Fostering a more inclusive culture
Diversity, equity and inclusion are invaluable and complementary assets for companies. But converting good intentions into concrete action is far from easy. How can we move forward while avoiding missteps?
The notion of inclusion echoes off many of the challenges currently facing companies. Numerous arguments advocate for all employees to be offered the same chances to thrive professionally, no matter their gender, age, ethnic or socio-cultural origins, family situation, potential handicaps, sexual orientation, etc. Although the main argument is one of ethics and personal dignity, others touch upon the actual performance of organizations. First, at a time when many sectors are experiencing workforce shortages, fully valorizing one’s talent pool seems a matter of common sense. But inclusive companies also get greater benefits from collective intelligence, are more aligned with the expectations of their customers (who are diverse themselves) and are less likely to be called out by activist-consumers. Lastly, it goes without saying that any indicator of well-being in the workplace will directly benefit from a climate of tolerance, responsibility and support toward all employees, each with their own identity. In 2019, the Deloitte consulting firm went so far as to quantify the competitive advantage provided by an inclusive culture: it would appear to enhance a company’s chance of being profitable by 60%, and its odds of having a good image among its clients and employees by that same amount.
If the question of “why” therefore now seems settled for a majority of companies, the issue of “how” remains. For instance, should certain categories of employees be targeted—at the risk of singling them out even further or of irking others? Or how to deploy global programs in very different cultural contexts? Evidently, gender equality is not dealt with in the same way in Stockholm and in Riyadh.
Putting the principles of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) into concrete practice can be delicate in a variety of regards. First, because it requires everyone to be capable of taking a step back from their own biases, independently of good will. Second, because it demands listening and diplomacy aptitudes from those in charge of these programs, all the more so in a multicultural context. And last, because involvement from leadership is indispensable—which implies questioning a model which we are often a product of.
In this synopsis:
– Encouraging socializing in the workplace for all team members
– Avoiding the pitfalls of DEI (diversity, equity, inclusion) initiatives
– Is your talent management inclusive enough?
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