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Are we really “getting” Diversity and Inclusion?

Written by

Dave A. Barry


D&I Global Connection

by Dave A. Barry, Founding Director at Conexion.  Conexion is a bespoke organisational consultancy for SMEs and Start ups that connects company culture, strategy & people, to bring both the business and what it feels like to work there higher.  

Yesterday, I attended an insightful How to Build a Diverse & Inclusive Workplace’ webinar, hosted by Talivest’s own David Kenny and featuring Vessy.com founder Vessy Tasheva, Cpl HR Director Sharon Vize and FUTURENEERZ Managing Director Ciara Kelly.

From a start-up perspective, I had a major aha moment during the webinar, which subsequently inspired today’s blog…

Why Diversity and Inclusion Is Like Climate Change 

Per Vessy, Diversity & Inclusion should be approached like climate change – we must think globally and collaborate with external organizations. The identification of why D&I is so important for us is critical too. Is it aligned with our values? Is it critical for our strategy, customers and/or brand? Organizations like Zoona in South Africa for whom D&I influences how they enter new markets and empower customers, and Atlassian with D&I weaved into both their values and performance management from Day 1, are really getting it right.

D&I is like climate change
Image – Pixabay on Pexels

Stop Focussing Just on Gender

Sharon shared that CPL’s CEO and 42% of their board is female, but that Diversity & Inclusion has to be about much more than gender. Hearing re CPL’s six D&I pillars was particularly insightful: Multicultural, Disability, LGBT+ (@BeProudCPL), Generations, Working Parents & Carers, and Gender Balance. Was great to hear that CPL also captures diversity of thought and work styles, for example extroversion and introversion.

 

Strengths-Based Inclusion is Key

For Ciara, Diversity & Inclusion is very much about individuality, uniqueness, respect for strengths and for what we bring to the table. With D&I, leaders simply must do the right thing. However, with middle management now influencing 70% of employee engagement, there is more and more the need for D&I to be operationalized and made tangible at that level.

 

Gender and Diversity
Image – Magda Ehlers on Pexels

 

We Need Mixed Gender Panels To Be Diverse

For me, yesterday’s webinar validated that Talivest, Vessy, Sharon and Ciara really “get” Diversity & Inclusion, but is D&I globally connecting? Let’s examine a couple of data points. Highly respectful of the need for gender equality and pay parity, and that speaking event panels are too often all-male, though the theme of International Women’s Day 2019 was #BalanceForBetter, the majority of event panels on that day that I read about were all-female. Sincere kudos to Teagasc here in Ireland for inviting me to speak at their Moorepark event.

Then, let’s talk about longevity. Though a key theme of the Future of Work, I am continually hearing from much-experienced connections of mine that their recent candidate experiences have felt ageist. On its long and arduous continued journey, what can each of us do to keep D&I moving in the right direction?

Lightbulb moment
Image -Eric Anada on Pexels

Aha Moments Matter

So, to my own aha moment. Since October 2018, I have been developing Conexion.ie, continually simplifying what we mean by Connecting your company culture, strategy & people, to bring both the business and what it feels like to work there higher. However, I only realised yesterday that the words Diversity & Inclusion themselves had not yet explicitly appeared in any of Conexion’s website content! From both personal and professional perspectives, given my own diversity, how did this happen? For some of us, based on who we are and where we have worked along the way, is D&I so naturally ingrained that we assume its implied understanding when we talk about culture, strategy and people? Lesson learned for me that Conexion.ie needed to explicitly feature the words, for both our own and client ongoing consideration.

 

One small step for Conexion.ie. However, if we all ensure that Diversity & Inclusion continually features on our strategic agendas, and we are addressing potential disconnects across all of the categories, likely one large step for D&I global connection.

Watch the Webinar – How to Build a Diverse & Inclusive Workplace’ 

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