16 Mar Why Digital Maturity Will Elevate Your Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Strategy
Organisations with Digital Maturity are better equipped to create a more level playing field for their people, regardless of their identity. This creates equity and diversity within the workforce which benefits the organisation through enhanced creativity, problem solving and innovation.
The subject of diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) shouldn’t be seen as a tick-box exercise. In this article, we examine this topic through the lens of Digital Maturity. We argue that DE&I and Digital Maturity are business-critical, interlinking issues that warrant leaders’ attention all year around. Our CEO Glenn Griggs unpacks the connection between these two concepts.
Digital Maturity can be a nebulous concept, one often confused with, or reduced to, technology. But the right equipment, while relevant and useful, isn’t the only factor to consider when assessing and defining your organisation’s Digital Maturity.
What does Digital Maturity mean to Ricoh?
Alongside technological transformation, Digital Maturity also encompasses organisational and cultural transformation. Significant and powerful change must happen at a structural level, rather than a granular one.
Learn more about my thoughts on Digital Maturity here.
Why are we talking about Digital Maturity in relation to DE&I?
The Digital Maturity of an organisation is related to the ‘digital maturity’ of its people. Unless companies have the right mix of people and skillsets to deploy and embrace it, investing in the latest technologies will not deliver success.
Organisations that are Digitally Mature tend to have the right tools and processes in place to create fairer and more equitable workplaces. This allows them to attract and nurture a more diverse talent pool which in turn feeds into the overall Digital Maturity of the organisation. It’s a self-perpetuating process that drives sustainable business growth.
To further Digital Maturity and DE&I, here are some key areas business leaders can focus on:
Prospective employees with incomplete education history or patchy industry experience have historically been at a disadvantage. This recruitment pool often has strong potential candidates that have been prevented from gathering experience. Often through no fault of their own, such as care giving or health difficulties. It’s vital to note that these issues disproportionately affect women, parents, people with disabilities and neurodivergences, BIPOC, 50+, and people who are LGBTQ+.
Digitally Mature organisations understand that recruitment is nuanced. They are more likely to consider the full picture of a potential employee’s skills, experience, and values, instead of declining to progress their application due to one or two data points or perceived flaws. With this in mind, Ricoh was one of the first signatories of the Opening Doors Campaign by Business in the Community, aiming to open doors to those who face barriers to work, and tap into more diverse talent pools.
A Digitally Mature business that considers its people, workspace, processes and technology in a holistic manner is an attractive employer to a wide range of high-quality candidates. Combined with the right mindset towards DE&I, it has an indisputable advantage over its competitors in a candidate-driven job market.
Retaining your best people
Simply identifying strong candidates isn’t everything. Even if inclusive recruitment is happening, building a diverse talent pool is only half the journey. The strongest employees don’t stay in environments that lack the processes and resources to support their growth and best ways of working.
We recently conducted research on the disconnect between employer and employee perceptions and found 61% of employees believed they would bring more value to the company if they were supplied with the right tools. Clearly, this shows many businesses aren’t meeting the needs of their employees when investing in digital transformation and technology, rendering any changes ineffective.
We also found that 28% of employees cite working conditions and employee experience as a reason to stay with their current employer. Despite this, many companies waste time and resources on unfit processes. The solution here is simple: embracing automation and implementing people-centric workspace strategies can boost Digital Maturity and future proof your business.
To understand your organisation’s current Digital Maturity and receive tailored recommendations, access our online indicator here.
Closing the digital skills gap
According to Forbes, studies indicate that $285 billion of Britain’s economic growth is at risk between now and 2026 if the country doesn’t take steps to close the digital skills gap.
Similarly, AND Digital revealed that 81% of managing directors admit that a lack of digital skills negatively impacts their organisation.”
If organisations want comprehensive experience and knowledge at every level, but aren’t willing to provide it, they’re not going to find and retain the best people. With the digital workplace evolving so quickly, even ‘the perfect candidate’ will need to continue updating their skills. So instead of holding out for the ’perfect candidate’, why not look at your existing workforce and develop talent within your company?
Digitally Mature organisations are better equipped to empower their employees to fill knowledge and experience gaps. This gives them greater upward mobility and manoeuvrability in their careers. Reskilling and upskilling can provide the existing workforce with meaningful opportunities to develop and gain new skills. And this doesn’t just benefit the individual — it makes business sense. The average cost of replacing an employee stands at €10,600 across Europe. It’s evident this should be on the business leaders’ agenda.
Our Solutions Consultant Dennis Kayan shares his learning and development journey at Ricoh:
‘After 17 years as a Field Service Engineer, re-skilling isn’t something I thought I would be able to do. But it’s worked out really well. I now work as part of a small team of ITS pre-sales and post-sales consultants at Ricoh UK. This involves designing and implementing the solutions that we sell to our customers. We handle everything from network infrastructure and security to cloud solutions. We also help organisations move from on-premises environments. I think there is opportunity to keep growing and developing at Ricoh. Especially with some of the digital roles we’ve got. Over the last few years, the learning and development available has really stepped up. And this business is ahead of the curve.’
Looking to the future
Companies that don’t prioritise these issues face several risks. You could encounter an inability to recruit and retain the right people in the short term. Or productivity and growth issues in the long term.
I know it can be daunting to know what the best approach is when it comes to improving your organisation’s Digital Maturity and DE&I. The most important thing to remember is that they are not endpoints, but journeys. While organisations should constantly strive towards them, the process never ends. The first step in making positive and lasting change is to embrace the right mindset. Digitally Mature organisations make this a business priority.
You can learn more about the steps Ricoh is taking to create a fully inclusive workplace here.
To understand your organisation’s current Digital Maturity and identify opportunities and digital solutions to help you, access our online indicator.