Distributor Exertis is touting a new set of diversity and inclusion initiatives to help tackle inequality.
“There is a genuine groundswell and recognition that diverse businesses perform better,” said Nick Foster, HR director, Exertis Group. This includes making “better decisions and [being] the kind of business that vendors, customers and colleagues want to be part of.”
Exertis says it has examined its recruitment strategies to ensure it is reaching a broad spectrum of talent and communities. It has also changed several policies to increase flexibility to attract a more diverse candidate base. This includes insisting its recruitment partners and in-house teams present diverse talent shortlists.
“This has seen a significant increase in diversity at our leadership and management levels,” said Foster.
The distributor has also increased maternity, paternity and adoption packages. In addition, it is offering flexibility in terms of location and hours, which it believes will encourage diversity.
Meanwhile, a new education tool kit offers online training, case studies, questionnaires and kits for managers to create awareness sessions.
“Our diversity and inclusion (D&I) strategy is relatively simple,” said Foster. “We want to provide the opportunities for talented people to join and progress through our organisation whatever their background.
“Creating a truly inclusive workplace starts with building awareness about the unconscious bias we all have within. [Then] educating ourselves to the way bias impacts our thinking patterns, decision making and culture. This takes time but starts with a plan.
“We have started the journey by creating awareness of the issue through education, whether that’s online learning modules that highlight the issues or each of our businesses around the globe creating action-oriented teams.”
Foster believes initiatives to promote diversity and inclusion are critical in 2021.
“It’s a competitive advantage to have a truly talented, diverse workforce. In the war for talent, the best employees look for purpose in the workplace. [They want to] thrive in an environment where they can bring their best selves to work.”
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However, the exec believes there is still much work to be done in the channel.
“There are a number of initiatives which will really change the landscape. But all too often businesses are paying lip service to the core issues and not truly embedding changes in behaviours,” he said. “Other than clearly being the right thing to do, if you are not providing an inclusive workplace, then you are going to miss out on massive talent pools. Candidates [will] choose to engage with organisations that reflect and enhance their value set.”
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