus on specific diversity group activity, potentially to the level that they compete for recognition and action from the exact same enablers of change, therefore leading to an inconsistent and weighted outcome?

I think it’s a combination of all, and the solution is to drastically simplify the subject and approach to raising awareness and championing difference!

And that word is the key in my opinion….. DIFFERENCE!

We need to simply accept that everyone is different, and it’s these differences that bring alternative ways of achieving things, lived in experience and better outcomes. These differences, and associated experience and skill sets, qualities and capabilities, need to be understood, embraced, celebrated, supported (sometimes with reasonable adjustments) harnessed and valued!

Simultaneously we need to encourage people to surface and celebrate their difference. If we can achieve both, we will have the optimum data set to match roles to the very best people based on their experience and skill set, qualities and capabilities.

Finally we need to accept that we are a product of our upbringing, relationships, life, experience, education etc. and all forms of bias are going to exist. Knowing this and tackling it in a positive and ‘in the moment way’ will reduce bias in the recruitment and employment process / experience.

So where do we start. I’ve seen a number of ‘head of diversity and inclusion’ roles advertised recently and a good start would be to rename these ‘head of difference’, with the brief to encourage people to surface and celebrate their difference, and business to provide knowledge, learning and case studies surrounding how different differences bring brilliance and optimal outcomes, plus take every step possible to educate the workforce about bias and how it’s a ‘barrier for best’.

Simultaneously businesses needs to accurately benchmark difference across their workforces, across all levels, to identify areas of critical focus. This is where anonymous surveying surrounding the categories of difference people fall into, plus how they feel and cope at work will provide the data to inform the optimum ‘difference strategy’.

Some will notice I used the word anonymous when I previously I suggested we needed more to celebrate their difference. Not everyone will do so initially, but in time I hope they will.

Society naturally needs to mirror this through parenting, community groups, Government and the education system etc. but that is the subject of another article!

I’m not suggesting this is going to be easy but we need to pull together and support a simplified collective cause which will be easier to consume, adopt and practice.

I would welcome your views.

Colin.

HR NOW and in the FUTURE in two paragraphs

NOW

Attract and recruit the right people, in the right volumes, in the right places, at the right time! Strive to get the optimum performance from them, encourage and develop them and look after them in order to retain them!

FUTURE

Attract and recruit the right people and/or purchase, lease or build robots, in the right volumes, in the right places, at the right time. Strive to get the optimum performance from them and/or keep up with the software maintenance patches, encourage and develop them and/or keep accepting the firmware software updates and look after them and/or follow the manufacturer’s maintenance schedule, to retain them and/or keep them going!

Calling all Employers and Recruitment Tech’s – Anomaly with disability questioning

I’ve been applying for jobs recently and some forward thinking organisations are asking the full suite of diversity questions. Thank you to all of you.

However, me being me, I noticed something which could be evolved.

When answering if you have a disability, it’s a bit confusing when it comes to some mental illnesses.

The question is mainly along the lines of, “do you have a disability, when the term disability means you’re disabled under the Equality Act 2010 if you have a physical or mental impairment that has a ‘substantial’ and ‘long-term’ negative effect on your ability to do normal daily activities”, with a Yes or No option for answering.

In some cases however, specifically surrounding mental ill health, it’s not as clear cut as a Yes or No answer!

If someone has OCD, Depression, Bi-Polar Disorder and possibly other mental or physical impairments, the symptoms are not always present, and in some cases the illness or impairment can be pretty much 100% under control!

But even in these cases there will potentially be times when the symptoms present themselves and will have a ‘substantial’ and ‘long-term’ negative effect on one’s ability to do normal daily activities!

So what do you do? Do you answer ‘Yes’ even though your employer may never see any impact on your ability to do normal (gosh I really hate the word normal) daily activities, and potentially worry in the back of your mind that in the wrong hands that intel might be used negatively against you (stigma hasn’t been completely smashed yet), or do you answer ‘No’ and being the conscientious people we are, have that niggle in the back of your mind that you are in fact not answering honestly?

I personally think the answer is to include another answer selection which is, Yes, but controlled (or equivalent). In my book this covers all basis, and opens up an additional healthy line of conversation regarding the person’s health and how by managing the symptoms it has created additional experience, capability and resilience etc.

