Diversity has been a business watchword for many years. However, in 2020 many organizations had to take a hard look at how they defined diversity and practiced inclusion and be honest about their progress, even while they expanded their understanding of the term. Inclusion encompasses a wide variety of aspects in the quest to broaden talent pools, including neurodiversity. In a new episode of The Transform Talent Podcast, hosts Roberta Cucchiaro and Dominika Gałusa talk with Kate Griggs, Founder and CEO of Made By Dyslexia, about closing the growing skills gap for Gen-Z, the generation expected to bear the worst impact of workplace shifts due to the pandemic. Here’s why the link between dyslexia and the in-demand soft skills such as creativity, persuasion, collaboration, adaptability and emotional intelligence is so important now.The need to think differently As Griggs shared, in an era of automation where facts can be Googled and spelling can be corrected at the touch of the button, it’s creativity, imagination and intuition that sets us apart from machines, and that’s Dyslexic Thinking. Dyslexia is literally a different way of processing information, and with that different way of thinking comes a pattern of strengths; creativity, innovation, and big picture thinking. The latest Future of Jobs Report published by the World Economic Forum highlights how exactly these social and emotional skills are the top in-demand competencies for the next five years. For organizations, understanding and valuing dyslexic thinking and neurodiversity can be an opportunity to bridge the skills gap of the future.A range of abilities As businesses tackle a variety of problems, they need people who have exceptional skills in certain areas. As Griggs explained, that is true of people with dyslexia, who have “spikes” of skills they have highly developed to succeed in the world. In other words, if some with dyslexia excel in the area of a soft skill like public speaking, he or she may double down in practicing that skill in order to be especially high performing in that area. “What dyslexics also tend to do, if they really focus on their strengths, is hone in and become much better at them,” Griggs said. “So, a lot of people refer to them as superpowers, which is a nice way of thinking about it.” Value cognitive diversity Along with neurodiversity –– different ways of processing thought –– Griggs prefers the term cognitive diversity, or diversity of thought. Teams shouldn’t all think the same way. With the recruitment process, inclusion means screening in rather than screening out with standardized barriers to entry. People with dyslexia may have brilliant ideas that will be filtered out at the first step if assessments aren’t rethought to include diversity, which can be overlooked in traditional reviews of resumes. An example of being inclusive for cognitive diversity comes from the UK Government Communications Headquarters, that has been targeting dyslexic and neurodiverse people in their recruitment strategy as the dyslexic workforce is particularly good at connecting the dots, simplification, seeing the bigger picture as well as work as a team.The Value of Dyslexia report shows how dyslexic thinking produces creativity that won't be able to be replaced by automation. Inclusion is critical because workforces are more productive when people feel like they can bring their talents to a team and belong –– and produce important results. Hear more on the podcast.
Neurodiversity and Bridging The Skills Gap
Actions Businesses Must Take to Become Diverse and Inclusive
A commitment to diversity and inclusion takes deliberate steps beyond willingness and words. For many years, hiring and maintaining a diverse workforce has become a moral imperative for businesses. Now it’s also an economic necessity as businesses face a record high global talent shortage. In today’s war for talent, the strongest businesses will also be the most diverse and inclusive. Fostering a diverse workforce takes more than words and a willingness to grow. It takes deliberate actions and a strategy from business leaders. Below are steps that businesses can take to become more inclusive now and into the future. Use assessment for hiring and promoting The traditional ways of building and promoting a workforce based on gut instincts can be riddled with unconscious bias. A more equitable way to level the playing field is to assess candidates with data. “Science-based assessments are the most accurate and reliable tool for placing the right person in the right job,” says Dr. Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic Chief Talent Scientist at ManpowerGroup. “As well as testing technical skills, assessments measure human strengths that are critical predictors of success such as how rewarding someone is to deal with, their ability to do the job and their willingness to work hard.” Businesses have a long way to go on this front, with only 49% of workers globally have been assessed, according to ManpowerGroup research, Closing the Skills Gap: Know What Workers Want. Furthermore, 81% of those who have been assessed report higher job satisfaction versus 65% of those who have not. Offer schedule flexibility For hiring and promoting women into leadership, this is especially key. Workers want flexibility — and that means all things to all women and men. This can mean nontraditional work hours with flexible start and end times that counter the rush hour, options to Work from Home (WFH) or Work from Wherever (WFW), condensed four-day work weeks or five-hour workdays that peak productivity and preserve the weekend, and parental leave that balances family and care and can be worth more than pay. Especially in the digital age, work can get done in so many ways. Productivity beats presenteeism. Businesses can attract top talent by asking what type of schedule works best for them. Provide training for growth The next generation of leaders are already in the workforce. But are businesses training and preparing to create more diversity at the top of their organizations? By 2050, there will be no racial or ethnic majority in the United States—diversity will be the norm. If an organization wants to be competitive in this landscape 30 years from now, they need to start thinking about creating a more inclusive culture through mentorship programs, hiring beyond traditional talent pools and widening their pipelines, and preparing for the new future of jobs. Click here for more resources on diversity and inclusion.
