Thinking about Transparency, the image that immediately comes to mind is that of a window pane; clean, clear and visible. Everyone ought to able to see through it. This is its natural characteristic or quality. And to ensure the window performs its ‘duty’, we are self-tasked to keep it clean, giving it the regular wipe with the ‘soap and sponge’.
In the workplace and society, this is no different. It is no different because as human beings, there is something about the clarity, cleanliness and see-through character of the window pane that we expect professionally and socially, and indeed, are self-challenged to role-model in our day-to-day relations with each other.
Take the issue of financial reward and equal pay, for example, an issue that has now been brought to the forefront of all best practice organisations globally. It is approximately four decades since Equal Pay became a recognised issue across the globe, yet men still earn more than women in nearly 90% of job categories in the UK specifically – according to analysis carried out by the Guardian. This is replicated across other world economies. Indeed in the UK, men take home higher pay than women in 370 of the UK’s 426 job classifications. Furthermore, in Australia, there have been recent questions with regard the absence of women in the decision-making process in issues to do with Defence, an issue linked directly to pay inequality, amongst other things. Continue reading
“Building an inclusive organisation is not just about the balanced scorecard data we track to measure progress…it is as much about our attitude and behaviours and having a sense of empathy for different experiences.” – Gwen Houston, Global Diversity and Inclusion Manager, Microsoft
This question is often asked alongside the following questions: “What is the business case for diversity”? “How does it directly impact the bottom-line?” The business case for diversity has now been well established and there is so much evidence out there in terms of case studies, research papers, and published data on organisational metrics, so much so that when I am confronted with this question, an alternative question instinctively pops up in my mind which itself questions the very presuppositions of the question being asked: “Where is the ‘will’ or ‘readiness’ in your organisation to get the run started?”, I hear the voice in my head ask.
By ‘organisational will’ or ‘readiness’, I refer to the desire of an organisation to actually want to maximise the best of ‘people differences’ as part of a talent strategy linked to key business outcomes. This baseline understanding only arises out of an internalised appreciation of the ‘business case’ viewed from a broader context of creating a competitive advantage. It suggests a mental shift from seeing diversity as a ‘positive action’ and/or equality driven initiative aimed primarily at balancing workforce databases, to be actually about organisational performance driven directly by the effective and inclusive management of people.
Effective people management cuts across all organisational levels. Understanding how diversity can be measured therefore, must first and foremost begin with understanding the ‘complexity’ of ‘what’ is to be measured?? Measuring diversity is not simply about taking a look at observable ‘workforce representation’ datasets – that is a pretty basic measurement. It is rather, as Ed Hubbard, an OD Consultant suggests, about developing strategic tools for effectively measuring the following 4 key inter-connected layers – in tandem: Continue reading
“Culture to an organisation is what personality is to an individual”
Organisational culture can appear to be one of those ‘fluffy’ terms we hear spoken about in the workplace, but which tends not be given as much ‘air time’ as ‘Business Development’, ‘Sales’, and ‘Financial Planning’, etc. I often hear business professionals say, ” I really need to focus on the ‘bread and butter’ at the moment, all that other ‘culture stuff’ frankly can wait”
A bit like a dog, dizzied by running around in circles chasing its tail, we can at times tend to ignore that which really matters and which has long term consequences, in favour of chasing the immediate and short-lived. Organisational culture is like the rails upon which a train runs. Though ensuring the comfort of passengers is of immediate importance, of even greater importance is the regular maintenance of the rails to ensure the safe and continuous running of the train. Indeed, where there exists a slight relaxing in the focus on the safety of the rails themselves, the consequences can be catastrophic for passengers – as we already know from unfortunate experiences.
These are economically challenging times: Europe is in a deep financial crisis – and the impact on organisations in the UK particularly, in terms of redundancies and reduced staff investment, is widely acknowledged. It is of course a natural human reaction of leadership to consistently focus, sometimes unknowingly, on the ‘hard’ bottom-line organisational functions which directly influence how the Profit and Loss Corporate balance sheet ‘looks and feels‘. But “what about the people”, I ask?? It is equally important to remember during these times that just like the train that needs a safe track to run on, so too do organisations totally depend on their people to ensure they emerge from through these challenging times – unscathed. Continue reading