NECESSARY SKILLS – For guiding change

By the Editorial staff

In the current context, understanding how to attract, motivate and retain the right employees – by managing their diversity in an efficient and fair way and creating an inclusive environment in which everyone is recognised, respected, valued and enabled to do their best – is one of the main challenges that companies must face. To reach this awareness, it is necessary to undertake a process of organisational and cultural change that invests in individuals, teams and the overall organisation, which translates in an integrated way into strategies, processes, policies and action.

You start by enriching the company’s purpose, values and strategy, reviewing them in the light of diversity, inclusion and fairness and, on the basis of this, rethinking organisational, work (flexibility, smart working), search, selection and on-boarding processes, people management and empowerment (through a fair and meritocratic total reward strategy that allows flexibility in the combination of compensation mix levers to take account of people’s diversity), internal relations (information and education on diversity and its management at the individual, team and managerial level) and coordination and leadership models. These rethinks then need to be translated into intervention policies, with appropriate KPIs to monitor the results achieved over time (presence, productivity, professional development, inclusion, wellbeing and satisfaction). In order for the company to effectively adopt this organisational approach, it is essential to prepare management, engage them and make them protagonists of the change through informative and experiential interventions that allow them to understand what diversity is, why it is relevant at the individual, team and company level, what the benefits of an inclusive and fair management of diversity are and what the criticalities of a lack of such management are, explaining the factors that tend to limit the capacity for individual and group inclusion (habits, resistance to change, mental schemes, stereotypes, prejudices/biases, stigma, discrimination), providing suggestions to mitigate their impact. 

The skills of inclusive leaders

To manage diversity effectively, simultaneously favouring inclusion, certain leadership capacities are thought to be useful. A leader, in fact, must be able to relate to colleagues with different personalities, backgrounds, mentalities and ways of working, allowing each member of the team to make their own contribution, based on everyone’s capacity. The Warm & Inclusive Lead model makes it possible to obtain a greater competitive advantage compared to maintaining “homogeneous teams”.  The skills that favour inclusive leadership may include the following: open-mindedness – inclusive leaders are open to differences and appreciate them, they demonstrate curiosity about change and can expand their beliefs and points of view.

Empathy: inclusive leaders know how to look at things from different perspectives, so they are able to put themselves in someone else’s shoes and understand their point of view, their approaches and the challenges they face. This way, members of the team can relate to each other at a deeper level, with a consequent improvement in terms of efficiency.

Self-awareness: inclusive leaders have the capacity to understand themselves, therefore they are conscious of their potential prejudices and their own thinking processes. However, self-awareness must be accompanied by acceptance and respecting the beliefs of others. These abilities are closely tied to different competences, like team-work and interpersonal skills.

Inclusive leaders, therefore, can start with the differences between people to help them and achieve greater success and be more innovative and qualified, so that they are able to satisfy the different needs of their internal and external clients effectively. Based on the context and objectives of the organisation, you modulate the managerial skills needed to take on the role of an inclusive leader, so that you can identify an effective and adequate model and take on the challenge of inclusion.

A Master’s degree to guide the path of change 

To help develop an inclusive context that values the talents of people in organisations, we at Smartworking srl and OD&M HR Consulting have decided to set up a training course to help organisations, and in particular the professional figures who are responsible for driving this change, to undertake a process of organisational and therefore cultural change. The projects we have been involved in over the years as consultants have shown us clearly that we are facing a real revolution, not just of organisations but also a human one. To learn how to manage such an important change, we focused the programme on the practices and methods that have helped our clients to make the leap towards a new way of working and understanding the pact between worker and company, with the objective of valuing each individual’s talent. This path is, in fact, designed for those who are currently called upon to manage this kind of strategic change, providing them with the opportunity to develop the skills needed to face this type of challenge and refer to real case studies. This is a cultural change that affects the whole organisation and requires extreme care in managing the involvement and engagement of the management.

In the course we have designed, participants will have the opportunity to experiment with the practices we have perfected over the years to help organisations become aware of change through attention to the involvement and engagement of management and the construction of a “path of meaning”, combining business challenges with the need to enhance the talent of their people and the contribution that each person can make.  For more information, visit academy.smartworking.srl 

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