The Future of Diversity for Organizations
The past year demonstrated that organizations need to deepen their understanding of diversity as well as how to make diversity and inclusion an institutional reality. Organizations that thrive in a fast-changing world will have a workforce with diversity of background, skills and perspectives. Here are ways organizations can approach and foster diversity. Plan for the future By 2050, the demographic make-up of the United States will look very different than it does today — diversity will be the norm. Talent in all its diversity is the most potent competitive differentiator. If you want your organization to be competitive 30 years from now, start by assessing hiring practices, creating mentorship programs and leveraging diverse talent pools. Use assessment to increase diversity The traditional ways of building and promoting a workforce based on gut instincts can be riddled with unconscious bias. A more equitable way to level the playing field and increase diversity is to assess candidates using data. Businesses have a long way to go on this front, with only 49% of workers globally have been assessed, according to ManpowerGroup research. Furthermore, 81% of those who have been assessed report higher job satisfaction versus 65% of those who have not. Neurodiversity: The need to think differently Creativity, imagination and intuition sets us apart from machines. That’s Dyslexic Thinking. Dyslexia is a different way of processing information, and with that different way of thinking comes a pattern of strengths, creativity, innovation, big picture thinking. For organizations, that means understanding and valuing how dyslexia and neurodiversity can be an opportunity to bridge the skills gap of the future. Provide opportunities for women Women have been disproportionately affected by both social and economic crises due to the pandemic, and over-represented in job losses across industries including retail, leisure and hospitality. At the same time, there is a clear opportunity for women to reskill and upskill in growth sectors including information technology, operations and logistics. Women are an untapped talent pool which could be re-skilled or upskilled for many of the jobs of tomorrow. Ongoing measurement of your diversity and engagement efforts and involving employees in that process is essential to ensure you are moving the needle. Achieving diversity, inclusion and equity takes time but by taking proactive steps today your organization can achieve a series of wins along the way.
LGBTQ+ Inclusive #WordsatWork Guide
At ManpowerGroup, we believe businesses have a responsibility to be a positive contributor to societal change. That means intentionally building diverse and inclusive workplaces and hiring the best employees based on talent without discrimination. Not only is this the right thing to do, but studies repeatedly show that inclusive practices have a positive impact on your bottom line. Being an ally to LGBTQ+ colleagues is as simple as remembering the power that words at work have to make people feel welcomed, valued and included. Here is a guide to pronouns in the workplace and tips on how to promote an inclusive work culture. You can also download a PDF copy of the guide here.
10 Ways to Promote a Culture of Respect and Belonging for LGBTQ+ Employees
Pride Month is widely recognized as a time to celebrate diversity and inclusion and show allyship to members of the lesbian, gay, bi, trans and queer (LGBTQ+) community. For organizations and businesses around the world, it’s also a reminder that we need to hit the accelerator on making workplaces welcoming for all. Across the hundreds of thousands of clients ManpowerGroup works with globally, we are helping our partners align their ambitions with clear, actionable plans to hire more inclusively and keep the diverse talent they hire. Here are 10 ways to start (Also be sure to download the LGBTQ+ Inclusive #WordsatWork Guide to learn about proper pronoun usage and more):Do your research. Start with the United Nations Human Rights Office’s Standards of Conduct. Reflecting the input of hundreds of companies across diverse sectors, it offers guidance on how to respect and support the rights of LGBTQ+ people in the workplace, marketplace and community. Develop an effective -and global- corporate diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging (DEIB) policy. Your policy should articulate your commitments and clearly reference sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, and sex characteristics/intersex status. It should also explain your company’s responsibilities and employees’ responsibilities and outline what will happen if that policy is violated. Multinational companies must also have a cohesive global implementation strategy—mindful that concepts of equal rights and fair treatment of LGBTQ+ people may not be well-institutionalized in many markets or regions.Ensure buy-in from employees and management, including commitments to take the DEIBstrategy forward. Expand employees’ soft skills in empathy by exposing them to other points of view and perspectives. Regularly train them on DEIB, ensure they’re familiar with your policy, and consider incentivizing leaders by hardcoding their commitments into performance frameworks. Leverage technology to establish best practices.The DEIB technology now exists to support your company with policies and practices, provide timely analytics, identify and reduce bias, introduce greater transparency and visibility, and support employee training. Download the World Economic