DIVERSITY & INCLUSION 

Gary has handed over the reins on this month’s article- not to worry his usual rants will be back on line soon. The thing about articles is that they should provoke some thought, argument and potentially add to the dinner table conversation. Luckily diversity is this month’s topic and it isn’t too difficult to drum up a bit of meaningful chat around this. One way is through awareness of ourselves, our own unconscious bias and how we move forward to make changes.

Wendy and I recently attended a Diversity and Inclusion Conference hosted by M2 woman. Wait for it; I can see some of you breathing easier due to an assumed excellent diversity policy. To clarify, as speaker Tania Domett (Founding Director of Cogo) stated, “Diversity is not the same as gender equality and if you have a female in a leadership position or a few migrant employees and you think you are “sweet as”, you are probably still a long way off.

According to Stats NZ, 24% of New Zealanders identified as having a disability-excluding mental and emotional disabilities. So well done if you’ve celebrated mental health awareness week or added a rainbow to your slogan but more than that I challenge you to look around the organisation you are based in and see if those around you really capture the variety of a lifetime of views from a different cultural set of innate beliefs? Do you have a separate area for Muslim’s to pray or offer any flexibility around different religious practices? Do you have discussions with people from different backgrounds as to how they perceive communication and what ‘an open door policy’ really means? And more importantly do you really open that CV with a name vastly different from your own?

I too am guilty of this as I have recently recruited for a role I used to hold in the industry. It comes as no surprise that my preferred list of CV’s were pale, family orientated, ex pharmaceutical candidates. It’s a safe feeling to know that if I put forward someone like myself, they will deliver on all the expectations the client has for the role. They will be kind and clinical and that right there is unconscious bias. Being aware of this, pushed me out of this warm, cuddly, safety zone and allowed me to venture into the unknown. What I found was a wider pool of talented candidates that had the same patient centric views, with a fresh outlook on how business practices could benefit from some variety.

Previous newsletters have shown our industry is doing well with gender diversity, but there is much improvement needed for cultural diversity in our sector. If the skills set and communication style of a candidate is in line with the role requirements, open the CV even if the name isn’t one that brings a feeling of comfort. Talent sourcing and retention is a large part of HR and Synergy is committed to adding value through finding exceptional talent regardless of cultural, religious or migrant background.

- Jacqueline - Senior Consultant

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