On 21st March 2023, I submitted my first module assessment, Global Human Resource & Diversity Management, for the MSc Human Resource Management at the University of London. The coursework was structured as multiple-choice questions about a fictional organisation called Live2Give. Below is the third of three answers I wrote.
On 8th June 2023, my assessment was graded "73 (Distinction)".
Global Human Resource & Diversity Management
Q3. “Create an evidence-based action plan of HRM practices to address your top priority areas.”
Live2Give is a UK-headquartered international non-governmental organisation (INGO) working to manifest its values of social justice, transparent accountability, and bravery. However, issues have surfaced in areas related to diversity and inclusion (D&I) that undermine the organisation’s value proposition and raise questions about the prevailing Human Resource Management (HRM) practices (Martin, 2013). These concerns include sexual harassment policies, recruitment and hiring practices, ethnic diversity in leadership, and equal pay. To address these key priorities, Live2Give must adopt a proactive D&I strategy incorporating evidence-based practices (Bohnet, 2016).
Live2Give has encountered issues with sexual harassment and complaint procedures. Several interns and probationers have reported incidents of sexual harassment against co-workers through formal channels. However, these complaints were not adequately addressed, resulting in the promotion of accused co-workers to other locations internationally (Gumbrell-McCormick, 2008). This has led to a perception that Live2Give does not investigate sexual harassment complaints earnestly (Latham, 2020).
To update the sexual harassment policy, Live2Give should consider formulating a clear policy and procedure for handling complaints, training managers and workers on identifying and addressing sexual harassment, and ensuring all complaints are investigated thoroughly and with urgency (Syed, 2019). These strategies can help ensure appropriate complaint turnaround and support a safe, respectful, and inclusive workplace culture for every worker (Stephens et al., 2021).
Initial implementation would require budget allocation to assess the prevailing policy and identify any necessary investigative tools (Martin, 2013). Worker time spent on training sessions, workshops, or meetings related to this area should be countenanced, as this will ensure the policy and procedure are communicated to every worker (Latham, 2020). This should coincide with budgeting a reporting system, such as online platforms or dedicated phone numbers, to triage complaints.
Latterly, there are several risks affecting feasibility: (1) resistance to adopting a new policy may hinder its effectiveness, (2) if the reporting system is inefficient, it could discourage incident reporting, and (3) implementing a new policy and training programme might strain financial resources, disrupt operations, and temporarily affect productivity (Coleman, 2022).
Recruitment and Hiring Practices
The current recruitment and hiring practices are inadequate and potentially discriminatory (Bohnet, 2016). Live2Give relies heavily on referrals and personal contacts for senior appointments, which could result in biased candidate selection criteria (Stephens et al., 2021). Additionally, its use of exclusive members’ clubs for second interviews could further exclude qualified candidates not affiliated with the club.
To improve recruitment and hiring practices, Live2Give should implement skills-based assessments, expand recruitment sources to diverse communities, and train recruitment managers on inclusive hiring practices (Bohnet, 2016). These strategies can help ensure the organisation’s hiring decisions are based on candidate skills, qualifications, and experience rather than personal connections or cultural biases (Kauff et al., 2020).
In terms of costing, assessing recruitment and hiring practices may require contracting external consultants and the internal allocation of resources (Baum et al., 2016). Establishing recruitment targets and manager training could lead to developmental costs (Parrotta et al., 2016). Expanding recruitment sources to include diverse communities could involve apportioning funds for targeted advertising and outreach partnerships. Skills-based assessments might necessitate the development of assessment tools and incur associated training costs (Baum et al., 2016). Lastly, regular monitoring and evaluation will require dedicated personnel and time from existing workers to track D&I progression (Stephens et al., 2021).
However, there are risks affecting feasibility: (1) financial pressure owing to pan-organisational unconscious bias training, external trainer fees, and advertising, (2) substantial, sustained effort and possibly more unaccounted resources, and (3) temporary impact on productivity as workers attend training sessions (Coleman, 2022).
Ethnic Diversity in Leadership
Currently, there is a lack of diversity in leadership positions at Live2Give, with its executive and trustee boards consisting primarily of white men, except for the sole female HR Director. This lack of representation can create a perception of exclusion and reinforce systemic inequalities, limiting innovation and Live2Give’s ability to reflect the diversity of the communities it serves (Schelling, 1971).
To increase ethnic diversity in leadership, Live2Give should implement evidence-based recommendations such as setting diversity targets, conducting unconscious bias training and actively seeking diverse candidates for leadership positions (Velasco & Sansone, 2019). These strategies will expand the candidate pool for potential leaders and ensure that all workers have equal opportunities to advance, regardless of background or identity (Kauff et al., 2020).
Some of the risks affecting feasibility: (1) tokenism, if the focus on meeting diversity targets lacks genuine integration and valuing of diverse perspectives, (2) unforeseen consequences such as an increase in organisational conflict; and (3) some D&I initiatives do not result in positive outcomes, therefore periodic adjustments based on data-driven insights would be needed (Baum et al., 2016).
Equal Treatment, Opportunity, and Pay Equity
The case study suggests that expatriated workers receive higher rates of pay and benefits than their nationally localised counterparts performing the same role. While unrelated to D&I, equalising pay between these two groups can help alleviate discrimination and inequality among local workers, who may feel undervalued and excluded from the benefits of expatriated workers (Carr et al., 2010).