Forum’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion 4.0 toolkit to explore all the opportunities and accountabilities now afforded by tech. Create a culture of conscious inclusion. A welcoming workplace is one where people with different demographic and psychological backgrounds feel seen, heard and valued—not by blending in, but by providing a different perspective to reduce the homogeneity of attitudes, values and beliefs. This also keeps groupthink and decision-making biases in check. If your organization is serious about allyship and equal opportunity for LGBTQ+ employees, you must go beyond programs. To truly change culture, take proactive steps to promote a diverse pool of candidates for senior leadership and board positions, and train and incentivize managers and employees on what it means to be inclusive. Appoint leaders with these three characteristics. A change in culture starts from the top. If your organization is serious about itsDEIBpolicy, start by building a diverse leadership team within your organization. Make sure people with higher levels of curiosity, humility and courage are not overlooked. Ideally, you want leaders who demonstrate a passion for learning, humility to admit when they make mistakes and courage to act boldly and speak out against injustices. Build an LGBTQ+support network. For pro-LGBTQ+ policies to be effective in attracting and retaining LGBTQ+employees, your company’s efforts should have high visibility. For example, support efforts by LGBTQ+ employees to create their own staff groups and extend the same opportunities to them for extracurricular activities as you would to any other group. Take it to the community. Partnerships with local LGBTQ+ groups, such as youth centers, community centers, advocacy groups and charities, exhibit long-term commitment to LGBTQ+ employees. This can also help your company better understand the challenges those employees face, informing your corporate policymaking and providing a way for your company to support positive social change. Listen, apologize and learn from your mistakes. Odds are that you will make mistakes along the way. If you’ve been called out for a microaggression or an act of exclusion toward an LGBTQ+ colleague or employee, it’s important to respond with compassion, concern and humility. Make the other person feel heard, sincerely apologize and don’t make it about you. Set targets and track your progress. Your company’s key decision-makers should receive regular progress reports on DEIB efforts, including updates on employee experience and engagement levels. Assign a senior-level officer to oversee and direct DEIB initiatives, education and training. What gets measured gets done.At ManpowerGroup, we believe businesses have the responsibility to be a positive contributor to societal change. That means intentionally building diverse and inclusive workplaces and hiring the best employees based on talent without discrimination. Not only is this the right thing to do, but studies repeatedly show that inclusive practices have a positive impact on your bottom line.To learn about the power of language to foster an inclusive workplace, download the LGBTQ+ Inclusive #WordsatWork Guide.
How Can I Make My Workplace More Inclusive?
How can I make my workplace more inclusive? While culture starts at the top, you can help take steps to make your organization fair, equitable and committed to conscious inclusion. A diverse workplace is a healthy workplace. It’s everyone’s responsibility – and to everyone’s benefit – to help develop a workplace that is welcoming and inclusive. Here are ways everyone can help move your company forward. Understand conscious inclusion Conscious inclusion is the desire, insight and capacity of people to make decisions, do business and to think and act with the conscious intent of practicing inclusion. To that end, ManpowerGroup has a comprehensive survey exploring gender, generational and geographical differences in attitudes towards women in leadership. The report presents seven practical steps to reach the tipping point where women will accelerate into leadership roles. While leaders are responsible for implementing ways to support inclusive leadership, everyone in the organization can educate themselves with the principles, discussions and benefits of conscious inclusion. Be a coach and a mentor If you’re making your way up the ladder, it’s important to look around to see who else you can assist. One way of supporting others is to provide coaching and mentoring. Where can you give back? It is important to identify which topics require mentoring support and which require coaching. Mentors typically have specific expertise in the area in which the mentee requires support. If you have an area where you can help others, you can help the organization thrive and become more inclusive. Plan for the future Over time, all organizations will become more diverse. By 2050, there will be no racial or ethnic majority in the United States—diversity will be the norm. Talent—in all its diversity—is the most potent competitive differentiator. If you want your organization to be competitive 20 years from now, start thinking about how you can contribute to its inclusive culture through mentorship programs, hiring beyond traditional talent pools and widening your network. If you are thinking about how you can contribute to an inclusive workplace, you have already taken an important first step. From there, taking action and working with others can make the goal a reality. And when an organization can innovate with multiple perspective, everyone wins.