I’m sure others have an opinion on this so please comment and share so we can potentially influence change if indeed people agree change will add value.

All the very best.

Colin.

You could lose the 4th Industrial Revolution opportunity

Lord Holmes spoke eloquently on Wednesday at Tipping Point about the opportunity the 4th Industrial Revolution represents to British business.

But some of you are going to miss it because many businesses are working harder to take your talent, than you are working to keep it!

Humans are programmed to survive, so no matter how much AI, machine learning, robotics and everything else making the headlines affects people and business; humans will innovate, find a way, and progress. The one constant that will determine whether your business thrives or dives, is your people!

Therefore, you absolutely must keep your critical employees, and add to them, to take advantage of today’s ever evolving world of work! You also must embrace diversity to ensure you have the full range of perspectives, experience and differences in thinking, to exploit the pace of change, innovation and automation.

The world is awash with examples of recruiting excellence with the most advanced employer brand, attraction, selection and onboarding strategies, all designed to take your best people away from you!

And some companies are truly diverse which means they bake difference into every challenge and solution, which will naturally attract people with the brilliance their difference gives them.

These coincide with practices in other businesses that play into the hands of talent competitors, namely, restricting earnings, heaping on pressure, poor communication and treatment, sub-optimal supervision and management, inequality, poor working conditions and no consistent purpose and cause. Basically a sub-optimal employment ecosystem.

There are three types of businesses:

  1. Those that say people are their most important asset but don’t treat them as such.
  2. Those that say people are their most important asset, want to treat them all as such, but due to a lack of consistent governance, they don’t achieve it.
  3. Those that say people are their most important asset, and treat everyone as such.

You should know which type of business you are and which type of business you want to be.

You should know if you have an optimal resourcing strategy.

You should know if you have an optimal approach to diversity, inclusion and belonging.

You should know if you have created the perfect employment ecosystem aligned to achieving the business plan and retaining your critical talent.

If you score positively in each of the above you will thrive and capitalise from the 4th Industrial Revolution.

If you have any doubt whatsoever, please contact me, for an open and honest conversation and appraisal.

It would be a delight to support you to seize the opportunity the 4th Industrial Revolution brings.

Colin.

Fix your employment ecosystem and the very best people will flock to you!

Great people leave organisations because (in no particular order);

  • they don’t feel valued,
  • the commute and business travel requirements impact too heavily on life,
  • they don’t like/respect their boss,
  • working demands, conditions and environments are poor,
  • the business lacks purpose and cause,
  • treatment and behaviours are unacceptable.

So fix all of this (your employment ecosystem) and you will fix your retention and productivity issues, and I’ll come on to why you will also fix any attraction issues in a bit! Easy huh! No, not easy at all because many of the processes and tools you can use to identify where these issues exist and in what doses, in order to apply corrective action, are traditionally subjective!

Answer me this! If you were working in an organisation going through major change or overhead reduction, or you felt you were being treated unfairly, plus you have a young family, meaty financial commitments, global travel aspirations, in fact whatever required you to have employment stability and continuity right now; would you tell the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth when questioned. Some will, but I would argue some won’t…… just in case it comes back on them!

So you may not get a true and consistent picture, and those that really need support and intervention might just be the ones that won’t offer up exactly how they feel or what’s not working well internally. You may be in a situation where people just accept what is making them unhappy and carry on less engaged and less productive.

Then think about this. If you could surface the real reasons why people are either leaving or unproductive, and were able to use this to create an optimal level of engagement via an optimal employment ecosystem, the word will get out!

People will tell people how great it is to work at your company, and you will be able to authentically tell them too!

What do I mean? Basically, by fixing your employment ecosystem you will generate some amazing;

  • employer brand messaging,
  • EVP components,
  • ratings on Glassdoor and Indeed,
  • positive brand virility across LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter etc.
  • brand advocates recommending brilliant people to work for you.

All things that are the cornerstone of an optimal attraction strategy. You fix the employment ecosystem, you optimise retention and attraction at the same time!

