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Tackling the employee diversity gap

While employing the right range of people is the first step in creating a more diverse industry, Maggie Zaboura, Managing Director of Zaboura, explains why the right framework needs to be in place to support them.

As a female immigrant myself, born in Africa to a Palestinian father and Armenian mother, I think I hit most business’s diversity goals. But in my opinion, diversity is overused and misunderstood. Diversity in the
workplace is an underrated and easily misplaced buzzword. As is the case with most trends within the workplace, there is a lot of talk but not a lot of application. There are good examples however, such as businesses that are actively seeking female engineers in their development teams. Green Energy Options, for example, are developing for diverse consumers and understand that input must be diverse, too.

Aside from employing the right range of people, the framework needs to be in place to support them. Every organisation across the globe is facing the same challenges that come with the huge numbers of millennial talent entering the workforce – and reshaping it as they do so. PwC recently found that 85% of employees feel that a brand’s policy on diversity, equality and workforce inclusion is important when deciding whether or not to take a job. However, 71% feel that while organisations talk about diversity, the reality is that opportunities are not actually equal for everyone.

The inclusion framework

Companies looking to address the gender gap need to look beyond the boardroom and address the issue head-on throughout their entire workforce. It needs to be an organisation-wide initiative. But in order to do so, organisations need to first better understand the people they wish to attract, and once they attract them, have the right framework in place to support and develop them.

Female millennials, for example – entering the workforce in larger numbers than any previous generation – behave differently. They want real-time feedback and a clear development framework.

Businesses are definitely starting to realise the devastating impact that such a lack of diversity can have on their bottom line and their reputation – in both employee and consumer eyes. Appealing to a wide cross section of the population has to be authentic and a brand cannot be authentic unless it authentically has diverse input. How we
feel about a brand is more than just figures on a graph – it’s down to emotion. We love a brand because of how it makes us feel.

The value of emotion

Clarabridge is an organisation that understands the true value of determining feeling. Its CX platform, Engage, provides brands with real-time access to customer feedback, across all channels and stages of the customer journey. Engage’s text analytics track the sentiment and meaning behind every comment, so that brands can strategise more effectively, utilising truly insight-led dashboards and reports to aid their vision.

Considering the growth of women in customer experience and customer journey positions, perhaps it has something to do with female propensity for these softer skills; an agility in adapting to consumer happiness.

It occurred to me at a recent seminar hosted by Clarabridge, in which most of the speakers were female, that one of the biggest problems that the retail sector is facing currently is a lack of loyalty (especially online). Understanding customers, and developing empathy and these softer skills, is central to the processes and brand development of the customer journey. In turn, it impacts brand equity, which is all about loyalty and trust. Every organisation needs to be designing its marketing and communications strategies with this in mind.

Kokoro is another interesting agency, one that uses emotion as a ranking for customer happiness, making 80% of its decisions based on feelings. It is a brand that understands that creating the best products, the best experiences, becoming the best brand and attracting the best talent, is all down to connecting with people on an emotional level and knowing what really motivates them. It uses innovative quantitative tools to measure the true feeling that a brand creates over time, highlighting opportunities to create more of those positive, emotional moments that will engage customers throughout their journey. And this is how businesses must tackle the employee diversity gap; the same thinking we must all use to create the best pool of talent.

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