Article | February 14, 2020
What does your company stand for? Better yet, what do you as an individual stand for? Identifying and understanding the values and beliefs that define you (or your company) is a critical step in solidifying personal or corporate branding. To put it simply, company values define culture, and a company’s culture determines how employees act. At DecisionWise, our team came together and defined our values what we as a company, and as individuals, believe in and stand for. Here’s what we came up with.
Article | February 14, 2020
We live in a world where equality, in numerous forms, continues to reside at the forefront of many people’s minds. From gender to race and everything in between, things have certainly improved, but there is still a very long way to go.
Today, there are a mere six female CEOs in the UK FTSE 100, with the average male CEO earning 17% more than the average female CEO. Gender equality has been in the spotlight far longer than other protected characteristics such as race, religion, sexual orientation, disability, age and it continues to remain prominent.
And here, CEO and founder of AssessFirst, the innovative artificial intelligence recruitment firm, David Bernard, asks why, if we are losing the battle for gender equality in the FTSE 100, we should expect to see diversity, equity and inclusion successes across a much wider cross section of the business community.
A race to equality and diversity
The business case for gender, cultural and ethnic diversity is strong, and is only getting stronger.
Since 2015, McKinsey has conducted extensive research and produced compelling reports that demonstrate ironically, whilst the business case for diversity is robust, international progress is weak.
The latest reports show that those pushing ahead with gender diversity are 25% more likely to financially outperform companies in the bottom quartile. What’s more, for ethnic and cultural diversity, the top quartile companies are 36% more likely to be profitable than bottom quartile companies.
The UK (aside from the US) leads the way with gender equality on executive teams. But representation here only grew by 5% between 2014 and 2019. McKinsey's global data set for 2017-2019 shows a mere 1% increase. This pitiful and indeed slowing progress is a problem. We need to do better.
Yes, the UK and the US lead the way with gender diversity, but there is still a long way to go, and neighboring countries need to make quick and impactful changes.
And, let’s not forget, whilst gender equality is of pressing importance, businesses and leaders should ensure that other cases, such as culture and ethnicity, are considered no less important.
A knock-on effect
I see a lack of diversity and equality in workforces as a psychological manifestation of who we are.
We, as are all humans, are programmed to find differences in our perceptions distasteful. We just do not like change - even if we adapt to it in the end - and even 'feedback' on our actions is naturally offensive to us.
So, with that in mind, it is inevitable that we have ended up in a situation where we have an echo chamber of talent that isn't necessarily supported by objective performance data.
The problem manifests itself everywhere; from the executive hires in the world's biggest companies to the latest bartender pulling pints at the local pub.
Conventional hiring and recruitment, such as only using a CV to identify and rank talent, is part of the root cause of bias decision-making (however implicit it may be) because the initial filter sifts candidates based on their upbringing, education, experience, or even appearance.
We are, thankfully, at the start of a movement of change. But this is a problem that is hundreds, or maybe even thousands, of years in the making. We need to unpick that problem with a collaborative and collective effort.
Covid-19 impacted diversity, equality and inclusion progress
There has been a polarization of diversity, equality and inclusion efforts, also known as DE&I, as a fallout of Covid-19, the ongoing pandemic and the ensuing lockdowns.
In the spring of 2020, companies rightly turned their attention to the Covid-19 crisis. Most have continued to do so – either to stay afloat or even gain a competitive advantage – which meant DE&I became more of a focus for some whilst a matter of less significance for others.
Those that deprioritized DE&I - perhaps as a short-term measure to consolidate HR and hiring resources - have weakened their position; whether that is in their ability to retain, recruit, or mobilize their workforce, or even all those stages in the talent lifecycle.
Diverse talent is often most at-risk during times of challenge and hardship, as downsizing can have a disproportionate impact on roles held by those from more diverse backgrounds. And with increased home-working practices, all manner of inequalities can manifest in ways that will hit the bottom line and badly impact minorities.
For example, those who are managing childcare responsibilities during periods of isolation or school closures or those who are living in shared accommodation may be frequently working against the odds in order to keep pace with their peers.
Without a diverse collective of perspective catering to a diverse workforce, these problems can multiply to cripple performance from the ground up.
The acceleration of DE&I
The generational leap of tech-first remote working for so many companies provided an opportunity to build inclusive and agile cultures. Though we may be coming out of the ‘crisis', there remains a golden opportunity – and one that businesses should seize.
Traditional management structures, reinforced by physical office environments, have been fundamentally changed forever - even if we see a hybrid home-office working pattern become the norm from this point onward.
With this revolution, HR departments find themselves in a situation a pathway to achieving diversity and inclusion goals seems more realistic.
Make or break: what’s next?
There is no silver bullet. There is much to consider and even more to do.
But, with a few simple changes, real and meaningful progress is possible. What encourages me is that with all the companies that I speak to, particularly within the UK, there is almost wholesale agreement that this is an important issue - notwithstanding the economic arguments. However, the same cannot be said for all other countries across the globe.
The most common question I receive from those who recognize the criticality of this however is, "But, where do we start?"
And to that, my response is always the same; "What is the data telling you? What is your workforce saying about your DE&I efforts?"
We must know what the scale of the problem is before we can tackle it. Every single company is unique, and the manner of their ideal solution is unique to suit.