To enhance the promotion of equality and opportunity, Live2Give should consider the following recommendations: (1) Conduct a thorough review of the current pay policies and benefits for expatriated and local workers, considering the impact on the D&I HR strategy (O’Reilly, 1996); (2) Develop a clear and transparent pay structure that is fair and equitable for all workers, regardless of nationality or location (Shaffer et al., 2013); (3) Provide equal benefits to all workers, including bursaries for children and subsidised non-luxury apartments (Shaffer et al., 2013); (4) Manage regular performance assessment and salary reviews for all workers to ensure pay is based on merit and experience rather than nationality or location (Sulik et al., 2021); (5) Maintain compliance with local laws applicable to equal pay and work towards the eventual creation of a consistent pay arrangement across all countries Live2Give operates in (Carr et al., 2010).
To implement the previously written recommendations, Live2Give could consider five stages: (1) Establish a D&I committee responsible for developing revised pay policies and benefits through dedicated personnel, time, and applicable resources (Parrotta et al., 2016); (2) Conduct a systematic review of the existing pay policies and benefits, and acquire feedback from expatriated and local workers, external consultation may as be benefit (Shaffer et al., 2013); (3) Transition to a clear and transparent pay structure that is fair and equitable for all workers in consultation with legal, HR experts, and internal resource allocation (Kauff et al., 2020); (4) Conduct regular performance assessments and salary reviews for workers to ensure pay is based on merit and experience, rather than nationality or location, through investment in manager training and allotting time to evaluate (O’Reilly, 1996); (5) Monitor compliance with local laws applicable to pay equality and work to adopt a consistent pay arrangement across all countries, this may require external expertise to remain compliant across every jurisdiction (Armstrong & Taylor, 2023).
Important feasibility risks if the current system were overhauled: (1) equalising pay and benefits will incur increased organisational costs and financial implications, and (2) implementing a new pay and benefits package is complex. If poorly executed, it could lead to confusion, dissatisfaction, and potential legal challenges if workers feel their rights have been violated (Coleman, 2022).
In conclusion, the feasibility aspects of Live2Give implementing HRM practices for an evidence-based D&I plan have been reviewed. Although associated costs for each initiative exist, the long-term net benefits of a diverse and inclusive workplace, particularly increased worker satisfaction, improved performance, and reputational gains will likely outweigh initial investments. Doing so will equip Live2Give to build a strong foundation for continued success, growth, and core value promotion internally and externally (McClintock, 1999).
- Armstrong, M. & Taylor, S. (2023). Armstrong’s Handbook of Human Resource Management Practice (16th edn.). Kogan Page.
- Baum, M., Sterzing, A. & Alaca, N. (2016). Reactions towards diversity recruitment and the moderating influence of the recruiting firms’ country-of-origin. Journal of Business Research, 69(10), 4140-4149. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbusres.2016.03.037
- Bohnet, I. (2016). What Works: Gender Equality by Design. Harvard University Press.
- Coleman, L. (2022). Global inclusion, diversity, belonging, equity, and access (GIBEA): The architecture of a new different. Academicus International Scientific Journal, 13(25), 91-103. https://academicus.edu.al/nr25/Academicus-MMXXII-25-091-103.html
- Carr, S. C., McWha I., MacLachlan, M. & Furnham, A. (2010). International-local remuneration differences across six countries: Do they undermine poverty reduction work? International Journal of Psychology, 45(5), 321-340. https://doi.org/10.1080/00207594.2010.491990
- Equality Act 2010, c. 15, UK Government. https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2010/15/contents
- Kauff, M., Schmid, K. & Christ, O. (2020). When good for business is not good enough: Effects of pro-diversity beliefs and instrumentality of diversity on intergroup attitudes. PLoS ONE, 15(6), 1-26. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0234179
- Latham, J. A. (2020). Looking beyond training as a solution to workplace sexual harassment discrimination. Industrial and Organisational Psychology, 13(2), 168-173. https://doi.org.10.1017/iop.2020.24
- Martin, J. (2013). Seven imperatives for diverse and inclusive organisations. Strategic HR Review, 12(3), 151-152. https://www.proquest.com/docview/1630051904?pq-origsite=summon&accountid=14565
- McClintock, B. (1999). The multinational corporation and social justice: Experiments in supranational governance. Review of Social Economy, 57(4), 507-522. https://www.jstor.org/stable/29770036
- O’Reilly, M. L. (1996). Expatriate pay: The state of the art. Compensation & Benefits Management, 12(1), 54-59.
- Parrotta, P., Pozzoli, D. & Sala, D. (2016). Ethnic diversity and firms’ export behaviour. European Economic Review, 89, 248-263. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.euroecorev.2016.09.001
- Shaffer, M., Singh, B. & Chen, Y-P. (2013). Expatriate pay satisfaction: the role of organisational inequalities, assignment stressors and perceived assignment value. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 24(15), 2968-2984. https://doi.org/10.1080/09585192.2013.763838
- Stephens, N. M., Rivera, L. A. & Townsend, S. S. (2021). The cycle of workplace bias. Research in Organisational Behaviour, 41, 1-25. https://doi.org/01.1016/j.riob.2021.100137
- Sulik, J., Bahrami, B. & Deory, O. (2021). The Diversity Gap: When Diversity Matters for Knowledge. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 17(3), 757-767. https://doi.org/10.1177/17456916211006070
- Syed, M. (2019). Rebel Ideas: The Power of Diverse Thinking. John Murray Publishers.
- Velasco, M., M.A. & Sansone, C., PhD. (2019). Resistance to diversity and inclusion change initiatives: Strategies for transformational leaders. Organisation Development Journal, 37(3), 9-20. https://www.proquest.com/scholarly-journals/resistance-diversity-inclusion-change-initiatives/docview/2292029527/se-2