Utilising inclusion to attract and retain top talent

June 04, 2022 | 15:43
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Unconscious bias is still a blind spot for businesses when attracting and retaining talent. Hoai Dinh, executive director of the Vietnam Business Coalition for Women’s Empowerment talked to VIR’s Oanh Nguyen about the role of diverse and inclusive cultures in creating an optimal work environment.

Can you clarify how unconscious bias impacts attracting and retaining talent in business?

Utilising inclusion to attract and retain top talent
Hoai Dinh, executive director of the Vietnam Business Coalition for Women’s Empowerment

Unconscious bias in the workplace is the consequence of a biological shorthand to enable quick decision making. It enabled the first human beings to decide in a split second who was friend or foe, purely by assessing whether another person looked and behaved like them. This biological shorthand is still in use, enabling humans to process large amounts of information and experiences simultaneously, relying on assumptions that formulate explicit and unconscious biases.

In some contexts, these instinctive assumptions can enable us to move forward quickly with high-pressure deadlines, allowing for quick decisions based on past experience and learned behaviour. However, the ability to process information quickly is reliant on assumptions and unconscious bias, which can be discriminatory and harmful to those around us.

The application of bias during the recruitment, which issues specific offers in terms of age, gender, and region for candidates, impacts the quality of recruitment. The most popular bias is the suspicion that women do better in supporting roles and men do better in leadership positions. Thus, women are less likely to be given the opportunity to advance to senior leadership positions.

How important is embracing diversity while simultaneously building a strong and successful team?

Attracting and retaining talent is an essential need at all times. Especially in the context of post-pandemic socioeconomic instability, this issue has become a significant problem for business owners with human resources severely impacted, making workforce wellbeing one of the top concerns of companies.

One more thing to look at is that salary is not the only thing candidates look at while searching for a job anymore; they also look at workplace culture, flexibility and freedom, and career advancement. Even if a candidate has a negative experience during the recruiting process, they’re more likely to reject the job offer.

A diverse workforce, in terms of age, race, religion, nationality, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, and national origin brings diverse viewpoints and perspectives to the company.

An ideal working environment is a place where employees are heard and respected for their flexibility and freedom. They are always encouraged to do trials, make errors and learn new things, so that every individual can experience and grow.

Diversity and inclusion are key to inspiring and motivating teams in the corporate environment, thereby helping to attract and retain talent in today’s competitive world. Diversity and inclusion are two interconnected concepts, but they are far from interchangeable. Diversity is about the representation or the make-up of an entity. Inclusion is about how well the contributions, presence, and perspectives of different groups of people are valued and integrated into an environment.

Organisations must also understand that a diverse and inclusive work environment allows them access to a wider talent pool, thus, increasing the chances to find the best people suited for the roles.

Even from the job seekers’ perspective, diversity in the workplace is one of the key factors in their decision-making process.

What is the solution to establishing an inclusive workplace culture?

We have organised workshops on this. One of the latest events was a sharing hub session themed “Diversity and inclusion in attracting and retaining talent” at Ericsson Vietnam, with the participation of leaders and senior managers from the coalition’s members and partners. It was an occasion for business representatives to listen to practical stories and learn about experiences in building such inclusivity in businesses.

Through the event, we saw that businesses pay more attention to this issue and understand the importance of this culture in attracting and retaining talent. However, the problem is that most of them do not know how to build this culture for their businesses.

Concerns are understandable, so they should look for a consultancy for their businesses that can offer recommendations and tailor-made action plans for each business to build a diverse and inclusive culture. Besides that, the consultancy can also play the role of a coach that always encourages and boosts the morale of businesses during the journey.

By Oanh Nguyen

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