Building Inclusive Leaders: Aligning the HR Infrastructure

September 5, 2019

Building Inclusive Leaders: Aligning the HR Infrastructure

This post is the third and final part of a series about using the Giving Voice to Values method to help leaders become more inclusive and cultivate more diverse organizations. Read the first post and the second post. For more on Giving Voice to Values, see the Summer 2019 issue of People + Strategy

Organizations are now faced with a new set of issues due to the globalization of talent about how to operationalize inclusion and diversity (I&D). Top leaders and HR play a special role as the steward of talent management and leadership development for the organization. How may leaders be encouraged and rewarded for their inclusive talent management (TM) practices for themselves and their teams?

We know that HR infrastructures have baked into them systems, processes, and interactions between stakeholders. Teams may apply the same high levels of assessment, rehearsal, and feedback that Giving Voice to Values (GVV) prescribes. (See "How Teams Give Voice to Values"). 

HR procedures and policies associated with TM practices often involve different teams both within corporate HR as well as across HR functions in different departments. CHROs and HR leaders have the opportunity to apply GVV to the decision-making processes associated with TM and its various metrics such as those used in selection, promotion, leadership development, and rewards. HR leaders often must learn how to stand up to resistance by others in the organization and can use GVV to prepare their actions and words to be able to influence the outcome of important discussions. HR leaders play a key role in operationalizing inclusion. 

Operationalizing Inclusion
How can leaders address hidden biases in HR metrics and talent management processes? What are the “hot spots” in talent management processes that lend themselves to measuring how inclusion is operationalized? 

Dual Approach
Perhaps a dual approach be used to operationalize gender inclusion? 

  1. As a first step, HR leaders and others responsible for talent management processes in the organization may learn to use GVV to practice how to use their values to implement more inclusive TM in their organizations. Group learning experiences may allow them to aggregate the learning from the positive experiences that have worked well in fostering inclusion in their teams as well as to anticipate the resistance that may also occur. 
  2. In the second step, these leaders focus on how to operationalize inclusion in their organizations. The “calls to action” (See "Wherefore Art Thou All Our Women High-Potentials?") provide ideas and suggestion for how organizations and their values-driven leaders may wish to initiate audits to see where actions need to be taken to improve I&D.

Incorporating Measurements
The following measurements may be initiated in the organization to determine the extent to which: 

  • leadership models align with mission, strategy, and values.
  • male and female leaders receive proportional recognition, rewards, and promotions.
  • there a ceiling for high-potential women and if so, at what level in the organization.
  • the level at which women quit the organization and why.
  • there are differences in 360-feedback data for high-potential men and women.
  • high-potential men and women receive mentoring by senior executives.
  • survey data reveal about how leaders are practicing gender inclusive leadership.
  • coaching used differently for men and women, i.e., for men’s leadership development vs. for women’s remediation.
  • coaching is used in conjunction with key developmental experiences to develop high-potentials.

We know that diverse teams outperform non-diverse teams in innovation, creativity, and decision-making. These steps may allow leaders themselves to become comfortable with managing their own non-homogeneous groups as well as creating fair and equitable workplaces for all people in their organizations. 

It’s time to accelerate the journey toward creating inclusive organizations.

The Authors: 

Anna Marie Valerio, Ph.D., is President of Executive Leadership Strategies and author of Developing Women Leaders: A Guide for Men and Women in Organizations and Executive Coaching: A Guide for the HR Professional.