Driving diversity in leadership roles: A CHRO Perspective

Human resource leaders have long championed and advocated the benefits of organisational diversity, at all levels.

Diversity mapping and management is a journey, requiring different approaches, depending on which stage the organisation is at.

These range from building organisational awareness, putting in place policies to support diversity, and proactively creating robust programmes that help develop internal talent pipelines.

The caveat, though, is that this is easier said than done.

‘Unconscious bias’ – on both sides, is one such aspect that organisations need to address.

Talent retention is a critical area from an HR perspective, and active measures can be taken to spot and invest in the right people.

Our experts say 80% of winning the battle rests in simply changing mindsets.

When it comes to developing diversity, here is the advice of top CHROs in the country:

  1. Create awareness among female managers about the importance of a board, thus developing their interest and motivation towards a board career. Where social or cultural barriers exist, care should be taken to nurture women to be able to manage these.
  2. Provide women with networking and profile building support, particularly with other board directors and executive coaches. Media training and profiling – both internally and externally, should be prioritised.
  3. Case studies, board simulations and board committee participation are great tools to build confidence and assertiveness through ‘real’ experience within a safety net.
  4. Third-party assessments can support competency and skill mapping and development. Ensure that women receive constructive feedback on their strengths and development areas, and map out ways to achieve this. 80% of ‘winning the battle’ rests in changing mindsets

The 2020 Gender Balance Report by the World Economic Forum predicts that it could take 99 years to achieve gender equality, a milestone that may be further setback in the wake of the global COVID-19 pandemic.

As organisations begin to look at post-pandemic recovery plans, it is important to focus on building resilient structures, on a foundation of diversity and inclusion.