Why diversity and inclusion needs to reach beyond hiring

Beyond diversity EFB

Diversity, equality and inclusivity has become increasingly important in the workplace. Not just from a hiring perspective but also in terms of company policies, benefits offered and terms of employment. For many employees, the pandemic ushered in a heightened awareness of how much of home life is required to be sacrificed for the sake of work. Working from home showed what was possible and gave a new level of freedom and flexibility. This made employees realise they could still be productive without being chained to a desk.

As a result, employee expectations have increased. Companies looking to hire and retain top talent, need to consciously put policies in place that clearly communicate that they value employees and understand what’s important to them. In this article we look at some of the benefits that employees consider valuable:

 Family friendly policies:

Maternity leave is historically viewed as a major disruption and expense, to the point that it’s been cited as a reason for not hiring women. However, today it’s not just women who wish to take time off to spend with their newborns, father’s too are asking for extended paternity leave. In modern families parenting responsibilities are often shared as many fathers want to be more involved with their children.  Companies that acknowledge this and show their support by offering flexible working conditions for both men and women are more likely to attract top talent.

Additionally, acknowledging that family responsibilities are part of daily life and giving the employees the flexibility to manage that is very attractive to employees. Many people are caring for elderly parents in addition to their own families, and as a result what they need from employers is support, not more rules and restrictions.

Outcomes over hours:

Aligning with flexible working policies is the idea that it’s not hours that matter, but rather outcomes. To this end many companies have introduced unlimited leave policies. This approach empowers employees to own delivery and has the effect of getting them more engaged. It also supports a culture of innovation and creative problem solving. When the focus is on getting the job done, people are more inclined to ask for input and this encourages collaboration.

These examples highlight that diversity and inclusion requires a broader definition and take into account employees’ current situations, needs, responsibilities and priorities as well as their gender, culture and age.