In November 2019, OSPE hosted the EDI Imperative: Changing the Profile of STEAM in Canada. At this conference, Hamlin Grange, Founder of DiversiPro spoke of the importance of making diversity and inclusion part of your core value as an organization. Grange outlined three fundamental principles that drive an organization’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. These are called the ABCs of diversity and inclusion:
- Appeasement: It is required due to an external or internal event, such as someone is suing the company or there is a human rights complaint.
- Business case: It is determined that this will boost the bottom line based on market demands.
- Core value: Diversity and inclusion is part of your core business, therefore if it is removed out of any part of the business, it will fundamentally change the company/organization. The diversity and inclusion plan must connect and reflect the business strategy, otherwise, it will be deprioritized.
Perhaps at no other time is the significance of making diversity and inclusion part of your core business more important than it is today. As mentioned above, in times of crisis, organizations must make strategic and sometimes difficult decisions about their operations. When diversity and inclusion is considered an add-on to the organization rather than embedded in its core value, it is easy for leaders to abandon their commitments, and prioritize other areas of their operations.
However, research demonstrates that diverse and inclusive teams are more innovative, engaged, and creative in their work. In times of adversity, it is imperative that organizations can bring together different perspectives to collaborate and solve new and emerging challenges. Organizations must remain open to new ideas and new ways of thinking. This will enhance creativity and ensure that employees feel engaged and valued.
As a result of COVID-19, leaders are under unprecedented pressure to make fast decisions and address a complex and evolving reality. The decisions those leaders make today will inadvertently impact the ability of their organizations to grow, attract and retain top talent post-crisis. Talent attraction and retention is a key element of success for any organization, without it, it is bound to fail.
Now is not the time to abandon your diversity and inclusion strategy. It is time to unlock the potential of your workforce. As you work to improve operational processes and determine a way forward, consider how you can also improve this aspect of your operations.
Understand how employees are being impacted across your company
All employees do have equal experiences in times of crisis. Women may face the increased burden of having to take care of children or dependents, while also adhering to their demanding work schedules. Others may be facing mental health challenges due to increased isolation and disrupted schedules. Some may even be facing discrimination due to their ethnic background. Listening, being flexible, and showing empathy will help leaders to navigate these circumstances.
Be aware of unconscious bias
Unconscious bias is an evolutionary mechanism that helps us makes sense of the world we live in. According to the Harvard Business Review “Research shows that when we’re stressed, we often default to heuristics and gut instincts, rather than making deliberate and goal-oriented decisions.” This often leads to exclusion and negative perceptions of underrepresented groups in the workplace. Understanding that this bias is present and challenging it when making important decisions will help you maintain a culture of inclusion.
Give a voice to everyone around the table
Members of underrepresented groups in the workplace may be less willing to share their opinions or perspectives. Creating a positive environment, where everyone is given the opportunity to speak and share their opinions is crucial to generate creativity and innovation. Ensure that even when working remotely you provide every member of your team with the opportunity to speak. If you notice any of your employees are inactive during meetings, check-in with them and determine a plan for engagement.
Continuing to foster a culture of inclusion across your organization will ensure your employees feel supported and valued, and your company will reap the benefits of an engaged workforce. You can learn more about this and key other issues at:
Dates: November 26-27, 2020
Time: 9:00 am – 1:30 pm
The Diversity and Inclusion advantage is simple. Diversity and Inclusion leads to more talent, more innovation, more competitiveness, and more growth.
For more information, please contact relevant OSPE staff, or visit www.ospeedi.ca.