It doesn’t work the other way around I’m afraid. Upgrading your resourcing strategy to pile people through the front door to a suboptimal employment ecosystem, then hoping they stay and are productive, wastes valuable time, resource and investment

After 20 years in senior resourcing and HR positions, the last two immersed in the psychology of people and retention, I am ideally positioned to provide trusted advice and innovative solutions that go well beyond what has been traditionally available.

Speak soon, I hope.

Colin.

Your retention strategy is more important than your attraction strategy!

People are leaving your organisation, or gearing up to, because;

  • better opportunities are being offered to them,
  • they are unhappy with the commute / business travel requirements,
  • your business lacks purpose and cause,
  • they don’t respect their boss!

FACT!

People want to;

  • be paid well,
  • have a reasonable commute and business travel regime,
  • work for a business and leaders they can be proud of,
  • have a boss that is fair and supports them!

These are the proven top four. Now sit back, clear your mind and think of everything else that you personally covet, and if they don’t fit into the above you are thinking of the five and onwards that are extremely important but in general are not top of the leader board.

So if you can;

  • pay commensurate to the effort someone gives you,
  • consider and react to the challenges people have commuting and travelling for business,
  • clearly articulate and communicate what you stand for as a business and aim to achieve,
  • ensure everyone treats everyone else fairly and equitably…

…you will have a better than average retention rate!

Better still you will have some amazing;

  • employer brand messaging,
  • EVP components,
  • ratings on Glassdoor and Indeed,
  • positive brand virility across LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter etc.
  • brand advocates recommending brilliant people to work for you.

CAUTION!

It doesn’t work the other way round, hence your retention strategy being more important than your attraction strategy!!!!!

You can spend all the money in the world on;

  • strategic workforce planning,
  • marketing your business and jobs,
  • state of the art digital, recruitment and HR technology,
  • the world’s leading attraction channels,
  • an award winning social media presence,
  • the slickest recruitment process,
  • an outstanding onboarding experience…

…BUT if the actual employment experience doesn’t live up to your front end attraction experience and what you sell to candidates, you will get found out!

At best you can expect sub-optimal productivity from new hires until they leave.

At worst you can expect new hires to leave immediately, thus wasting all the time, effort and resource attracting them in the first place!

I’m concerned about the amount of people confirming retention issues to me when we have arguably one of the biggest changes in the labour market looming in the form of whatever Brexit brings us.

A diminishing labour pool due to reduced immigration, and growth, yes growth, after Brexit day, because let’s be honest the Government and Bank of England will jump in with fiscal stimulus if things start to go South; means increased competition for less available talent.

You must retain your most important asset, and develop your most important asset, which will in turn help you attract more of your most important asset, and put your business in a much better position than most in the run up to, and aftermath of, 29th March 2019!

The majority response I have had from my last post “Is your Resourcing / Talent Strategy Brexit proofed”? was from people suggesting employers will leave things too late (just like GDPR two said) so let’s please prove them wrong.

If you need any help with any of this, you know where I am, but remember time is running out and there is only one me! Thank goodness I hear some cry!

All the best.

Colin.

colin.minto@bigideatalent.com
+44 (0)7887 480142
www.linkedin.com/in/colinminto

Is your Resourcing / Talent Strategy Brexit proofed?

It’s coming and will be upon us faster than you think. As things stand, the UK will depart the European Union on 29 March 2019. That’s just 10 months, and allowing for Bank Holidays, it means approximately 200 business days to assess if your talent acquisition, optimisation and retention effort will stand up to whatever Brexit throws at us, and evolve it if it won’t!

With many businesses already reporting recruitment challenges due to reduced immigration, no crystal ball to confirm whether or not the UK will fall or stand tall after Brexit and increasing reports of retention issues amongst millennial, diverse and established employee groups; smart leaders are acting fast to sure things up.

If you are not already excellent at demand planning, best people attraction, the selection process, equipping hires for success, managing employee experience and retaining employee commitment;  the basis for, and pillars of, the Six Pillar Talent Lifecycle Model, you might want to take action quickly to be optimal by Brexit day!

Why quickly? Auditing your existing end to end resourcing, talent optimisation and retention solutions and processes against the Six Pillar Talent Lifecycle Model, to identify which of the three components of excellence in each pillar are optimum, in need of evolution or at worst missing, takes 20 business days.

