In today’s challenging business scene, the need for an innovative, resilient workforce is imperative. A diversity of perspective and creating a true sense of belonging are essential elements. Building more diverse and inclusive teams, creating a true sense of belonging for everyone is crucial. This was focus of the talk by Patience Nyange, Council Member, Media Council of Kenya, as spoke on “Why is Diversity, Inclusion & Equity important, more than ever before”.
Organisations must tap into the full potential of DEI
The lady, backed by the motto –“go against the grain, refuse to confirm” introduced us to the concept of Diversity, Inclusion and Equity (DEI) saying – most of the time, we ask: how do we achieve this? Referring to a report on Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, to tap into the full potential of human diversity, organisations need to hire diverse talent and create an inclusive working culture underpinned by a fundamental sense of belonging, fairness and equity, enabling people to bring their full self to work. The benefits of incorporating DEI into the work culture are irrefutable.
What do we hope to see in the future? It should throw up equal opportunities, and organisations must walk the talk, earn trust and commitment from employees and establish a sense of belonging, accountability must go beyond the HR function, and, continuous efforts must be made to review the progress of DEI.
“Diversity includes all the ways in which people differ, encompassing all the different characteristics that make one individual different from another. We are all unique in our different perspectives depending on the culture we come from, the demographics, the nationality we represent; where diversity is often used to refer to ethnicity and gender, it also includes age, nationality, originality, religion, disability, sexual inclusion, socio-economic status, education, laguage and physical appearance,” she explained. Inclusion is the act of creating an environment in which any individual or group can feel welcomed, respect it, support it and finally fully participate in the decision-making process. As for equity, it is fair treatment to access opportunities and advancement for all people, regardless of all differences spoken about, (gender, religion, nationality etc). “We are trying to see, identify, and eliminate all barriers,” she elaborated and added that tackling equity issues requires an understanding of varied outcomes within our societies.
Going beyond conversations
In the Q/A session, when Parekhit Bhattacharjee, Logitech enquired what would be her advice to organisations that want to focus on DEI, she pointed out that for her, it is important to move beyond conversations, as for a long time, organisations did this and even convened conferences, workshops but a recent trend is that they are caught up in these conversations. Are we really focusing on DEI? Reality does not match the conversations, so the real need is for them to “walk the talk”. Having clear deliverables and reports to show is very important, so the first step she emphasized is to walk the talk and practice what you preach! Another point would be for organisations to review existing practices and have a critical examination process in place.
Communications has an important role
What role can a communication specialist play in driving DEI initiatives? Patience felt that communication specialists have to design strategies for internal and external communication in an effective manner. So, communication people have a role to play, ensuring communication of all achievements as far as DEI is concerned. Infact she pinpointed certain brands that stand out here, and Google would be a shining example, as they are transparent on its initiatives, publishing reports – marking all DEI commitments. Communications has an important role to play; how we report achievements or share all internal/external communication reveals that the organisation respects diversity.
How can data analytics be involved here? She clearly stated that “I think data analysis is a starting point for DEI initiatives, and they serve as a tool for measuring success, as numbers don’t lie”.
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