Diversity and inclusion as a business priority

July 30, 2020
Lily-Rae Hewitt Jasilek

Why diversity and inclusion should be a business priority in 2020 and ahead

For years, industries have wrestled mightily with issues related to diversity and inclusion. Organisations large and small have worked to diversify their employee ranks, often by periodically retooling their talent pipelines and hiring practices. This summer, the nationwide protests against police brutality and systemic racism has awoken the conversation and highlighted many of these issues.

Of course, it pays to note that, at many firms, diversity efforts were already underway. Google claimed in their most recent diversity report: ‘We saw the largest increase in our hiring of Black+ technical employees that we have ever measured’ and Google isn’t alone either. ViacomCBS Networks UK also revealed a series of measures to strengthen its diversity and inclusion efforts, including a “no diversity, no commission” content policy, which you can read more about here.

Has your organisation recently made changes in policies or practices to help support Black Lives Matter, Anti-Racist or diversity and inclusion movements?

If yes, then have they been followed up and continued and not been silenced as a ‘trend’?

If yes, then how collaborative is your updating process? Having diversity among races, genders, generations, ethnicities and thoughts within an organisation is one thing. But including employees with these experiences in the conversation can help leaders and organisations find the answers to these questions during trying times.

If you have said no to the majority of the above. Then now is the time to start thinking about your internal structures and processes to accommodate and welcome all.

How to elevate diversity, equity, and inclusion work in your organisation?

To address systemic racism, many organisations are starting to create anti-racist diversity, equity, and inclusion change agendas. These new approaches are disguised in internal processes and policies, all the way to the company’s learning culture.

In order to improve internal diversity and inclusion and eradicate systemic racism, all need to shift their mindsets and their practices from treating it as an unrewarded “side hustle” to treating it as merit-worthy work. To accomplish this, diversity experts need to have titles: for example Chief Diversity Officer, and reporting relationships, maybe through weekly reports with the CEO, that match the importance of their work. If it is to be taken seriously, leaders, managers, and employees who have traditionally treated diversity and inclusion measures as “extra” work need to be evaluated based on their performance of this work for constant improvement and progression.

Yes — everyone needs to take actions to address systemic racism, starting with their internal diversity and inclusion. But leaders, including the CEO, need to treat the actions being taken as merit-worthy in order to ensure that initiatives and efforts to eradicate systemic racism are sustainable far beyond the ebbs and flows of the current news cycle.

And remember that diversity is way more than just a business to-do; it’s a business priority! Click here to see a few ways in which diversity is directly linked to profitability.

At UpSkill we tackle the reasons why ethnic minority employees are underrepresented in management positions and provide you with the tools and techniques to empower them in key moments of career progression through an organisation. We are creating content with companies, internally, to focus on the many implementations that can be done to start thinking about internal career progression and inclusion movements.

Click here to visit our ‘Career Progression and Inclusion Training’ page to learn more about what we do and how we can assist you and your organisation through our workshops.

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