Diversity, Equity & Inclusion – the topic du jour

Much has been written about Diversity & Inclusion in the FMCG sector. It has to be said that the FMCG sector is possibly one of the more diverse sectors I’ve seen to date. However, this varies significantly from one region to region and from company to company. Today’s blog explores what some of the best in class companies, for diversity, do differently.

Senior and middle management who are advocates of diversity

It is not enough that companies have senior management who are supportive of diversity in the workplace. Middle management also need to be advocates of this. At the end of the day, middle management are the senior management of tomorrow. Also, middle management make the active hiring decisions of today.

Colour/gender blind hiring practices

Companies should encourage applicants to apply with CVs that do not mention names or gender details and with no photographs. While it is common practice in most countries to not note gender in CVs and to not put photographs in, it is equally common practice to look up applicants on LinkedIn. So more companies should consider asking candidates to apply without names by allocating serial codes to applicants. Companies should consider communicating through an app/platform that shields the applicants’ email (which can give clues to their name).

A workplace welcoming of flexible working

I have been lucky to previously work in companies that were supportive of flexible and remote working. While certain managers were more supportive of this than others, I learned that working from home does not need to impact the quality of output and sometimes, it helps generate better work in less time than expected! So companies should not shy away from implementing flexible working.

It has been widely noted that flexible working promotes diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace. “Workplace flexibility can be mutually beneficial to an organization and its personnel, and is recognized to help achieve gender parity,” said Fatou Haidara, Managing Director of the UNIDO (United Nations Industrial Development Organisation) Directorate of Corporate Management and Operations.

Flexible working does not have to mean working from home permanently. In fact, that can be a deterrent too in case their home life is chaotic. Flexible working simply means allowing your employees to work from home when they need to and from an office during other times. Also, it may include different hours. It maybe that some people work 10 hours on 4 days and just do a 4 day work week, some do the regular 8 hour, 5 day work week and others, somewhere in between the two.

I keep hearing that it is difficult to find female applicants for certain roles, especially when it comes to technology and sales. But I’ve never had a problem finding great female talent for technology or sales roles in any of my previous roles or at salesBeat.

The key is to signal how open and supportive your team or company is to people from different backgrounds or to neuro diverse people.