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Diversity

By an interesting coincidence, two articles in December 2013 addressed the same issue – the paucity of women in the Boardroom - in much the same way. Both Maggi Evans, writing in The Psychologist, and Baroness Kingsmill in Management Today note that there are very good reasons for organisations to want more women at the top.
Many organisations are doing something about diversity. But is there any evidence of the efficacy of their initiatives? This month we summarise two articles that suggest, rather worryingly, that commonplace diversity initiatives might well not work but their existence causes everyone, including the courts, to imagine that all is well. The articles will give serious pause for thought to those who really want to make a difference to diversity.
This month's newsletter reports on research concerning women's sense of belonging and how it is impacted by negative stereotypes and messages that ability is relatively given and fixed. All of which seems relevant to achieving greater representation of women and other underrepresented groups in the boardroom.
This month, we want to draw your attention to a chapter written by Charles Woodruffe in a new anthology on assessment centres. Charles points out various ways in which assessment centres might be unintentionally biased, even if designed in line with traditional best practice. He also draws attention to worrying empirical evidence of ethnic differences in assessment centre performance. (Please note, you can order the anthology at a 33% discount if you order online at www.gowerpublishing.com. Please quote code G11FDV35 when ordering to obtain your discount.)
Increasing the number of women in senior positions has become a priority, particularly with the report and recommendations by Lord Davies. But achieving better representation requires a) a greater number of women in the pipeline for senior positions and b) the recognition of the talents of those who are candidates for such roles. This month?s newsletter examines these issues and possible solutions.
This month's newsletter looks at the increase in sales in workplaces where both managers and staff perceive a genuine commitment to diversity. It is hard evidence of the business case for diversity initiatives.
What stops Women Getting to the Top has particular topicality at the moment. The Davies review into Women on Boards has just been published and PwC has received a lot of publicity with their 'Comply or Explain' approach that requires senior leaders to achieve promotion of female staff or explain what is blocking their progress. This month we review an article in Harvard Business Review that argues women are less prone than men to secure 'sponsors' who will advocate their advancement with senior colleagues.
Ensuring that you have a strong diversity climate is an investment that will pay off in terms of raising performance. The research reported in this month's newsletter shows the extent of the pay-off by comparing sales performance across retail branches with different diversity climates. The results make compelling reading.
This month's Human Assets Newsletter concerns the adverse impact on some underrepresented groups of widely-used selection procedures. It confronts the dilemma that some of the most valid forms of assessment (e.g. cognitive testing) also carry the greatest disadvantage in terms of adverse impact and contains suggestions on how to square this particular circle.

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