Once the problem is identified, I recommend a few ideas that can be considered to start spinning the wheels of change:
1) Get unbiased views of candidate potential (internal and external)
2) Consult with your DE&I team, committee, or lead when publishing job descriptions
3) Implement DE&I training for your workforce
4) Offer remote working opportunities where practical and appropriate
I'm proud that AssessFirst continues to help companies of all shapes and sizes with their DE&I goals through our data-led psychometric technology. We practice what we preach with our own remote workforce and using this technology as part of our own talent lifecycle management. But I recognize that fantastic technology is most effective when it is embedded as a part of a wider reaching strategy.
I have hope for the future, though there is ongoing work to do, and there will be for quite some time. But as the UK economy stirs back to life within what feels like the closing chapters of ‘crisis’, we can also bring the equality gaps to a close with renewed urgency.
Working in partnership with a handful of partners in the UK, we created a Diversity and Inclusion strategy guide.
Article | February 14, 2020
Someone in your network tells you about a job that would be a perfect fit for you. You meet all qualifications for the job, so you apply. You put in the time to research the company and prepare for the interview. You show up 15 minutes early, dressed for success. You shine in the first round interview and are asked to come back for a second one. You meet the President and the hiring manager, the person you would report to at the job. You pass the second round and are told you are a top candidate. You get references from highly-respected and accomplished people who support your fit for the job. And now you wait.
A week goes by yet you hear nothing. Then it is Friday afternoon at 4:01pm you get an email (edited for confidentiality):
Subject: Many thanks
To: John R. Fugazzie
Sent: Fri, Mar 14, 2014 4:01 pm
"I want to thank you for being such a terrific candidate for the Director position. You have a diverse set of skills and I think your deep commitment and enthusiasm is infectious and inspiring on several fronts.
Unfortunately, we are not able to offer you the position. It was a very difficult decision, but I am hopeful that there might be a way that we can work together in another capacity in the future. I'll circle back to you in a few months to see what's going on in the hopes that we can make something happen.
Keep up the impressive work and I look forward to checking in soon.
I founded one of the largest job search networking and support groups in America back in January 2011 during our last recession, Neighbors-helping-Neighbors USA (www.nhnusa.org) with over 1200+ success stories in ten years since our founding, we held weekly meetings up until COVID19 hit us and we them transitioned to virtual based video conferenced meetings. We have a network well in excess of 4,500 members in our LinkedIn group, and an award winning job search portal. I found myself in the same state of rejection that I often advise our members and coach them on how to handle it.
After I spent a short time in disbelief that I was not going back to work soon,
I had to apply the advice I gave on an almost daily basis.
I had to have the same conversation with myself regarding how to deal with being rejected, again, for a job that I strongly believe I should've landed.
Here's my advice for the rejected job applicant, which I practiced myself:
Accept it and move on. Put full steam into the next best opportunity you are working on. Hopefully you are working on multiple job possibilities, since today you just can't sit back and wait for one job to process at a time. This is a market where you have to be juggling multiple opportunities at once because of how challenging it is to secure any one of them.
Don't get angry. You are likely to feel angry, since you're human and it's hard to not take rejection personally. However, the reason you didn't get the job was probably the result of a variety of factors and not just a fault of yours.
Thank your interviewer for their time. Saying thank you might be the last thing you feel like doing, but if you see in my rejection email the door may still remain open for future work, so you never want to slam that door shut. You may even impress people by handling the rejection with class and maturity.
Network the interviewer. If you did impress your interviewer he/she could possibly recommend you to someone else in their network. Connect on LinkedIn with the hiring manager and anyone else you met in the interview process to make them part of your LinkedIn network.
Ask the hiring manager to give you feedback. Find out what you could have done to be a stronger candidate. In my years leading NhN, I have rarely heard of an interviewer receiving feedback, but it's still worth the try. Another NhN member, in his own words, "blew an interview," but still got a pretty nice and detailed email on how he could do better next time. If you don't ask you will never get this feedback and when you do get it, you can learn valuable information about how you can do better next time.
Reach out to the references you used for the job. The five references I was able to get from key people in a short time will be very helpful even for future jobs.
Stay motivated and focused. Pick up the pieces and dust yourself off, follow these tips, and keep building toward your eventual success.
Abby Kohut "Absolutely Abby" a nationally known recruiter and job coach shared this advice with me when I shared my rejection with her. "If you get rejected from a job, it wasn't your job to have. I can think of countless things that I was disappointed about in my career that turned out to just be blips. Right after the rejections something even better lurked around the corner. Keep your head high and get back on the horse as fast as possible.
"Also, even if you love a job and are sure you are the perfect candidate, you need to have other opportunities in the hopper. It won't sting as much if you have possibilities waiting in the wings."
Article | February 14, 2020
With COVID-19 seemingly dominating literally every facet of media, remote working is very much on the corporate agenda at the moment. But while many organizations already have it as part of their standard office culture, it is by no means a ubiquitous option. Although it simply isn’t practical for many occupations, research has found that 70% of people around the world work remotely at least once a week and 53% do so for at least half the week. Many businesses are now looking at the process anew, and from video conferencing and collaboration services to file sharing and communication tools, there is no lack of powerful and affordable technologies out there to help make it happen.