Unlocking the power of social organisations: Here’s how to ensure a culture of diversity and inclusion at the workplace (Part two)

As champions of an inclusive and equitable society, social organisations should lead by example by fostering an enabling culture for their employees. In the second article of our two-part series, we introduce three actionable steps leaders can take to ensure a diverse and inclusive organisation!

Royalty-free vector illustration by Freepik.

#1 Increase board diversity

More needs to be done to increase diversity on the boards of non-profit organisations in Singapore. The top 100 institutions of a public character (IPCs) in Singapore only saw 27.4% of women on their boards in 2019. To add, the IPC’s women-on-board percentage has failed to see any improvement since 2018. Disheartening is also the realisation that four out of the top 100 IPC boards remain fully male.

To ensure a diverse and inclusive board that truly represents the employees and beneficiaries they serve, social organisations should perform regular and honest self-assessments on diversity and committee compositions. They should also regularly infuse “new blood” into their upper management, main committee and/or board to bring about fresh leadership, perspectives and skill-sets.

However, simply including more women or individuals of minority ethnicities, races and socio-economic status will not be effective if they are not granted real power in the work they do. Buse, Bernstein and Bilimoria (2014) suggested that board governance could be improved with more diverse membership insofar as the board behaves inclusively and there are policies in place to allow the diverse members to carry equal weight in decision-making.

#2 Remove barriers to hiring and volunteering

As agents of social change, social organisations ought to take the lead in championing inclusive and equitable workplaces and communities. In a society as diverse as Singapore’s, it is ever more important for social organisations to clearly indicate their stance toward equal opportunity and exhibit a readiness to accommodate volunteers of all backgrounds.

The creation of diversity and inclusion handbooks and policies that outline key strategies and achievable diversity goals form a great starting point for any social organisation. They help reaffirm an organisation’s commitment toward diversity and inclusion and power its progress towards forging and preserving a truly enabling organisational culture. In addition, social organisations should strive to root out discriminatory hiring policies and practices. For instance, volunteer engagement and HR managers should avoid using toxic stereotypes about one’s gender, race or class to guide their hiring decision or asking inappropriate questions relating to motherhood and mental health during interviews.

#3 Diversify recruitment strategies to increase skills variety

Providing a diverse range of volunteering opportunities — such as high- and low-time commitment positions and different skills-based roles — will enable social organisations to attract a more diverse body of volunteers. If you wish to diversify your volunteer recruitment methods or increase your number of skills-based volunteer opportunities, look no further. Build your capacity with the help of Skills for Good, a youth-led ground-up initiative that matches skilled volunteers to meaningful projects with social organisations at zero cost. Connect with us and gain access to a sizable pool of volunteers from various backgrounds and with a plethora of different skill-sets!

About Skills for Good

Skills for Good, a local volunteer-matching organisation, with a base of eclectic volunteers with skills ranging from marketing and communications to information technology to fundraising. We seek to empower volunteers through convenient and meaningful skills-based volunteering opportunities that help social organisations to achieve their mission.​ Volunteer with us today and wake up tomorrow with the warm and fuzzy sensation of ‘volunesia’.

Authors: Gerald Peh and Lim Jia Ying