How an Unlimited approach to diversity and inclusion promotes fairness in our executive search processes and practices

13 Jan 2020

How an Unlimited approach to diversity and inclusion promotes fairness in our executive search processes and practices

Across the Odgers Berndtson global network, the shared values of inclusion and diversity unite us in a powerful voice, calling for a more balanced selection in executive appointments.

That voice goes under the banner of ‘Unlimited’ and its actions are co-ordinated and driven by a Global Unlimited Council made up of 70 colleagues from across the world. 

Locally, to be authentically engaged with the true spirit of diversity and inclusion, we apply ‘unlimited’ fundamentals to everything we do, championing inclusive behaviours and actively engaging with the broadest possible range of candidates.   

We also partner with external organisations and initiatives who influence this agenda and who work to remove discrimination and build trust and integrity.  

It’s an approach we apply to our own workplace too.

When our colleagues feel supported in carrying out their roles freely and creatively, co-workers, clients and candidates benefit from their full talent and potential. 

This can sometimes challenge us to look at our own behaviour and unconscious biases and to seek an objective view of our impact on others. But broader thinking naturally leads to a greater openness to fresh perspectives. 

Inclusive search process 

Our six-step search and appointment process has inclusion as its cornerstones.  

From our first meeting with clients, we explore what unconscious bias, assumptions or barriers may need to be addressed before a candidate brief is compiled.

Combined with our immersion in a business, we believe that a broad sourcing strategy will lead to the ideal match.   

Along with desk and database research, we leverage knowledge from our own diverse workforce and network extensively in the marketplace. We approach candidates purely on merit and suitability for the job, free, as far as possible, of partiality, assumptions or biased judgement.   

Broad, inclusive search, balanced reporting 

Using the appropriate assessment tools and methodology is also essential to eliminate any bias. And the recruitment process must understand and reflect each client’s diversity targets and goals. 

When creating customised longlists, we adopt balanced reporting on individual candidate requirements and fulfilments.

Open-minded decision-making is always a priority because it can often help discover the talent hidden beneath the obvious.  

Properly planned onboarding continues this supportive approach and helps make each appointment a smooth transition for both client and candidate.

Once the job is done, we always invite honest feedback on our process.   

Alignment with executive search code   

As signatories to the Executive & Board Resourcing Code created by Ibec and the 30% Club, we follow their code of conduct for executive search. We align our policies and processes to those principles, confident that this supports organisations to achieve better performance through more balanced selection. Updated during 2019, the code has grown to reflect a widening awareness of the benefits of a broad and diverse talent pool of leaders and managers in every organisation.   

Results reflect our commitment to diverse executive teams 

We are pleased to report that in excess of 35% of our placements to executive positions and boards during 2019 were female, helping to bridge the gender diversity gap in senior management and leadership in Ireland. This is the result of an ongoing commitment to creating employment cultures that value diversity and enjoy all its advantages.  

Emerging female leaders are stepping up 

Understanding the proven benefits of accelerating gender diversity in senior positions, our Emerging Female Leaders initiative, begun in 2018, has been positively received by successful and ambitious executives from a broad range of sectors and functions.  

This Community of Practice, where senior leaders help to mentor leaders-in-waiting, supports professional development and is much more than a cheerleader for gender balance at the leadership level. 

It’s about empowering participants to fully explore the personal drive and potential and take ownership of their career trajectory.

Our 2020 programme will expand to several workshops during the year, broadening its focus and objectives.

We know that rich, undiscovered talent is just waiting to make its mark on the world. 

By continuing and strengthening Odgers Berndtson’s Unlimited culture, we look forward to helping to change the workplace profile and seeing the innovation we know will result from a rising tide of fairness in 2020.