When it comes to diversity, where do you start and stop?
Oisín O’Gogáin, head of HR, Aon Ireland. Image: Connor McKenna

When it comes to diversity, where do you start and stop?

30 Jan 2018940 Views

Diversity is one of the most important topics in the workplace right now, but how can companies ensure they’re not simply paying lip service?

A recent report from LinkedIn Talent Solutions put the spotlight on diversity as “the biggest game-changer” for hiring processes in 2018.

With this in mind, it’s no wonder that diversity and inclusion are at the forefront of most companies’ agendas. But what exactly are those companies doing other than being aware that they should be thinking about diversity?

“Lots of organisations, I think, pay lip service to the terms diversity and inclusion,” said Oisín O’Gogáin, head of HR at Aon Ireland. “I think we have made substantial investments – both monetary and time – and efforts outside of our own organisation.”

O’Gogáin said that diversity, in its purest sense, is simply the mix of people that you have in an organisation.

“What we really try to concentrate on is, actually, inclusion, which is: ‘How do you make that broad range of people feel welcome in the workplace?’”

Having a varied mix of people will give way to a more innovative and entrepreneurial organisation. That’s why companies such as Aon have a clear ambition around diversity and inclusion.

“We talk quite fluidly about diversity and inclusion in the workplace to the extent that all hiring managers and people managers must go through a course called ‘The Power of Inclusion’,” said O’Gogáin. “It’s really an education session, which is based around the concept of unconscious-bias training.”

Women leaders

O’Gogáin said that Aon is exercising the duty it believes it has to showcase how diversity can really benefit organisations. This includes everything from age, race and sexual orientation to gender.

“We recognised over the course of the last two or three years that we were not seeing female leaders climb the ranks, which is a phenomenon that is not unique to Aon.”

O’Gogáin said Aon’s continued sponsorship of the Irish Women’s Rugby Team gives it the opportunity to talk about the value of a diverse leadership team.

While all corporations still have a long way to go in terms of diversity and inclusion, attitudes are certainly changing.

O’Gogáin said the boundaries of diversity are so broad that it’s hard to know where to start and stop. “We’re really happy to just continue to chase it.”

Jenny Darmody
By Jenny Darmody

Jenny is the Careers Editor at Siliconrepublic.com, although she prefers to be known as Careers Overlord. When she’s not writing about the science and tech industry, she’s writing short stories and attempting novels. She continuously buys more books than she can read in a lifetime and pretty stationery is her kryptonite. She also believes seagulls to be the root of all evil and her baking is the stuff of legends.

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