It is all too easy for statements about equality and diversity to become unread boilerplate on a corporate website. After all, not many can acceptably say that their company is institutionally discriminatory, or are going to say that they deliberately recruit only Oxbridge-educated white men.
So how can you avoid the boilerplate text, and demonstrate that – for your company – diversity really is important, and that you truly do try to treat everyone equally?
Companies take different approaches to try and communicate the importance of ‘diversity and inclusion’. Here are a few examples of how to add some interesting extra material on this subject…
Safety: Everybody’s voice should be heard
In their Careers section, Weir Group have posted a video of their Finance Director discussing the importance of diversity for innovation, but also discussing the importance of diversity in the supply chain with one of their key customers, EDF.
Interestingly, in this video, Janet Hogben, the Chief People Officer of EDF, talks about the importance of inclusion for a safety culture, so that everyone can feel they can speak up and be heard if they see a safety problem.
Health: Everybody needs to be considered
Novartis also discuss diversity and inclusion in their Careers section, and offer a Diversity and Inclusion Report with interviews from senior management about how diversity and inclusion is embedded in the organisation’s values and behaviours.
They also discuss how important inclusion is when developing medicines, to be sure that the medicines are suitable for all.
Zero-Intolerance: Build a dynamic team
Yara explain their ‘zero-intolerance’ philosophy on this issue in their Careers section.
It’s interesting to see that one aspect of their approach is to deliberately secure ‘complementary skills sets, taking key factors such as gender, nationality, age, education and experience into the mix to build dynamic teams’.
More than compliance: it’s in our DNA
In their Careers section, Corning’s focus is on innovation. Refreshingly, they say that their diversity initiative began as a compliance-focused effort – but that now it has grown into a strategic advantage and a celebration of diversity and inclusion on a global scale.
Thought leadership: diversity breeds innovation
Rather than being in the Careers section, Merck’s diversity pages are in a ‘Topics and Viewpoints’ section in the Media pages of the corporate website. The diversity page is based around research that shows that companies which attach a high degree of importance to diversity are demonstrably more innovative than those with a more homogenous workforce. It includes:
- A video from a roundtable discussion with over 20 leading German companies emphasizing the importance of acceptance of diversity and corporate culture
- A summary of the research conducted by the CTI
- A press kit covering the study, and packed with useful documents
Merck aim to foster diversity, and have given responsibility to a member of the Executive Board, as well as appointing a Chief Diversity Officer. The section on The Merck Way explains how diversity is integral to their values and culture.
Bring your experiences to the table
They also offer a section on their diversity heritage, and (unusually) a tab of diversity news, as well as a copy of a diversity brochure and a letter from the IBM chairman and chief executive.
Note that IBM have a YouTube channel devoted to IBM and diversity.
Recruiting, targets and Board level involvement
In the Careers section of the BP corporate website, there is an explanation about how the BP executive team tracks progress against their diversity and inclusion targets quarterly, as well as results against their targets (for example, 74% of employees believe that managers seek out diverse views from their teams).
“The more diverse we are, the more successful we’ll be”
In the Sustainability section, BP describe their diversity and inclusion ambitions and progress, and explain that when recruiting they aim for a balanced selection panel, and try to ensure that their diversity ambitions are reflected when selecting qualified candidates for consideration.
Employee experience: including the taboo topics
ScotiaBank offer an interesting PDF of their diversity history. They also include transcripts of various employee experiences, from immigrants to people with mental health illnesses. Sometimes mental health issues are not discussed, so it’s great to see this out in the open on a corporate website.
Employee surveys: what do they really think?
EY survey their people every two years, and include questions on inclusiveness, respect, teamwork and career progression. They present the resulting statistics online.
So there are options beyond simply posting a boilerplate statement that you support equal rights and diversity, and showing what awards you’ve won. Which would work for you?
This post is part of Blog Action Day, which this year is discussing inequality.
Previous contributions to Blog Action Day have been:
2013: Communicating Human Rights
2012: One Plus One Can Be Greater Than Two
2011: Lessons From Food Security: Telling Us What Matters
2010: Mixing Oil and Water
2009: Climate change and the corporate site
2008: Celebrating the FTSE 100: action on the breadline
2007: Enticing the green investor
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