Our societies live a historic change: globalization with its challenges, diversification of markets and customers, demographic changes which modify the workforce composition place new challenges at all levels. Among these, corporate environments too: in light of these transitions, firms are called to reflect upon leadership styles, management and people management models, to efficiently tackle this rising but prolific complexity.
CrossThink-LAB believes in sharing knowledge, and that’s why the operative tools are available for free for firms and organization.
Generations, Parenthood, Smart Working: these are the three examples shown in the Compass to manage diversities on a daily basis.
Millenials entering the job market bring completely new and diverse styles, new skills, new professionalism into context often unable to value them. At the same time, the need to live parenthood gets stronger: not only women, but men as well now call for their parenthood to be recognized as a value and not as an obstacle to career progression.
Smart Working becomes an instrument to balance work and life, not only for new-parents but also for workers in other stages in life with different needs of balancing. Acknowledging and valuing diversity holds today a fundamental role in organizations: building efficient relations with people with their own characteristics is the key for businesses to keep pace with the occurring changes, protecting competitiveness and market presence. Identifying innovative solutions to value diversity becomes an opportunity to the business to widen its vision and get new positive drives as a response to complexity, where learning how to orientate is becoming fundamental.
Today we witness a change in the trust agreement between firms and employees: no more the usual work-paycheck bargain, but a different deal based on engagement. Particularly new generations ask for a partnership with personalized solutions to the work-life balance issue, which have to be addressed by the management with no inequalities, trying to guarantee equity as much as possible. Using new models and new tools becomes crucial in order to get the best from people, building their entrepreneurship and starting an inner process able to get better results.
For these reasons, the tool developed for small and medium sized businesses is called Bussola (Compass): it is aimed to help orientation in the diversity & change management world. In order to help this transition to a full diversity inclusion and enhancement, businesses need tools able to empower them with more knowledge and skills to manage the daily complexity that these new challenges bring in work environments, leaving behind a homogenized approach in favor of a valuing diversity approach with regards to people working in organizations. In the light of these new tools, also monitoring index cannot be traditional: KPIs must be advanced and able to track the level of actualization of the innovations introduced in the firm. Actions on organizational structure, people management methods and corporate culture shown in the Bussola are those which can help businesses to adopt a new vision and to understand changes, making inclusion & valuing diversity not just a matter of sensitiveness, but a strategic leverage for wellness and competitiveness.
Since its birth, CrossThink-LAB has shown a deep interest for the concept of gender in its various implementations in the business world. In December 2016 a first conference on Managing Diversity, namely “Diversity. Un approccio interdisciplinare”, was held at the Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna. A second meeting, namely “Un altro genere di leadership?”, focused on the leadership models, was held at the University of Florence in October 2017.
Both reflections on diversity and leadership made realize that diversity, in its various aspects, deserved a further detailed analysis, a more specific consideration also with regards to the operative tools for inclusion processes and strategy making.
A working group was made by Alessia Belli (CrossThink-LAB e Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna), Simona Cuomo (SDA Bocconi), Maura De Bon (Università di Trento), Marcella Chiesi (Studio D.U.O.), Nicoletta Dentico (Banca Etica e CrossThink-LAB) and Anna Loretoni (Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna di Pisa e CrossThink-LAB). Working for two years, it developed the tools here available for free for all those companies that, pushed by the Golfo-Mosca Law, modified their Boards in favor of a more gender balanced situation.
The Questionario di rilevazione del livello di inclusione delle diversità nei CDA (Questionnaire on diversity & inclusion level in Boards) mirrors the CrossThink-LAB approach to the issue: acknowledging, including and valuing diversity. It aims to be primarily an evaluation tool for all those companies which shown to be sensitive to inclusion and are interested in starting an ex post evaluation on their performances. The Questionnaire also represents a propulsive tool, able to transform the operative environment showing potential weaknesses and gaps in the inclusion & valuing diversity programs. Specific questions in the Questionnaire are devoted to verifying presence of men and women in the company, Boards working procedures, effectiveness, impact, strengths and weaknesses of the diversity policies implemented and leadership management models by the Board President.
Questions aim to provide a quantitative analytic framework on companies’ structure and activities, promoting a transition from a gender-blind to a gender-sensitive approach; it also aims to evaluate quality of activities devoted to inclusion and valuing diversity. At this purpose is dedicated the whole second part of the Questionnaire, particularly where referred to the definition of procedures for the leadership practice. This is to favor the development of consciousness among board members about different modus operandi, in order to turn to a change in favor of a horizontal leadership, democratic and inclusive, able to make people grow. To this end, it’s particularly helpful to focus on specific procedures for conducting meeting, timings, role assignments in the Board and sharing information necessary to make decisions and define strategies.
At the basis of the Questionnaire some assumption lay, that guided our work and reflection. One, in particular, we would like to share with who will use this tool, also to make its application easier.
The Diversity concept we adopted is very wide, unconcluded and further extendable, according to specific context. It goes beyond the gender duality (men/women). Diversity for us also means generation, sexual orientation, religion, culture. We got inspired by the most recent reflection on Intersectionality, conscious that other elements, apart from gender, contribute to defining individuals’ identities. The original combinations of these elements grow in their intersections, thus giving birth to new identities and new risks for discrimination.
We have been moved by the conviction that opening to gender, as the Golfo-Mosca Law invites to do, could anyway build a more welcoming environment for all diversities. Deconstructing and then dismantle the logic of a unique model is the first step towards a full inclusion of the whole spectrum of diversities, the ones of today and the future ones.