So let’s say a month. You will need at least three months (and that’s pushing it) to implement the recommendations from the audit. Let’s assume this is the case and if you leave it to the last minute to complete the audit, this means January, February and March 2019. So there are only really seven months left to get your audit in! Take into account August and December are predominantly lean months for project progress, and you are left with just five months, starting from June 2018 (Friday next week is the 1st) to get your audit in!

Some will say this might not be the case because UK will have a transition period. Some will say they have tasked someone internally to focus on this already and an experienced and totally independent third party pair of eyes is an unnecessary cost. Some will say this is Brexit scaremongering. That’s fine, I personally wouldn’t take the risk and if I was back in a Group Head of Resourcing role, I would have audited straight after the referendum.

I’ve been round the block a few times, looking at resourcing from every direction, outside and inside of some of the largest companies in the world, and I have every scar imaginable. So to those that do say any of these things, I wish them good luck.

To everyone else out there, that may not have started optimising their resourcing and talent strategy ahead of Brexit, I am taking just five bookings to run audits on a first come first serve basis. I’ve highlighted why it can only be five above, so that’s five audits for five smart leaders before the Brexit button is pressed and whatever awaits us plays out.

If you want to be one of the five and ensure your resourcing and talent strategy is optimised and Brexit proofed, please contact me ASAP. Unfortunately, once I’m booked, I’m booked!

All the very best.

Colin.

What if Brexit is Brilliant!

Whilst on a call getting to know my new industry friend Kate Temple-Brown, who does wonderful work supporting businesses optimise their Apprenticeship Levy, we talked about the workplace ecosystems that Apprentices ultimately land in when they start work, and how simple interventions to reduce stress by improving environments, conditions, behaviours and treatments, can demonstrably increase initial and ongoing engagement, employer brand affinity, productivity and retention!

Unfortunately some organisations don’t get this quite right, something Kate and I will be working on together with clients, and we continued our conversation surrounding the cost and impact of losing an employee soon after joining, including the wasted up-front investment and effort to attract people in the first place, and the legacy costs.

The discussion got a little deeper as we started comparing the impact of getting it wrong in a more buoyant market where talent becomes scarce! Enter Brexit into the conversation! Everywhere you read there are already concerns about the impact of reduced immigration on attracting talent, and it dawned on me what if there was a double whammy and Brexit actually turns out to be brilliant for UK business creating a spike in the economy?

According to some this could actually become a reality and therefore constitute a major risk to the continuity of business. Reduced immigration combined with a much larger draw on the existing and emerging talent pool could be catastrophic for businesses that cannot attract, satisfy and retain the people they need! A Double Brexit Bombshell in the War for Talent!

I wanted Kate to share her insight on this potential phenomenon; “Many organisations that we speak to have been relying heavily on buying rather than growing talent, particularly in the fast moving digital space. Many companies have specific consultant budgets and the market costs of hiring short term experts in new digital technologies is running out of control. We recommend spending a short amount of time strategically thinking what you will need in the next 18-36 months, then leverage the flexibility and modular nature of the apprenticeship standards to create a relevant, rigorous and transparent career and development pathway.  This will not only prepare your company for the future but also be an employer of choice for the ever decreasing talent pool”.

If HR hasn’t got this on its risk register, and therefore isn’t investing in diverse, emerging and established talent attraction and retention excellence, it might need to add it PDQ. Even if this doesn’t become a reality, it would still be best practice to prioritise this.

If you would like to discuss the potential impact on your business, or any other resourcing, HR technology, employee engagement, retention and wellbeing challenge, I would love to hear from you.

All the very best.

Colin.

Diversity – It’s not a Gender Agenda!

She hopefully won’t mind me saying this but I took my initial learning and inspiration for focusing on diversity and inclusivity throughout my resourcing career from the most amazing Group Head of Diversity, Theresa White of G4S.

Diversity was an automatic element of everything that G4S did whilst I was there, and I remember clearly a leadership diversity focused meeting at Group where Theresa made us all feel comfortable to say whatever came into our heads, as there was some apprehension from us newbies to the subject surrounding inadvertently saying the wrong thing during conversation.

