MReport April 2017

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20 | TH E M R EP O RT FEATURE industries for years to come. Below is a primer CEOs can use to open the door to a more in- clusive workplace—starting today. Developing an Inclusive Executive Team GET READY: Get over it—and get on board. The typical CEO exhibits busi- ness acumen, leadership skills, and a preference for action rather than inaction. Executives set clear goals and expect people to exceed them. So why all the hand- wringing and foot-dragging when it comes to tackling diversity and inclusion in the organization? Of all the complex decisions CEOs make on a daily basis, this has to be one of the easiest. Inclusivity is not complicated; it simply requires commitment and a plan. The following actions can be set into motion today and, with focus, can be completed within a matter of weeks. STEP 1: Understand Your Baseline (Two Weeks) Start with a current-state assess- ment. Give your human resources (HR) executive two weeks to provide detailed data describing your firm's current diversity posi- tion. Does your company reflect the population it serves? When you compare hires made in the last year to your overall employee popula- tion, do you find you're trending toward greater diversity or greater uniformity? How big are the pay gaps between men and women and between white employees and underrepresented minorities? It's time to get real and identify your top concerns and priorities without making excuses. A criti - cal look at the data will help you identify where the problems lie. Perhaps your biggest diversity and pay equity challenges occur with- in certain job levels, geographies, locations, or positions, or they may happen under the watch of a particular hiring manager. A plan can be built to address any of these issues; however, if your company is like many of the organizations I've worked with over the years, there's a good chance your most egregious di- versity and pay disparities center around your management and executive leadership teams. Let's talk about how to address that. STEP 2: Assemble a Plan with Measurable Goals (Two Weeks) Thank your HR executive for casting light on the diversity and pay equity issues within the organization—without pointing fingers. Like any other corporate function, HR takes its cues from executive leadership. Instead of blaming your HR leader for failing to make diversity and inclusion a priority in the past, solicit his or her commitment to help you make it a priority going forward. Communicate why diversity and inclusion are goals for your firm and part of the culture you want to build, and describe the role you expect HR to play in that effort. Then ask your HR and recruit - ing executives to propose a plan for identifying, recruiting, and promoting diverse management and executive candidates. The plan should include HR's recom - mendations for specific goals against which progress can be measured at regular intervals over the next six to 12 months. These goals might range from assessing a larger, more diverse candidate pool when filling new executive positions to redesigning career paths within your firm to ensure equal access to executive leader - ship opportunities. HR has two weeks to develop the plan and present it to you. Don't let it wither on your desk; schedule a working session to re - view HR's recommendations, make any necessary adjustments, and reach consensus. Don't put it off for the next budget or performance management cycle—the time to engage is now. Communicate with your management team, encour - age their input, and adjust where needed. The plan doesn't have to be perfect to be executable. You can—and should—revisit the plan every six to 12 months to make any necessary adjustments. STEP 3: Hold Everybody, Including Yourself, Accountable (Ongoing) Don't stop with implement- ing your plan. Build diversity and inclusion goals into performance plans for executives and manag- ers, and assign a weight to these goals that reinforces the criticality of creating a diverse and inclusive environment. Add diversity and inclusion objectives to the charters of your hiring and risk commit - tees. Ask the board of directors to help ensure you set and reach your goals. Demand regular and active reporting of results. Make the topic a frequent point of con - versation. STEP 4: Assess and Course-Correct as Needed (Every Six Months) One of the goals of a diversity and inclusion program is to recruit diverse candidates reflective of our national composition. Doing so has many documented benefits, from reduced turnover to greater innovation. Companies that recruit from a diverse set of potential em - ployees are more likely to hire the best and the brightest in the labor market and position themselves to capture a greater share of the consumer market. In other words, inclusivity is closely related to business success, so if your fledgling diversity and inclusion program is not meeting its goals, your business may not be living up to its potential either. If you're not seeing the results you expect six months in, consider the following possibilities: • You're not walking the talk. If your diversity and inclusion activities are chiefly designed to make your company and its leaders feel good or look good, they're un - likely to achieve tangible results. Litmus test: Are your diversity and inclusion activities and com- munications designed to engage line-level employees rather than managers or leaders? Is manage- ment involvement limited to handing out awards or partici- pating in other occasional photo ops? Have you made changes to actual policies and practices? Successful change requires more than a publicity stunt. • You're not holding people ac- countable. Nothing to measure means no accountability, and "How can our industry expect to understand and adapt to the needs of the next generation of homebuyers when our workforce is such a poor reflection of the borrowers we serve?"

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