Diversity and Inclusion – Five Top Trends for 2019There has been plenty of progress in the world of diversity and inclusion but will it be such a hot topic in 2019? Here are my predictions, in no particular order, for trends to watch out for, or act on, if you want to get ahead on your D&I journey.

1. Improved Gender Pay Gap Reporting

There will be continued scrutiny on gender and ethnicity pay and representation and the gaps which still exist. I think we will also see smaller companies taking proactive steps to review and analyse their data and build inclusive companies, despite the government rejecting calls to widen the scope of the annual reporting of gender pay.

It’s therefore even more imperative that organisations create clear communication plans, not only for their employees but also their customers and shareholders to continue to build upon any momentum created. For example, what is the reason for the gap, what steps has the company taken to close the gap, what progress has been made as well as details of tangible action plans?

Without clear, consistent and concise communication you’re just inviting people to fill the blanks in for themselves.

2. More Inclusion Mentoring

Mentoring in the workplace will become more common, particularly with regards to supporting employees who are in a minority, whether it be from age, disability, gender or race. Through regular communication, mentors can help their mentees plan their career, develop their capabilities and overcome hurdles.

Mentoring is a great way to share experiences and connections which can cross cultures and other barriers and can help managers identify talent. This was recognised by the government when Business Minister, Andrew Griffiths wrote to chief executives and chairs in 2018.

3. Closing the Ethnicity Gap

2019 will see more initiatives aimed at BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) groups to boost diversity in the same way that gender diversity hit the headlines in 2017. Companies will be under pressure to increase the diversity of their workforce, management and boards.

The government has recently closed its consultation on whether it should mandate ethnicity pay reporting and if so, the methodology which should be used.   Like all good initiatives, knowledge is power and smart companies will have started to gather their data and will be seeking ways it can redress the balance.  Others will stand on the sidelines waiting for the larger, global companies to lead the way.  Be proactive and take the lead – you’ll reap the rewards for doing so.

4. Forward Looking Companies will Build Talent Pipelines

As competition tightens for skilled and experienced staff, it’s important that you’re exploring the widest possible pool when it comes to finding the best candidates. Companies need to ensure their recruitment strategy becomes a talent magnet for all, rather than a chosen few.  Companies need to be much more in tune with the talent a candidate brings and where they are heading, rather than where they’ve come from.

Once you find the best talent it’s imperative that you set them up for success, that you support, develop an retain them. Many employees are happy to stay within an organisation if they think their talent is recognised and they can gain new skills and experiences.

5. The Growth of Male Allies

Creating an inclusive society is not about pitting one gender against another, it’s opportunities for all.   We, therefore, have a far greater chance of closing any gap if we engage everyone.   Men that are committed to fairness make ideal ambassadors or allies, they are more likely to be aware of gender bias and challenge it, whether that be at a strategic, or a day to day level. Companies that recognise that both men and women benefit from gender equality will find it easier to identify and recruit male allies and use them to their full advantage.

What’s clear is that Diversity and Inclusion isn’t a fad!  It will, quite rightly, continue to be a top priority amongst businesses, particularly as more and more recognise the benefits that a truly inclusive workforce brings to everyone.