To open our minds to the full diversity experience Theresa instilled in us the notion that ‘Diversity is not a gender agenda’ and that all difference was good and should be celebrated and incorporated at all times.

I was reminded of this during a Facebook conversation this week with some industry chums as I played back an experience I had when I was on an external panel discussion and afterwards someone quipped that the panel wasn’t very diverse.

Yes on the face of things there were three white blokes, who even with the best makeup artist couldn’t look young again, so we fitted the stereotypical pale, stale, male group, however, one was in his seventies, another was gay and I have a mental illness, OCD.

So in reality it was a very diverse panel, but aesthetically, you could understand why we were called out as being the opposite.

A question bounced around my head whilst mowing the lawns this morning and I just had to write it down. So just how diverse are our workforces?

Do we really know what diverse groups our employees enjoy belonging to? Some are quite naturally easy to recognise, but the more private and sensitive, e.g. mental ill health, where many don’t want to disclose, could account for so many more belonging to a diverse group and therefore enriching the real percentage scoring of diversity across the organisation.

And back to the pale, stale, male stereotype. Has anyone else thought that as more and more are comfortable discussing their diverse group membership, especially people with mental ill health (yes I do think this is a diverse group), are people that fall into this category and absolutely no other, ultimately going to fall into a future minority and diverse group that will need to be surrounded by a support and campaign environment, where members are championed for the difference they can still bring to our ultra-diverse world?

Happy Bank Holiday (UK) everyone, and do get in touch if I can support with any of your diverse hiring, or mental health initiatives.

Colin.

When recruiting becomes a complete waste of time, effort and cost!

You’ve got the full support and stakeholdership of the CHRO, AND BEST resourcing leader, strategic workforce planning outcomes, resourcing target operating model, recruitment business partners, researchers, representation at conferences and seminars to share and acquire best practice, employer brand, employee value proposition, talent pools, job descriptions, career site, attraction strategy, digital / social recruiting channel ecosystem, mobile strategy, recruiting CRM, applicant tracking system, recruitment process, hiring manager maturity model, interview strategy, assessment process, offer and screening process, candidate experience, onboarding process, integration with your amazing core HR technology solutions, and everything else your optimum resourcing strategy includes to hire the very best people, which collectively costs you £millions per annum!

But some great people still don’t apply, and some of the people you recruit leave almost immediately, or stay and don’t achieve 100% productivity before leaving! Why?

I gave 100+ talent leaders at Talent Leaders Connect the answer yesterday, when I highlighted that sub-optimal working conditions, environments, relationships and behaviours, created by the existence of unhealthy levels of workplace and workforce stress, can undo all the sensational work they, and their supply chains, are all doing to bring the very best emerging talent to their organisations!


I use the example with Mo Farah and Usain Bolt!

With the right contacts, reasons, message, approach and offer, you could get one, or both, of them to run a race for you.

Ask them to run it on an Olympic grade track, at the optimum altitude, with the latest sports and footwear, in perfect running weather conditions, and they will deliver for you.

Ask them to run through a field, two feet deep in squishy mud, in the pouring rain, in loose welly boots, with a heavy and uncomfortable rucksack on, and they will of course be sub-optimal, or may even decline to attempt it.

Oh, and they will tell their network about the situation, so you’ll never be able to attract an elite athlete into conversation again.

So if your organisation suffers from unhealthy levels of workplace and workforce stress, most of which is employer demand, process and people driven, expect the very best people not to want to join you, not to perform if they do join you, and especially with regard to emerging talent, leave you quite quickly because they can!

I’ve specialised in attracting best people to organisations for 20+ years, and have strengthened and expanded my interest and capability in the last two years to incorporate how best to attract, optimise and retain them, by treating and evolving the business, not the people you have just hired.

It’s now possible to accurately diagnose, remedy and prevent problematic stress in the business, so if you are worried that some of your time, effort and/or budget is being wasted because you are landing people into a sub-optimal workplace, plus you are experiencing productivity, risk and culture challenges, please feel free to contact me.

I can optimise your resourcing investment, ensure the best people stick and demonstrably increase people and business performance.

Colin.