Attending the Colorado Hospital Association annual meeting last month, I anticipated discussions around leveraging data and analytics to drive business decisions, and accelerating talent development to maximize performance. 

While those topics were covered, and were interesting and informative, what really struck me were a few recurring themes that I’ve seen our clients face in other industries and markets. 

Namely, hospital security in the face of catastrophic events, i.e. emergency preparedness, data breaches, and inclusion across diverse workforces – how hospital organizations can overcome unconscious bias in patient care. 

Although they are big issues in healthcare, they are shared challenges in other industries from utilities to retail. 

I’ll address diversity first, while a future part 2 post will recap the growing security concerns in healthcare and how you can be proactive.

Addressing Diversity in Leadership

Many companies strive for diversity as a whole because it’s not only the right thing to do, but because it’s been proven in many studies to result in greater innovation and increased profitability.

A 2018 study by McKinsey and Co found that companies in the top quartile for gender diversity on their executive teams were 21 percent more likely to experience above-average profitability. Meanwhile, ethnic and cultural diversity resulted in a 33 percent increase in performance. Diversity matters because your problem-solving abilities are deeply rooted in your collective experience:

“Each person’s unique problem-solving approach is based on a blend of our different backgrounds, experiences, personality and the different ways we process information. The more diverse your team is, the more opportunities you’ll have to approach a problem from different angles. Meanwhile, homogenous teams are more likely to approach a problem from a similar viewpoint, limiting their number of potential outcomes.”

In order for innovation & profitability to coincide, it’s important for leadership to not only be ethnically and culturally diverse as well:  

“For gender diversity to have an impact on innovation, there needed to be at least a 20% share of women in management positions. 

A lack of diversity in leadership will continue to place barriers on innovation, even in the most diverse teams. As your key decision makers, leaders have a major impact on how your teams and in turn business performs.” — The Next Web

Diverse & inclusive teams:

  • Are 21% more likely to experience above-average profitability
  • Make better business decisions 73% of the time
  • Make decisions 2X faster with 1/2 the meetings
How diverse leadership helps overcome unconscious bias on the front lines

Front-line employees embrace the sentiment from great leaders at the top, and diverse leaders naturally embrace more diversity. Any change starts at the top, and leaders lead by example. 

Leaders are responsible for defining purpose and communicating it to their teams, especially during periods of transition. When members of a team know, understand, and believe in the purpose laid out for organizational change, they are more likely to shift from passive participants to active advocates. Once they become advocates for change, they will feel empowered to implement it.

How a global retailer enhanced hiring transparency

Understanding the importance of diversity, and armed with the facts, a global retail company partnered with Propeller to enhance hiring transparency company-wide and increase the presence of underrepresented groups, starting at the top with leadership roles. 

We evaluated the current state of hiring – using experience design tools such as process maps, focus groups, and stakeholder interviews. Our work highlighted opportunities for change and engaged stakeholders at every level of the hiring process, from front-line recruiters to executives.  

Partnering with cross-discipline teams, we:

  • Crafted a new hiring philosophy and guidelines
  • Designed and delivered a three-day training seminar for the talent acquisition teams
  • Created a virtual training for hiring managers, covering the new end-to-end hiring process

By addressing diversity and inclusion beginning with hiring, the retailer is now equipped to continue building a culture that emphasizes access and equality, a key ingredient for successful global organizations.  

Getting started

Whether it’s setting up a diversity initiative in your company or implementing new security processes and change initiatives across your organization, here are some key tips to get your project started. Need more hands-on help or advice? Get in touch to let us know what you’re working on in your organization and how we can help.