Five policy changes that will improve the diversity of your organisation

22 January 2018 -

Diverse Management TeamProven to be more than a tick box exercise, these are five creative measures that top employers are using to ensure everyone in their organisation is valued as an individual

Jermaine Haughton

1. The laissez-faire holiday policy at Netflix

Netflix’s ‘unlimited holiday’ policy allows staff to take time off from work to celebrate the religious and cultural holidays that are important to them.

Although Christmas and New Year are Bank Holidays, other festivities particularly important to people from minority groups, such as Eid or Chinese New Year do not always receive the same treatment.

A simple, but innovative measure, Netflix allows salaried employees to take as much time off as they'd like, whenever they want to take it. The only requirement is that their managers know where they are and that their work is covered.

The video-on-demand service has grown rapidly over the past decade. It is reportedly worth up to $80billion (£57.8bn) today, according to financial experts.

2. Employee community groups at AT&T

Role models are a vital part of diversifying your organisation.

The world’s largest telecommunications corporation AT&T creates spaces and networks that encourage greater discussion, mentoring and support for people from lesser-represented groups, such as women and military veterans.

Employee resource groups (ERGs), which provide a forum for open discussion and learning, and informal employee networks (ENs) – for solving professional development issues – are two of the key tactics used to develop cross-functional diversity at all levels of the organisation.

3. Demotion risk at IBM

The technology giant IBM actively demotes managers who do not display the behaviours and attitudes necessary to manage and support individuals from all backgrounds. Poor behaviours include discrimination and failing to individuals from minority backgrounds feel welcome and appreciated in their teams.

“We demote managers who don’t get it,” Des Benton, IBM UK diversity manager, told the Independent about IBM’s Workforce Diversity Policy.

The strong stance has helped solidify IBM’s position as one of the leading tech employers in the world, and attract top talent amid stiff competition from start-ups and rival tech corporations.  IBM has also been rated in the Top 20 Companies for Diversity from DiversityInc.  

4. Anonymous hiring at BBC

Aiming to tackle unconscious bias and its reputation as an organisation dominated by white middle-class Oxbridge journalists, the BBC has introduced ’blind-hiring’ to attract more diverse talent.

The public broadcaster removes names and universities from job applications. Instead it judges candidates on their experience and skills, following numerous widespread studies suggesting that prospective applicants can be disadvantaged in the UK job market, if they have a non-British name or study at a former Polytechnic university.

The Guardian, Deloitte and UCAS are also among a number of other employers who use a similar recruitment system, ensuring recruiter biases are removed for at least the first stage of the process.

5. Round Robin brainstorming at Mindtools

With women often interrupted by both genders and speaking less than men during meetings, Round Robin Brainstorming is an inventive managerial method for making sure all team members have the chance to contribute effectively.

Ideal in small teams, Round Robin Brainstorming involves the presenter sharing a topic for discussion and one-by-one each person is able to offer their thoughts, or choose to pass, until everyone has had their turn. A third party notes down the ideas, and they are typically evaluated once everyone has had the opportunity to share.

Well-utilised in creative fields such as marketing, the technique encourages collaboration from team members, who have a tendency to stay quiet throughout meetings.

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