Introduction | About | Structure
Problem and Opportunity Analysis
This phase is central to the diversity management project, because it establishes current practice and the problems and opportunities in your organisation for diversity management. The output of this phase provides the basic information on which decisions about the diversity management project will be based.
The activities of this phase can take quite a long time. To try and overcome the problems associated with activities which are spread over long periods (loss of interest etc.), two levels of problems and opportunities assessment are proposed:
- First Level Analysis - This builds on the issues identified in the Getting Started phase and redefines them using already existing data, for example of HR policy, labour turnover, HR complaints and staff surveys. This data combined with interviews with key personnel will provide a high-level overview of whether diversity related problems exist and also an initial description of the opportunities which exist within the company.
- Second Level Analysis - The findings from the first level analysis provide a focus for the second level analysis, which aims to examine in detail the problems and opportunities for diversity management. This is done by using a set of tools which are specifically focused on diversity management. An advantage of using two levels of analysis is that it is possible to undertake some diversity management actions after the first level of analysis.
The success of this phase depends on a range of factors. Most important of these is the participation of employees in the data gathering exercise. To ensure employees participate, they need to be well briefed about the project and its activities, why it is being undertaken and how they stand to benefit from it. Open communication ensures that potential difficulties and conflicts are avoided. As well as communication, it is essential that issues like confidentiality, anonymity and security are explicitly assured.
Finally, the opportunities' identification activities are likely to generate quite a lot of expectations within the workforce. People will be aware that something related to diversity is taking place. Rumours may be spread in relation to what the company's agenda project might be. For this reason it is essential that information, feedback, communication actions and transparency of activities are considered.
- To gather information on diversity management problems and opportunities using existing data and/or survey data
- To analyse information on diversity management problems and opportunities
- To obtain a comprehensive profile of diversity in the workplace
- To report to the project team and other stakeholders in a clear and simple manner
Map and Overview
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What Opportunities to be Done and How to Do It
Six main activities take place during the Identifying Opportunities and Problems phase. These are:
1. First Level Analysis - Gathering Data
2. First Level Analysis - Analysing Data
3. Second Level Analysis - Gathering Data
4. Second Level Analysis - Analysing Data
5. Generating a Report
It is not essential that the two levels of analysis run sequentially and the project team must decide whether these activities can overlap.
Barriers, Pitfalls and Solutions
Much of the data to be collected may already exist in the organisation and the rest may be obtained through a combination of interviews with key personnel, employees surveys, client surveys and other methods. It can be assumed that employees and clients will provide sensitive information, and that they are going to develop expectations about the programme. That is why confidentiality and feedback need to be guaranteed. To ensure participation in identifying opportunities and problems, employees must have the confidence that their anonymity will be respected and protected.
Involvement with the Programme
Promoting high levels of participation guarantees key elements for a successful project, such as a high response rate to surveys, or acquiring more detailed and accurate information. High levels of participation allow employees to identify with the problem definition, as well as the opportunity to define their own diversity management goals.
Selection of Data
Experience shows that it is not useful to collect all existing information in the company which may be related to diversity management. Large volumes of data can result in a loss of perspective on the problem and result in a waste of time. Those responsible within the project team should be able to select the most relevant data necessary to elaborate the diversity management diagnosis of the organisation. Concentrate on the most reliable and accurate information available.
Good communication is important in all phases and especially so during this phase as it can help to ensure and maintain high levels of involvement, can offer participants' continuous feedback on the programme and also allow them the possibility to give new suggestions and opinions about the programme. During this phase, it is common for high expectations and a level of distrust to appear, these should be addressed to assure transparency in the development of activities and aims of the programme by providing information through existing communication channels within the organisation and, when needed, new channels should be created. Communication contributes to the creation of momentum and the necessity for change which is essential when collecting sensitive information.
Complexity and Expertise
In order to successfully achieve the aims of this phase, it is not necessary to develop a complex diagnosis of the problems and opportunities, but to review the organisation in terms of critical points for DM and to select the most relevant data. Complexity and the use of expertise can sometimes be a barrier to success.
Flexibility is one of the main principles which should be followed in this phase and both the tools and activities of this phase will benefit from a flexible approach. Such an approach will help to match the tools and activities to the organisational reality and to the needs of the project team, the employees and clients.