Gartner: Call to mitigate bias in workplace

By Janet Brice
Three-step action plan on how underrepresented talent can be advanced in the future, according to a report from Gartner...

Despite Kamala Harris being selected as president-elect Joe Biden’s running mate, only 10% of senior level corporate positions in the US are held by a woman from a racial or ethnic minority, according to statistics from Gartner TalentNeuron™.

The data was revealed in a report from Gartner which takes an in-depth look at how underrepresented talent can be advanced in the future. 

“There is no two-hour training remedy for this challenge. Organisations need to assess their current systems and processes to mitigate bias and address organisational factors that prohibit equal opportunity for advancement,” says Lauren Romansky, Managing Vice President, Gartner.

“Nearly every company today would state that diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) is a business priority, even during the COVID-19 pandemic,” comment Gartner who revealed a survey of DEI heads showed 69% are prioritising the advancement of underrepresented talent.

However, another recent Gartner survey of 113 HR leaders showed 88% feel their organisation has not been effective at increasing diverse representation.

In the report, 3 Actions to More Effectively Advance Underrepresented Talent, Gartner identify the following organisational barriers:

  • Unclear career paths and steps to advancement
  • Too little exposure to senior leaders
  • Lack of mentors or career support 

Gartner identified three actions HR can take to reset how underrepresented talent is advanced.

1. Fix the manager-employee relationship

To make progress on increasing diversity representation, organisations need to build healthy manager-employee relationships that set the right foundation for advocacy and advancement, suggest Gartner.

To fix the manager-employee relationship the report suggests the following three points:

  • Teach managers how to build personalised support for direct reports while enabling them to be effective talent coaches
  • Build manager awareness of the employee experience of underrepresented talent
  • Broker trust between underrepresented talent and their managers

“The most successful organisations go beyond traditional leadership development programmes that focus solely on skill building to advance women, LGBT+, or racially and ethnically diverse employees. 

“Instead, they also target managers of program participants to spread awareness of the employee experience of their direct reports, build trust and enable greater manager advocacy,” says Gartner.

2. Enable growth-focused networks

When underrepresented talent has diverse networks, the organisation wins. Gartner reveals that in organisations that create networking programmes for underrepresented talent, HR leaders are twice as likely to report they are effective at improving organisational inclusion and 1.3 times more likely to report they are effective at increasing diverse employee engagement.

Key actions HR can take to enable growth-focused networks include:

  • Help employees understand how networking will enable better diversity and inclusion
  • Authorise underrepresented talent to actively network
  • Create accountability for networking across underrepresented talent

3. Redesign talent processes to mitigate bias

According to Gartner the following points will fully embed inclusion and provide fair consideration to underrepresented talent for advancement:

  • Challenge hiring managers on need-to-have versus nice-to-have requirements
  • Expand labour market opportunities to consider adjacent and non-traditional talent pools
  • Update definitions of potential for relevance as market conditions and business needs evolve
  • Explore job design to accommodate diverse talent
  • Rethink how performance is evaluated
  • Change internal hiring methods

“COVID-19 and the transition to remote work has created an opportunity for organisations to address their current DEI goals and the strategies and tactics in place to meet them,” says Ingrid Laman, Vice President, Advisory, Gartner.

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For more information on business topics in the United States and Canada, please take a look at the latest edition of Business Chief North America.

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