Professional Partner Content

Focus on Diversity and Inclusion to Improve Retention

Companies have been slowly building diversity and inclusion best practices into talent strategies for decades. DDI compiled the Diversity and Inclusion Report 2020 to investigate if these efforts are working.

The good news? Leaders from nonwhite racial and ethnic backgrounds are starting to see faster advancement.

But the bad news? Women and nonwhite leaders are heading for the door much faster than their peers. And it gets much worse the higher up the ladder you go. In fact, more than one in four senior-level leaders of color say they expect to leave their companies to advance compared to only 12 percent of their white peers.

Average Number of Promotions in Past Five Years (Persons of Color in Leadership Versus White Leaders)

The financial risk is huge. The study also showed that companies that perform in the top 10 percent financially are significantly more diverse.

What are the biggest missed opportunities for your company? How can you apply diversity and inclusion best practices to improve the retention of diverse leaders?

Based on our research, here are seven D&I best practices to help you drive a more diverse leadership pipeline.

7 Diversity and Inclusion Best Practices

1. Ensure Your Leaders Have High-Quality, Personalized Development Plans
Provide leaders with the tools and plan for how to develop their skills. This puts them in the best position to successfully grow their career at your company.

2. Encourage Ongoing Performance Management Discussions With a Heavy Focus on Personal Development
Performance management discussions should be an ongoing cadence for managers. This will help support personalized development. It will also help identify opportunities for growth.

3. Build a Core Leadership Program for All Leaders
Your leaders’ behavior drives your culture. To ensure that you have an inclusive culture, your leaders need a common set of skills and tools. Having a core program also helps make your leadership culture more inclusive. In addition, it reinforces the importance of leaders’ roles in building talent and inclusion.

4. Invest in Employee Health and Well-Being
Establish flexible work practices, which is especially important as more companies have a virtual workplace. This sets the tone for an inclusive and supportive workplace culture.

5. Clearly Define Competencies for Leadership Success and Promotion
Leaders need to know what it takes to succeed so they can develop their career by defining competencies. However, our data also showed that many women and minorities felt that they didn’t have as much clarity about what it takes to succeed. That makes it harder for them to know if they are on the right track.

6. Incorporate Formal Programs to Ensure Smooth Leadership Transitions at All Levels
Building diversity into your organization’s leadership pool is the only way to fuel a strong and diverse future bench. Most importantly, having programs to ensure smooth transitions throughout the leadership pipeline, from frontline to C-suite, gives all leaders the tools and support they need to succeed.

7. Use Data to Make Fair Hiring and Promotion Decisions
Validated assessments and structured simulations provide the data to inform more objective and fair hiring practices.

For more information on how to realize the benefits of D&I, visit DDI’s blog. For more of DDI’s research on diversity and inclusion, download the special diversity and inclusion report from the Global Leadership Forecast series.

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Setting and clearly defining competencies for leadership roles is of the utmost importance along with consistent performance conversations. All these best practices have much importance, but I definitely think that clearly defining competencies and frequently having performance discussions can lead to an IMMEDIATE increase in diversity in leadership roles!
Great read!
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