Thursday, May 10, 2012
[IWS] Mercer: KEY DRIVERS FOR DIVERSITY & INCLUSION STRATEGY IN ASIA PACIFIC [7 May 2012]
IWS Documented News Service
Institute for Workplace Studies----------------- Professor Samuel B. Bacharach
School of Industrial & Labor Relations-------- Director, Institute for Workplace Studies
16 East 34th Street, 4th floor---------------------- Stuart Basefsky
New York, NY 10016 -------------------------------Director, IWS News Bureau
Press Release 7 May 2012
Mercer identifies key drivers for diversity and inclusion strategy in Asia Pacific
Asia, 7 May 2012
§ Three-quarters of surveyed participants listed gender as the main focus of their diversity efforts
§ Top three drivers of an organization’s diversity and inclusion strategy are recruitment of talent, employer brand and access to untapped talent pool
§ For companies with diversity strategies in place, efforts in 2012 will mainly focus on developing women for leadership roles and attracting more diverse talent
According to Mercer’s recent Asia Pacific Diversity & Inclusion Survey, most participating companies reported having a diversity and inclusion strategy in place at the global and regional level and around 20% companies have a country level strategy (see figure 1). Among the 34% of respondents whose companies do not have a Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) strategy, over half reported that they would like to explore or are already looking into establishing a diversity and inclusion strategy. Interestingly, among companies that said they do not have “any diversity-focused policies,” 14% of them said they had flexible working hours, 9% had family-friendly policies and 7% had employee networks, indicating that D&I policies are gaining a foothold even among companies that don’t label them as such.
FIGURE 1: Does your company have a diversity strategy?
Diversity & inclusion programs implemented by companies in Asia Pacific are most likely to target gender, with three-quarters of those surveyed listing gender as the main focus of their diversity efforts (see figure 2). Consistent with this focus, the most common diversity programs offered by companies are gender-related, such as such as flexible work arrangements (52%), mentoring (43%), and family-friendly policies (43%).
FIGURE 2: My organization's main focus on diversity and inclusion is in the following areas:
Note: Companies could provide up to 3 responses so results do not add up to 100%
Drivers of diversity and inclusion (D&I) in Asia Pacific
Diversity and inclusion are increasingly pressing issues in Asia Pacific because of demographic changes affecting both the workforce available to businesses and the customers they serve. Companies surveyed pointed to several workforce trends that are impacting their employee base, including multiple generations within the workforce (43%), an increased expectation for flexible work arrangements (37%), aging population (35%), gender composition (34%) and multiple national cultures in the workforce (34%) (see figure 3).
FIGURE 3: Which of the following workforce trends are having a significant impact on your employee base?
Note: Companies could provide multiple responses so results do not add up to 100%. This question was asked to all survey respondents.
As more Asian organizations globalize, they are increasingly focused on integrating international talent into their workforce. Additionally the mobility of talent among Asian countries is on the rise. According to the research, this trend is having the greatest impact on existing hubs for international talent in Asia such as Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand, Hong Kong and China.
HR professionals in Asia Pacific are also shaping their human capital strategies and practices to reflect the increasingly diverse talent pool in their countries. The research shows that hiring and recruiting practices (61%), career pathing (54%), all HR (41%) and compensation and benefits policies (35%) are expected to change considerably due to the demographic trends.
“A majority of organizations in Asia Pacific also see their diversity strategies as enabling them to better meet the needs of diverse customers. In this sense human resources professionals should leverage their diversity & inclusion strategy to be stronger partners to the business and create an employee base that can help better serve the changing consumer segments,” says Bianca Stringuini, Human Capital Consultant at Mercer.
Top three drivers behind an organization’s D & I strategy are recruitment of talent (48.8%), employer brand (43.1%) and access to untapped talent pool (38.6%). Diversity is also seen as important to business performance and the bottom line through its impact on team effectiveness and innovation. However, the research also reveals that most companies are missing out on opportunities to use diversity and inclusion to further impact the business by linking it to scorecards and leveraging it to enter new markets.
A focus on inclusion
Initially, many companies were concerned primarily with improving their metrics and increasing the diversity of their workforces by hiring more women, different races and different generations. However, diversity itself does not bring organizational culture change if there is not true inclusion of the diverse employee segments. Almost one third of organizations (72.7%) in Asia Pacific are largely focused on inclusion and on “harmony” in the workplace (see figure 4). Rather than highlighting differences and celebrating the uniqueness of the individual – a common approach to diversity in the West – companies in the region place a higher value on the group and on achieving balance between the different elements in the group.
FIGURE 4: Top issues of focus for 2012
Note: The survey respondents could select only one key issue. This question was asked to all survey respondents who reported having a diversity and inclusion strategy.
Diversity and inclusion in 2012
For companies with diversity strategies in place, efforts in 2012 will mainly focus on two initiatives - developing women for leadership roles and attracting more diverse talent to their organizations (refer to figure 4). It is interesting that while a third of survey respondents listed age as a key topic of concern for their organizations, few said that it is a main area of focus for 2012.
Our research indicates that many companies in the region are failing to gain commitment from their business leaders to support diversity and inclusion efforts as 50% participants reported that the business leaders in their organization understand the importance of diversity & inclusion but are not actively involved. This commitment will most easily be secured when diversity and inclusion is tied directly to the business strategy and the workforce plans required to execute that strategy.
Fermin Diez, Mercer’s Asia Pacific Business Leader for Human Capital Consulting says, “We believe that the diversity and inclusion efforts will continue to go past all challenges and grow if organizations across the region continue to share best practices, create strong linkages between the diversity and inclusion strategy and the business, and measure the impact of the strategy on productivity, retention and profitability.”
About the survey
In light of the increasing importance in Diversity and Inclusion practices in Asia Pacific, Mercer has taken a closer look at diversity & inclusion (D&I) strategies and practices in the region to understand the unique reasons why companies in Asia Pacific are looking at diversity as a competitive advantage.
Mercer conducted the Asia Pacific Diversity & Inclusion Survey in December 2011 to January 2012 which yielded 355 responses from companies located in seven key markets across the region: Australia, China, India, Japan, Hong Kong, South Korea and ASEAN. Mercer also interviewed 31 senior executives throughout the Asia Pacific region. The companies chosen include those spearheading diversity and inclusion efforts as well as those interested in enhancing their current diversity and inclusion strategies
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