From Polarities to Possibilities

In a rapidly diversifying global economy, the imperative for inclusive hiring has never been more critical. Gone are the days when diversity was merely a box to tick; today, it is a business strategy integral to an organisation’s growth, innovation, and employee engagement.
Recent statistics underscore this shift:

A staggering 86% of job seekers consider in an organisation’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) when evaluating job opportunities.


The Imperative of Inclusive Hiring


The mandate for inclusive hiring practices extends beyond the realms of social responsibility into the core of business performance and competitive differentiation. It reflects in the statistics that tell a compelling story: a diverse workforce is not just an asset but a necessity for businesses seeking to innovate and grow.

According to research, companies with gender diversity on their executive teams are 21% more likely to outperform on profitability. Similarly, ethnic and cultural diversity leads to a 33% increase in performance markers.


of increase in performance markers led by ethnic and cultural diversity


These numbers are far from random; they stem from a multitude of advantages that diverse teams bring to the table. Diverse teams are better equipped to understand and serve a multifaceted customer base, drive innovative solutions, and enhance decision-making processes. Statistics point out that

inclusive teams are 6 times more likely to be innovative and agile, and 8 times more likely to achieve better business outcomes.

The Employee Value Proposition (EVP) is paramount in this landscape. Organisations that articulate a clear and compelling EVP that champions DEI are likely to see a significant increase in new hire commitment, according to Gartner’s findings. This is particularly poignant in attracting talent from underrepresented groups who are meticulously seeking employers whose actions reflect their commitment to inclusivity.

Introducing Cultural Polarities

The concept of Cultural Polarities presents a profound shift in understanding organisational culture. It moves away from a binary approach to culture, which often creates false dichotomies and limited scope for diversity. Instead, Cultural Polarities invite us to embrace the complexity and the dynamic tensions that exist within a workplace.

Barry Johnson, who introduced the concept, suggests that polarities are interdependent values that can seem conflicting but are actually complementary. For instance, an organisation might struggle between the polarities of tradition and innovation. Too much focus on tradition can stifle creativity, whereas an unchecked drive for innovation can lead to a disregard for foundational practices that ensure stability.

Applying this to inclusive hiring, the polarity might exist between standardisation of processes and personalised approaches. Standardisation ensures fairness and compliance, but without personalisation, it may overlook individual needs and unique backgrounds.



Inclusive hiring, therefore, becomes a dance between these polarities, ensuring processes are fair and equitable while also being adaptable to meet candidates where they are.



The power of this framework lies in its ability to foster continuous dialogue and reflection within an organisation. By recognising and balancing these cultural polarities, organisations can create an environment that is truly inclusive, one that not only draws diverse talent but also retains it by providing a culture that values and integrates their diverse contributions.

In the face of such clear evidence, the question is no longer whether organisations can afford to invest in inclusive hiring practices, but whether they can afford not to. Embracing the concept of Cultural Polarities provides a nuanced lens through which to view and refine these practices, ensuring they not only attract diverse talent but also foster an environment where that talent can thrive.




Practical steps

for Communicating the Imperative for Inclusive Hiring


Highlight Research and Data

Emphasise compelling research and data to stakeholders that demonstrate the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion in candidate job search.



Showcase Diverse Leadership

Demonstrate the value that diverse leadership and role models have in attracting female talent, and how transparency in job selection is prioritised.


Communicate a Strong EVP

Develop and communicate a strong Employee Value Proposition (EVP) that includes DEI elements to boost new hire commitment.



Inclusive Job Descriptions

Ensure that job descriptions and career opportunities explicitly mention the provision of reasonable adjustments, catering to candidates with disabilities and or diverse needs.


Use Inclusive Language and Imagery

Incorporate inclusive language and imagery in employer branding materials to foster a sense of belonging and appeal to a broader talent pool, as guided by resources like “Using an inclusive language tool to scale a more approachable employer brand”.


Create and Distribute Resources

Develop and distribute resources, such as checklists and guides, to help hiring managers and marketing teams develop inclusive employer branding, such as “Checklist: How to Create an Inclusive Employer Brand”.



Find out Symmetra’s range of solutions to help make your talent systems more inclusive: Inclusive Hiring and Talent Systems