ED&I: If it feels comfortable, you’re not doing it right

Equality, diversity, inclusivity, they’re words that have been thrown around for the for years. And quite rightly so.

An effective ED&I strategy incorporates diverse and inclusive work environments. Why is that so important?

Well, fostering fair, accepting and meaningful attitudes and cultures within the workplace will ultimately build trust, improve morale, and support a business’ bottom line. That goes without saying, right?

An ED&I strategy doesn’t necessarily remove the unconscious bias within businesses.

I’m writing this having been inspired by a conversation about institutionalised racism within corporate businesses with a friend and colleague.

*But not all businesses/people/attitudes/delete as appropriate…*

At her previous company, she was one of three people of colour within the organisation, and she was unfortunate enough to be the only person identifying as female. Whilst the latter naturally comes with a fortitude of trials and tribulations, she’d never experienced direct racism. After leaving the business, she’d later found out that this was because it was all happening behind her back, thus to her, it was never an issue that needed addressing.

It doesn’t stop there. As a queer woman, my only saving grace is that I’m white. 75% of the LGBTQ+ community are too afraid to come out at work. This is a mind-blowing statistic that is burnt into my brain, and I pull it out at every given opportunity. Why? Because it matters!

If you haven’t seen the absolute debauchery that is Twitter under Elon Musk’s leadership, you must have, quite literally, been hibernating for winter. The CEO has been reprimanded by his own employees for fostering a cult-like work culture encouraging them to work above and beyond and sleep in their offices out of dedication.

Employers need to care enough in the first place to sit up, listen and educate themselves. Unconscious bias is ultimately how a person thinks, which is dependent on their life own experiences, beliefs, and views. It might not be right or reasonable.

We hear it all the time, but this unconscious bias leads to a constant cycle of repeatedly bigoted behaviours that need to be broken by a deliberate and purposeful ED&I strategy; if it feels comfortable, you are not doing it correctly.

We all say that ED&I is important to us and we’re doing something about it, but are we? How exactly are you making your workplace inclusive enough for people to feel comfortable in their own skin? How are you tackling unconscious bias in your workplace?

At my current workplace, we use the term “Innovation vs Action” when it comes to ED&I. We have a People and Community Forum to support all areas of our business, from Mental Health, through to Equality. We don’t claim to be the best, or have all the answers, and I think that this is the key message here; it’s a constant learning process. We must all do the work and continue to do the work in order to change our unconscious bias.

It’s all about how we can improve, make life better for people and all in all, be decent human beings!

According to a McKinley study, 39% of candidates will reject a role due to a received lack of inclusiveness within the organisation. At least one third of your talent pool are analysing your benefits – not your incentives, but the level of healthcare you provide, or if your parental leave packages include paternity or adoption leave.

They’re checking out your core values, their asking for recommendations from people within your organisation, and they’re making sure that your website is authentic and homogeneous.

A wise woman once introduced me to Tony Robins, who once stated:

“A real decision is measured by the fact that you’ve taken a new action. If there’s no action, you haven’t truly decided.”

Time to take a look at that unconscious bias!

Author

Lauren Cox

Marketing Manager