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  • Writer's pictureOlivier S.E. Courtois

Talent Shortage and Inclusive Leadership

Talent shortage is a global trend, which was on the agenda of the Davos 2020 summit, and is holding back companies' growth today. I had the opportunity the other day to co-host a webinar organized by Edstutia on the topic of upskilling as a way to combat the talent shortage.

But there is another lever to reduce its effects: inclusive policy and leadership. Inclusion is to diversity, what mayonnaise is to its ingredients. Putting the eggs and the oil in the same container is not enough to make the mayo set. You also need the right utensils and the right cook. The same goes for inclusion: recruiting talent from diverse backgrounds (gender, culture, race, experience, education, age) is not enough to make an effective organization and an attractive culture. You need policies that encourage the process and leaders that rise to the occasion.

The stakes are high. First of all, the more we broaden the scope of our recruitment, the more likely we are to find talent. Studies have also shown that a group that includes diversity is stronger and more effective than a monochrome group, at least if it is well managed. An agile board or team with a balanced number of women and men, for example, is richer than when one gender predominates. And a truly inclusive group reduces staff turnover and increases engagement.

My experience is that leaders lack more know-how than good will in this matter. There is a 5-step continuum to developing diversity savvy:

1 - Ignorance: 'what are we talking about?'.

2 - Rejection: 'yes, we are different but we are better off apart'.

3 - Minimization: 'we are not so different after all. One size fits all!'

4 - Recognition: 'yes we are different but we are doing ok!

5 - Active reinforcement : 'how can we intentionally create a climate where each 'category' brings the best of itself, to maximize results, and feels respected, valued, appreciated for what it is?'

Where are you in the process? What have you put in place to raise the bar?


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