As part of our research report Attracting, retaining and developing a diverse workforce, we invited contributors with a range of backgrounds and perspectives to share their views on diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

Jeremy Sutton is CEO and Founder of 3 Minute Mile.

"Firstly, it avoids hiring mistakes; being biased means we are likely to miss hiring some really talented people.  The second reason relates to pure tolerance--being tolerant is morally just. 

To overcome bias, we need to understand its origin - psychometric assessments and behavioural models help us to do just that. 

Over the years, HR specialisms have evolved significantly.  By focusing on the measurement of desirable outcomes, people strategies that create and nurture more of these metrics have emerged.  This reflects an important shift in perspective.  We have shifted our focus from performance indicators that ‘lag’, to behavioural predictors which ‘lead’.

Overcoming bias is a top priority.  We can accelerate progress by addressing the ‘lag’ in this area.  We know that lagging with respect to D&I has a negative impact on employee engagement and organisational outcomes.  But by the time we receive the most recent employee survey, it’s too late to do anything remedial to address underlying issues.  How can we be doing enough to promote D&I if we are only looking at lag indicators in our ‘rear view mirror’?

Creating inclusive environments is more complicated than responding to observable differences in the ‘correct’ manner.  It’s about creating an environment where people feel comfortable, safe and rewarded for ‘stepping out’ from the crowd.

We must move beyond traditional metrics of diversity and confront the factors countering inclusion.  Our greatest adversary is bias.  Bias operates to inhibit the individuality of others, through fear of social rejection.  Like personality, the nature and origin of bias is unique--it is shaped by core values and life experiences.   By making unconscious bias training personal and embedding the right behaviours, we help leaders leverage inclusion to its greatest potential."

To find out more about the Kier diversity research report 2019 click here.

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