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What’s the evidence for D&I practices?

Jake

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CIPD Staff

1 Apr, 2019 15:09

We know that ensuring our workplaces are diverse and inclusive is simply the right thing to do. Moreover, supporting and valuing employees, regardless of their background, can only be good for business - not to mention employees!

But we also know that progress towards equality at work can seem frustratingly slow, and there’s surprisingly little scientific evidence on what really works to promote diversity and inclusion.

We need to build our knowledge of what works in diversity, from a range of sources- from measuring the impact of D&I strategies to applying our professional expertise, and continuing to build the research base.

That being said, we’re interesting in hearing what data or insight you think has the potential to really make a difference. What evidence would you like to see to support your D&I strategy?

This is something we’ll be exploring, alongside other questions on D&I approaches, as part of our upcoming evidence into practice programme, ‘What works in diversity’, which we first posted about here.

We will now kick this research off in late April, after the upcoming Easter break.  We hope to bring together scientific evidence with practitioner expertise to understand what really works to drive positive change in organisations. If you want to get involved or find out more about the programme, keep an eye on this community or get in touch at j.young@cipd.co.uk.

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  • One of the biggest frustrations for me is that flexible working and the need for work-life balance are generally ignored within UK D&I approaches (although not in the USA). Practitioners focus on 'unconscious bias' but do little to break down the unconscious bias around flexible working - particularly when people ask for it at senior levels.
  • In reply to Anna:

    Good point Anna,
    In fact, I think it is not only concerning flexible work environment, but about policies and practices in general. UB training is great and helpful but ideally there is an organisational effort that goes beyonf it. Otherwise, the impact can be limited.
  • Jake

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    CIPD Staff

    30 Apr, 2019 09:12

    In reply to Ben:

    Hi both, thanks for raising these points. I agree, there are definitely issues around using Unconscious Bias Training in isolation - can people's bias, and awareness of this, be removed simply through using a full-day course? I think many would argue that this isn't enough. Will UBT manage to engage those who are indifferent to the idea of promoting D&I? will it be able to galvanise the wider organisation, not just those who are taking part, in order to facilitate some sort of social and cultural change?

    I think it's important for people to know WHY they're taking part in bias training, and actually help them understand the outcomes that are hoped for it. I have also recently heard fairly strong support for the idea of perspective taking and personal stories as an alternative to UBT. In particular, the idea of a contact hypothesis – bringing people together, giving people a chance to work with those they might not normally choose – has been noted as an important area. Perhaps it might be relevant and interesting to consider how perspective taking and UBT can actually complement each other?
  • In reply to Jake:

    Hi Jake I have been in the business for 37 years and I first started in the Equal Opportunities Unit at the former GLC. That is where the fight for Diversity and Inclusion started all those years ago. Instead of applying scientific methods to why we have n`t gone so far - why don`t you speak to HR professionals who are affected by discrimination for example women, people who are disabled and Black and Minority Ethnic people as a start? Their stories including mine might shed some light on the subject that baffles business communities. Unless you have suffered discrimination yourself you cannot make other people understand what the impact suffered is really like. I am sure that this would help the HR community greatly.
  • This is very interested points. I think scientific methods and research methodologies will support the real impact of D&I strategy on the organization's effectiveness as well as overall performance. In addition , we need to make sure that D&I strategy is aligned with the corporate organization strategy.There are many dimensions and factors that cause the D&I directly , scientific methods with show how these factors related to each other and how they impact the HR practices .
  • In reply to Jake:

    Hi Jake
    I concur that bringing people from different cultures together helps break down barriers and increases familiarity with “differences”, resulting in decreased fears/perceived threats and defensive emotions from our reptilian brain ...
    I personally believe that the biggest hurdles in D&I are cultural differences and our natural inclination of being apprehensive to unfamiliarity. Learning about other cultures or from those of a different background or socio economic group helps create empathy, acknowledging, understanding and accepting diverse perspectives.
    Kind regards
    Reena
  • Hi Jake
    I would be happy learn about this programme.
    Kindly keep me updated.
    Thank you
    Kind regards
    Reena
  • Jake

    | 0 Posts

    CIPD Staff

    13 Jun, 2019 13:57

    In reply to Reena:

    Hi Reena,

    Please send me your email address at j.young@cipd.co.uk and I will add you to the mailing list.

    Thank you,

    Jake