Inclusion: The Road to Diversity

Having an inclusive workplace is an objective good in the moral sense – and the business sense. In fact, ethnically diverse and gender diverse companies are 35% and 15% (respectively) more likely to outperform their peers.

And yet the vast majority of organisations, including some very successful and intelligent people-driven companies, continue to recycle diversity ideas and initiatives in an attempt to become truly diverse.

So to learn a little bit more about the successes that some companies are having, as well dive deeper into a few of the seemingly insurmountable barriers to inclusion, we headed to San Francisco. One of the main items on the agenda was a diversity and inclusion informal dinner with some of the most forward thinking companies in the world including: Atlassian, Lever, and Culture Amp.

The name and aim of the event? A tactical D&I roundtable. A chance to create some tangible inclusion tactics that we can all start using today – on the road to diversity.

So what did we take away from the event?

  • People are HUNGRY for tactical conversations – there’s been enough chat about diversity strategy, now is the time for inclusion tactics that can be actioned today.
  • Companies aren’t either winning or losing at D&I – it’s not black and white.
  • Companies are at different stages of their diversity & inclusion lifecycle – whether they’ve acknowledged something needs to be done or they’ve reached some kind of perfect parity.
  • Beyond quotes, D&I can be difficult to measure. One way to measure it is in the stories that are being told within your organisation – are you hearing from everyone? Whose voice is missing?
  • D&I isn’t a function of HR – it should sit across an organisation.
  • Mentoring is a practical step companies can take to break down traditional advocacy and promotion pathways for their people – engaging in a mentoring relationship brings people off the sidelines.

We had a great time in San Francisco; talking and working with people from different cultures, backgrounds and companies – who all share a common understanding of the need for diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

As mentoring advocates first – and a mentoring software provider second – we are fully committed to helping organisations foster inclusion through mentoring in the workplace. Both because we believe that diversity and equal opportunity are inherently good, and because we know the positive impacts they can have on an organisation and the people in it.

When people programs like mentoring are made accessible to all (not just high performers), when they are inclusion focused (company wide or close-to), the result is an environment that promotes equal opportunity and development for every employee – not the select few.

Diversity is the end. Inclusion is the means with which we get there.

For 50 great actionable D&I ideas, have a read of event attendee Jen Kim’s great article below:

50+ Ideas for Cultivating Diversity in the Workplace You Can Start Today

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Lucy is the Co-founder and CEO of Mentorloop.

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