At the beginning of 2022, LinkedIn released the job roles growing in demand. This revealed the top 25 fastest-growing job titles over the last five years. A unique and necessary position that stood out to us was of a Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) manager. 

LinkedIn also found the following statistics on the job role:

  • The current gender distribution of this position lays at 70.2% female, and 29.8% male
  • There is a 12.7% remote job availability in this position 
  • The role requires a median of nine years of prior experience

Indeed.com specified that this job role requires the following qualifications:

  • Degree: ideally in human resources or business admin. Industrial psychology and sociology would be beneficial too – ideally to have knowledge on conflict management
  • Work experience: in HR, labour relations, diversity-focused non-profit organisations
  • Professional certification: attained from training or in-work courses

What is the role, and what are the responsibilities of a D&I manager?

According to the LinkedIn article, a D&I manager’s role encompasses: ‘to lead teams that support company initiatives related to increasing DE&I, and a sense of belonging in an organisation’. In essence, this manager increases approaches to support D&I in the workplace, for all employees to feel connected.

These managers will ensure that all employees on all levels of the organisation are treated equally. They will operate throughout the organisation, enforcing policies and training staff to ensure this is the case. They will reinforce equality for all members of the company, regardless of their race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, language, disability, age, religion, socioeconomic status, or any other background.To do this, a D&I manager has a plethora of responsibilities dedicated to this field. This includes:

The training of hiring managers and HR staff to select, manage, evaluate and retain diverse employees

Being specialised in the field on D&I, these managers are therefore more equipped to train others on how to approach this subject in the workplace. By training hiring managers and HR staff, this ensures that not only are diverse employees sought out by the company to give them a chance, but also protected. 

Against the backdrop of diverse and cultural differences, diverse employees are more susceptible to suffering in the workplace. Training those who hire employees from these differing backgrounds means they are well equipped long before even facing diverse employees. In this way, D&I managers are building on the foundations of a business to ensure safe D&I practices.

Aiding the recruitment process

As aforementioned, D&I managers are equipping the foundations of a business to recruit diverse staff safely and appropriately. They will ensure a diverse range of applicants and make sure they are equal and feel welcome. These managers will ensure there are no hierarchies or preferential standpoints based on human differences. They will hold recruitment staff accountable if they are found to be discriminating against diverse applicants.

Revising job descriptions 

To attract diverse members of society to your job and make sure they know they are welcome in your company, the job description must reflect this. Again, as part of the recruitment process, D&I managers work on this. They will revise and update job descriptions to steer away from discriminatory and non-inclusive language. This will showcase a welcoming environment for all without needing to explicitly say so. 

Designing company policies to reinforce D&I

This is an important aspect throughout all stages of the organisation; from recruitment and onboarding, throughout an employee’s entire life cycle with a company. A D&I manager will enforce policies to protect those diverse employees and ensure they are included and heard. 

These policies may include encouraging and enforcing:

  • The embracing of employee differences
  • Respectful communication and cooperation 
  • Teamwork and representation of all groups and employee background perspectives
  • Shared responsibility of treating everyone with respect and equal opportunity  

What skills are required to get hired as a D&I manager?

Working as a D&I manager, as you can imagine, is a huge responsibility. It requires interpersonal skills aligned with helping others and ensuring their safety and inclusion. It is a role that must require passion and dedication to assistance. 

In order to enact these importance inclusive policies, a D&I manager requires the following skills (amongst many!):

  • Good listening and understanding
  • Excellent communication
  • Empathy
  • Familiar with HR standards and practices 
  • Conflict mediation and resolution 
  • Institutional psychology 
  • Emotional resilience 
  • Strong presentational skills 
  • Compassion 

Some of these skills, you may notice, are standard of an employee anyway. However, listening, for example, is a key contender for this role. D&I managers have a responsibility (much more so than other roles) to listen intently to what diverse employees require. A lot of these skills may be practiced much more intensely and a lot more often within the D&I manager role. 

Why do we need this job role?

It goes without saying that enforcing the fair representation and equality of all employees should be at the core of all organisations. This is a huge factor into why D&I managers are required. But it is not the only reason why this role is needed. Here are some others:

Introduces new perspectives and understandings into the workplace

Allowing a wider pool of perspectives in the organisation through differing employee backgrounds will lead to various advantages. These viewpoints of employee lifestyles can be integrated into strategy planning and problem solving. You will be able to venture all possible working opportunities with all angles and employees at front of mind. 

Additionally, bringing awareness of these perspectives will lead to celebrating the differences. Especially with a D&I manager present, these differences will be assured to be celebrated, too – and not discriminated against. In turn, this will create a sense of belonging for all members of the team. 

From a business standpoint, diverse perspectives will also create a wider talent and ability pool. Due to diverse backgrounds, those from minority groups may provide an alternate way of thinking and solving issues. These wider perspectives are crucial for changing work processes, behaviours, and approaches. Furthermore, you will be left with a better and wider understanding of your customers in turn. You will have better knowledge in how to approach them and converse with them sensitively.

Protecting minority groups

By utilising a passionate D&I manager, those employed from minority groups will have a safety net within the organisation. Knowing that they have an authoritative figure within the company protecting their needs and ensuring their safety is crucial for employee happiness. They will always have someone to talk to should they need support. In this, diverse employees will also feel safe from any form of harassment, as D&I managers will tackle this too. 

With a strong sense of inclusion and safety on all fronts, this will overall improve employee reattainment. 

Closing thoughts: what it means to work in the field 

Amongst the business advantages of a D&I manager influencing working processes and strategies, there is a significantly more important standpoint of that human touch. D&I managers take on a very rewarding role. Knowing they are pushing forward improvements in an organisation’s D&I strategy, for the good of their employees, is a heartfelt position to be in. 

This role would mean you are learning every day. You would be learning so much about different walks of life and different life stories. Above all though, these managers are a key figure for vulnerable individuals to talk to and confide in. They are a huge help to many people. These roles are of rising significance, and bring in that sensitive human touch back to the workforce.

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