Equality in career development.
Have you ever heard of a leaky pipeline? That signals a loss of talented employees from one level to another.
Employees fail to progress past a certain level. They either do not get promoted to the next level or exit the organization before receiving the opportunity to advance. Therefore, your investment in that employee, by training and mentoring them, does not yield benefits for your organization.
A leaky pipeline is most common for underrepresented or minority group employees. The solution is to invest in equal career development opportunities and provide adequate support for all employees.
Action 1: bias-free performance reviews
Action 1: Bias-free performance reviews.
Performance reviews are processes in which a manager assesses and evaluates an employee’s performance at work. The goal is to give feedback on employees’ strengths, point out areas of improvement, and discuss future career goals and expectations.
A big responsibility lies in the manager or team leader taking the initiative, making time to conduct the assessment, and communicating their observations to the employee.
A downside of performance reviews is that they are human assessments, judgments made of others, which means unconscious biases significantly impact the outcome.
An alternative to the annual performance review can be to use more regular check-ins.
Action 2: DEI-focused succession planning
Action 2: DEI-focused succession planning.
Succession planning allows you to have the right people in the right place. It ensures the continuity of the business and helps you quickly define who to turn to when urgently looking for a leader with a specific set of skills.
With DEI high on the agenda, it makes sense to approach your leadership pipeline with a DEI focus. In addition, use succession planning to ensure you always have the necessary diversity at all levels of leadership.
Have you ever heard someone say “Our leadership is plenty diverse. We have a woman and five different nationalities on the team. It is impossible to ignore the diversity of thought that brings.”? That is still a common approach to diversity, but it is not sufficient.
Action 3: inclusive coaching
Action 3: Inclusive coaching.
It is a challenge for leaders to treat each team member equally, especially when supporting them in their development and coaching them to advance their careers.
As a leader and coach, be aware of your position.
Power: Most hierarchical organizations have a power imbalance between leaders and team members. However natural, be conscious of how hierarchy creates barriers. For example, is it more difficult for team members to approach you or for you to observe their work and coach them?
Privilege: Reflect on your privilege; the benefits or advantages linked to your identity and position in society and at work. When you belong to a majority group, your privilege can be a blind spot. Are you aware of the different experiences of minority team members? Do you challenge your privilege and actively support employees who experience exclusion or discrimination?
Personal norms and biases: Investigate your norms and possible biases rooted in your past experiences. They influence your expectations and the way you judge behaviors. For example, what does the ideal employee look like? How should they behave? With how much support should they be able to thrive?
List your possible blind spots and remind yourself of them regularly. That will help you to be more open-minded when coaching others.
Become a DEI expert.
This is a collection of articles that allows you to take a deep dive.