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finance       business transformation       interim       financial services

Do Targets hinder or help in improving equality and diversity?

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Targets can be invaluable in providing an overall sense of direction and as long as they are felt to be achievable, can contribute to making a difference.  The down side is that they can become the end in themselves rather than being recognised as a proxy measure of diversity success. The private sector measure success by profit whereas the public sector tends to measure success by metrics such as increased life chances, quality of life and economic prosperity.  The private sector, focus less on diversity figures and more on ‘what does this diverse workforce give us?’ In business you need diverse thinkers to create new services.  BT’s best selling phone has big buttons and was designed by someone with sight problems.  Waters believes that ‘you need to bring different people into organisations to tell you how to do things differently ... and you have to recognise that sometimes they tell you thing you don’t want to hear! Without this difference you get stagnation.’  Research in the US has indicated that people who were appointed against a target were seen as less able than those appointed purely on merit.  Pam Parkes Director of HR and OD at Croydon Council highlighted that the corollary of this is that without a target you have nothing to aim at!

Martin Tiplady Director of Human Resources Metropolitan Police Service explained that whilst he had been set demanding and in some ways unachievable targets for a representative police service, his main target was to deliver a police force that looks like London to serve London.  This has been a huge challenge and over the last ten years the service had increased its BME Officer numbers to 10% of officers, which in turn has lead to a significant increase in levels of public confidence in the police.