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Employee Diversity and Inclusion at WRS

Posted by: Emma Upton
02/03/21

Diversity and inclusion (D&I) are at the top of the agenda for HR teams in 2021; WRS is no exception. You might be wondering why it’s so important for businesses to embrace this, not just as a passing trend, but as an all-encompassing strategy that will change the way companies recruit, train, engage and develop our team members.

Why is it so important?

Think of the business world as a mirror to wider society. People genuinely care and believe in the importance of community diversity, because it’s through differences that we create and innovate in ways that wouldn’t be possible with a group of like-minded thinkers. This means inviting people of different genders, ethnicities, sexualities and beliefs to be part of the conversation. It means employing people with disabilities or who are transgender and giving them the forum to share their ideas and thoughts.

When people feel accepted, they perform better. The data reflects this, so giving employees the space and support to be themselves actually makes business sense. In the past, it was possible that even showing support for a minority group could have been enough to alienate someone from their colleagues, but 2021 workplaces should allow – in fact, actively encourage – people to express who they are and give voice to the causes they support.

What can we do?

I recently attended a webinar where there was a debate on the merits of a quota system for getting minority groups into management or board level positions. The speakers were explaining the problems of quotas, namely that they can result in employees getting promoted for other factors completely aside from skills or performance. Someone who is more capable could get overlooked in this kind of system, which perpetuates the unfairness that has blighted the business world for many years.

On the other hand, it’s vital that we get different types of people into senior positions so that they can set the example for what is possible. There is a danger that a certain type of person is seen as the model for a manager (historically, in certain industries, this was typically a white man). The qualities that these people possess are then seen as the ‘best’ qualities and prized. Often decision makers believe that they are hiring the right person for the job but are unconsciously biased towards people who most resemble themselves. It’s the duty of those in positions of authority to challenge stereotypes and open the door for others, with the aim of making the people sat around the board room table as varied and diverse as possible.

Often, inequality happens when the criteria for what makes someone ‘the best’ is not subjective. At WRS, we have implemented a number of strategies to change this, so that we can confidently say promotions are earned on merit. As a result, we’re seeing an increase in diversity at a senior level. Amongst the changes we’ve made are marked assessments during the first 6 months of your WRS career when you’re in a ‘trainee’ role, scored call reviews and a competency matrix. Through this, we have been able to identify top performers and work with them on future goals that align to the business’s ambitions. Half of them are women. One of them works part time.

There is more work to do, but there has been a marked step change in how we operate to embrace a culture of diversity and inclusion. At WRS, we pride ourselves on offering a family feel, friendly working environment with a professional edge. With this in mind, we acknowledge that our team members have different needs and require a different approach in order to feel engaged, motivated and supported. In our leadership training course, we talk about this and encourage future managers to think about how they can understand their colleagues and adapt accordingly. We ran a company-wide training programme on unconscious bias to help our employees think about how they engage with the world around them and what they can do to address prejudice and stereotypes. All of this is co-ordinated and championed by me, the HR Business Partner, with the support of the CEO. These are small changes but significant ones that are running through the heart of our business.

ABOUT WRS

WRS can save you time and money by supporting internal resources, providing you with the best pre-qualified candidates when you need them. We are a workforce solutions company with offices in Europe, the Middle East, APAC and the Americas, supporting the needs of businesses around the world. We employ specialist sector consultants, who can help you to identify the expatriate and local personnel you need to keep your business moving forward.

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