What Mona and Farrah said about the power of D&I

Mona: What, from your perspective, does successful D&I look like in an organisation?

Farrah: So successful D&I is really where our culture is inclusive. There are no strangers, no outsiders and everyone plays their part. We're all welcome and we all belong. And that's a really essential part of my thinking around diversity and inclusion.

D&I isn’t an add on or an afterthought. It's essential to the cultural health of our organisation. It's about integrating into every aspect of our being as an organisation as well as our mindset and our behaviours. And when those three things align, you get success in diversity & inclusion.

What can you take away from this?

  1. Diversity & inclusion should never be an afterthought 
  2. Make sure every voice is heard within the businesses
  3. Build your culture to be one which is welcoming of all

How can you achieve this?

  1. Put D&I on the agenda for meetings when the outcome will directly impact your people
  2. Survey employees regularly to find out how they’re feeling about D&I at your company
  3. What does your employer brand say about you? Audit your online presence to see how diverse your image is to potential candidates
  4. What’s your why? It’s not enough to just care about D&I, you also need take see the business case for diversity & inclusion
  5. Don’t expect quick results or feel pressured to sign D&I off as a tick box exercise – removing invisible barriers takes time
  6. Don’t just focus on numbers such as how many minority individuals you have on the leadership team – ask questions like: Do minorities feel like they belong? Do they see themselves in leadership?

What Mona and Farrah said about organisations & leadership

Mona: As far as organisations and leadership are concerned, what are they missing about D&I time and time again?

Farrah: I think we've had a lot of emphasis on the head, which has been the business case. We haven't spoken enough about the heart, which is leading with empathy and leading with authenticity. These are critical skills in this age.

I think we need to redefine the whole notion of leadership. What does it mean to be a leader in the 21st century?

In my experience, I've specialised for over five to six years with C-suite leaders, incentivising them to think about the part that they can play. And I think redefining leadership and integrating inclusion is an essential part of the leadership mindset. That education piece is really important.

Then there’s the how. When the head, the heart and the hands come together, you start to see change. I think a lot of the leaders are technically brilliant at what they do – that's why they progress in their organisations – but having this new leadership mindset is what will get us to an increasingly diverse society.

The demographics are changing, the whole millennial and GenZ mindset is one of having expectations in how our leaders are going to show up. What’s the shadow those leaders are casting? Is there any disconnect between what they say and what they do? Is their alignment between the way they're leading and influencing, and is their purpose in what they're doing? I think that's what's been missing from most organisations.

What can you take away from this?

  1. Don’t just say that diversity is important for your business
  2. Have company values which reflect diversity & inclusion
  3. Ensure senior leaders embody these values and truly live them

How can you achieve this?

  1. Commit to D&I goals and have nominated people in the business responsible for them
  2. Add a new company value which shows an authentic commitment to diversity & inclusion – this can’t just be a token gesture
  3. Survey employees anonymously to identify which areas of management they believe are not embodying your D&I stance
  4. Roll out unconscious bias training for any hiring managers
  5. Don’t be afraid to share knowledge with other businesses or members of your network – learning and taking inspiration from those who have made meaningful progress
  6. Get your teams to map out their privilege and encourage them to be more self-aware

What Mona and Richard said about meaningful change

Mona: Who's responsible for actioning meaningful change towards diversity & inclusion in an organisation?

Richard: So I think that this is probably my favourite question because, in a consultant's mind, you have that racy matrix where everyone's automatically trying to work out who's responsible, who's accountable and who's consulted.

The reality is, while those at the top level will remain accountable for the culture, as well as the results and the outcomes of any decisions they make, the responsibility of building a culture actually sits within each and every member of that firm.

So there is a power that we all have. Whether you’re a brand new joiner, whether you've been here for 10 to 15 years, or you’re an analyst or a partner, each one of us has a responsibility to contribute to this culture.

And if our culture wants to include meaningful change, and wants to be a diverse and inclusive culture – you have to be willing and ready to take the opportunity to live and embody that culture that you want to see.

What can you take away from this?

  1. Empower your employees to take steps to improve diversity & inclusion
  2. Create a platform for regular dialogue to take place
  3. Don’t be scared to have people speak up when the company does something which doesn’t embody your D&I stance

How can you achieve this?

  1. Ask people of all seniority levels to be diversity & inclusion ambassadors in your company
  2. Hold regular company-wide meetings to discuss diversity – and stick to them even if you have nothing new to report
  3. Solicit honest feedback from employees and allow them to share what they’re really thinking – anonymous surveys are a great way to do this
  4. Facilitate listening sessions or focus groups for employees to talk freely about D&I – ask for notes to be shared and enable those speaking to remain anonymous if they wish
  5. Take the name, gender and age out from CVs to remove unconscious bias and only judge candidates on their experience
  6. Make job postings more inclusive by writing them in a gender-neutral tone or having audio description options
  7. Do your research just like you would your target customers – learn about experiences of minority groups in the workplace and make changes to support them before they join

Read next: Understanding and improving equality in the workplace

So how do you feel about diversity & inclusion in your workplace?

For even more insight on improving D&I in your workplace, watch the full ‘How can workplaces improve D&I in the New Working World?’ webinar on-demand.

By watching, you’ll learn more about:

  1. The power of diverse and inclusive workplaces
  2. The key action points to progress diversity and inclusion
  3. What most leaders miss when it comes to diversity and inclusion
  4. How managers can start to make a difference today

To see the recording on-demand, click here.


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