Shining light on diversity and inclusion (D&I) this month with Pride just around the corner, Human Resources picks the brains of Charlie Robinson, head of people, 4meGlam on improving D&I in an employee lifecycle – right from recruitment. Leading the team of six globally, Robinson is responsible for scaling the this beauty e-commerce business across South East Asia, reporting directly to its CEO based in Singapore.
First things first, how would you personally define workplace diversity?
For us diversity is not just the obvious mix of age, gender and background; but about diversity of opinion. Strong teams challenge themselves constantly and this doesn’t happen when a team is overly homogeneous.
What do you think is a key challenge when it comes to D&I in APAC?
Diversity is influenced by the composition of a business leadership team. Finding CEOs or top management who are confident enough to hire people who challenge them can be difficult.
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At what point of an employee’s life cycle should a company should reinforce D&I – and why?
Diversity and inclusion should be an ongoing discussion with all businesses and employees. It is a fluid process that needs constant monitoring and discussion from HRBPs with line managers.
Some companies put too much priority in the paper chase, do you think this restricts them in attracting the best-fit candidate?
Yes, being able to hire candidates who have the core skill set and a strong cultural fit against someone with exact skill set and weaker cultural fit requires confident leadership. Often businesses put too much emphasis on carbon copies of previously successful hires as this seems to be lower risk. However, it limits the creativity that comes with diversity.
I’m a big believer in technology. Using systems that remove personal information from the applicants as they come in can help to remove cultural bias. Additionally, for roles where there are quantifiable skill sets that can be tested through assessments should be integrated into the process too.
What is an actionable item that HR can do to address that?
HR needs to proactively push hiring managers and leaders in their business to hire candidates from diverse backgrounds. For example, an actionable item would be using behavioral assessments to map current team and leadership dynamic vs applicants.
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