Many companies have taken serious steps in the last 4 years to be more inclusive; be it women-inclusive for the sake of #MeToo, LatinX for the continuous clashes and the mayhem that was created by building the #SeperationWall, to Black Lives that always mattered but mattered the most when a precious soul was murdered brutally, the name #GeorgeFloyd became anonymous to injustice. Exactly 8 minutes and 46 seconds became now the record time you need to transfer from being a human being into an animal.
in each one of those cases, you will see a pattern of two main points:
1.” The squeaky wheel gets the oil”: in each of the cases when someone became more ‘aware’ of the injustice cast on a certain minority or ethnicity, there was always a voice that started the whole scene; a voice that made others ashamed of their silence, and urged them to rebel. The silenced voices are not served- not here and not yet, anyway.
2.It was hype: Yes, some people had their heart in the right place, but for the majority, answering the call for more inclusive practices online & in the workforce comes to answer the hype that spreading the society: “Our brand shall ride that wave, or our image is doomed, so let’s welcome some folks who look different.”
The good thing about the above is that regardless of the reason, we now see more women in tech, Black people in C-level positions, Asians taking over sensitive departments with nothing to hold them back, and women like myself working alongside to.. basically “everyone” else.
Being able to see the ‘others’ on a daily basis and as part of daily practices helped us ‘humanize’ the souls behind the faces. I should no longer care about the color your skin is. The one color that matters to me is the color of your heart, and whether it’s a warm one or not — everything else is secondary. After all, we’re all just “Dust & Shadows.”
Inclusive ≠ Equity
Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI for short) maybe not be a huge deal for some professionals as it doesn’t affect their daily lives in a workforce. For other professionals, this is the air they breathe as it affects their fair share of the perks and promotions of an employer.
DEI shall be the major focus of every professional with a vision to achieve more and work as one of a pack — white people shall be the first to support such units and departments because “Injustice against one is an injustice against everyone.”
Some leaders believe inclusion in their workplaces is the key former harmony, more diversity, and thus, a better company image. But asking someone into your home is not enough.
You can no longer just ask a professional to join your fight towards a brighter future of your brand and a rocket-space growth of your revenues without showing all your cards and letting them fully in. That is why the term ‘Equity’ was essential, and that’s why it was introduced.
The Art of Being Fair & Impartial
Some companies have recently realized that their in-house culture is not cutting it anymore, especially now at the #PostFloydEra. Here are some practical steps towards achieving a more equitable workplace:
#1. Get Top-Down Support
It’s not the other way round, neither DEI unit’s job as -surprisingly- many C-level professionals believe. DEI supporting and nourishing is the responsibility and liability of the top management personnel. Once they have made enough fire inside each one of their employees to pursue equal workplace values, it’s only then the DEI unit’s role to nourish what their managers have planted.
#2. Read Your Culture
Some companies mistakenly believe that they have a great diversity representation in their company. When I sat down and used numbers, it appeared that diversity was only women vas men or admin-level rather than C-level representatives. Using your own data to assess the situation is essential to get a clearer view of what is wrong with your company’s culture.
#3. If It’s Not KPIed, It Ain’t Happening!
The lack of measurements results in the lack of delivery. Just like your projects that have no timeline nor deadlines will never be completed, the same happens when your DEI plans have no KPIs to measure against and deadlines to meet.
#4. Talk to Your People
The magic pill to solve all your problems won’t necessarily come from the outside; the solution may lie in the hands of your own diverse employees!
Talk to the diverse employees you have, directly and indirectly. Create a safe space for feedback and suggestions to drive more inclusive practices in your employees’ day-to-day life by encouraging such behaviors with activities: open dialogue sessions, anonymous feedback channels, and open-hours meetups.
Yesterday is The Best Time to Start!
It is never too late to realize that your culture needs a helping hand. It’s not a shame. On the contrary, employees and audience alike love the brands that came to light to admit their flawed DEI plans and shared practical plans to change them. Join the hard now, or better yet: step out of it by bringing something new!
This post was previously published on medium.com.
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Photo credit: Martin Marek / Unsplash