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    Last week DEVELOR held the 11th International RE/Think HR webinar. This time we addressed the topics of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI), discussing willingness, openness, and actual actions of organisations in introducing the DEI concept.

    We were delighted to see that many participants were still discussing the hot topic 20 minutes after the end of the event, reflecting the fact that the global concept of DEI is now a hot topic in organisations around the world.

    Terms Explained – Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging

    At the beginning of the webinar, Pavlina Moudra, Head of Learning, Lean L&D, KONE, and Trainer for DEVELOR Czech took the time to align the participants in the key terms that circle the greater topic often addressed by the word “diversity.” We also think it important to create a common ground in understanding what we are talking about before diving into how to advance the cause.

    What Is Diversity in the Workplace?

    Diversity in the workplace means that an organization employs a diverse team of people that are reflective of the society in which it exists and operates. Unfortunately, determining what makes a team diverse isn’t so simple.

    Diversity incorporates all of the elements that make individuals unique from one another, and while there are infinite differences in humans, most of us often perceive diversity by just a few social categories, such as gender, race, age. There are however many more lenses to look at a person, than these.

    What Is Equity, and How Does It Differ From Equality?

    Image credit: Interaction Institute for Social Change | Artist: Angus Maguire

    Equity is the glue that holds diversity and inclusion together.

    Equity in the workplace means to intentionally, purposely and consciously ensure that everyone in the company has access to the support, resources, treatment and the opportunities they need to succeed in the workplace.

    While equality focuses on making sure that everyone gets the same access to the same resources, equity emphasises specific, individual needs. Equality means that “everyone gets the same”, while equity means “everyone has access to the same.”

    What Is Inclusion?

    Although often used in tandem with diversity, inclusion is a concept of its own. Inclusion is the practice of providing everyone with equal access to opportunities and resources. Inclusion efforts in the workplace help to give traditionally marginalised groups — like those based on gender, race or disabilities — a means for them to feel equal in the workplace. Inclusive actions, like creating employee resource groups or hosting information sessions, make the workplace a safer, more respectful environment for all employees.

    Diversity vs. Inclusion vs. Belonging

    Diversity refers to the traits and characteristics that make people unique while inclusion refers to the behaviors and social norms that ensure people feel welcome.

    Not only is inclusivity crucial for diversity efforts to succeed, but creating an inclusive culture will prove beneficial for employee engagement and productivity.

    Main Learning From the Dei Webinar

    During the webinar, besides the keynote from Pavlina Moudra we heard from three panel guests: Roman Bojko, Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Leader for IKEA (CZ, HU, SK), Anne Ezeh, Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer at GE Gas Power (Europe, Middle East & Africa) and Mihály Nagy, HR Operations Lead LV, CV, PT for Europe & Africa at Dana Incorporated

    What were the key learnings to take away, if you missed the event?

    1 Diverse Employees Mean Better Business Performance

    Diversity in employees brings economical benefits to the business. Whether it is in the more innovative ways of working, being able to service more diverse customer cohorts, or having more engaged employees thanks to them feeling included, companies benefit from having diverse people on board. For these economical benefits to manifest, the people must feel actively included, not just present.

    McKinsey report 2020 reveals that the higher the representation of diversity, the higher the likelihood of outperformance. Companies with more than 30 percent women on their executive teams are significantly more likely to outperform those with between 10 and 30 percent women, and these companies in turn are more likely to outperform those with fewer or no women executives. As a result, there is a substantial performance differential—48 percent—between the most and least gender-diverse companies.

    In the case of ethnic and cultural diversity, the findings are equally compelling. Companies in the top quartile outperformed those in the fourth by 36 percent in terms of profitability in 2019, slightly up from 33 percent in 2017 and 35 percent in 2014.

    2 DEI Initiatives Need Top-level Sponsorship

    For a successful roll-out of DEI-related initiatives, top-level sponsorship is important. We heard from the guests in the panel, that their initiatives were rooted in C-suite or top management decisions and commitment – whether internal or also external pledge to the topic. If you see the need to act towards improving inclusion in your company, work on influencing your higher management early on.

    3 Incorporate Diversity Into Inclusion Initiatives

    Even the ways how you work on DEI initiatives should reflect the diversity in culture – organizational or otherwise. Measuring some KPIs might make sense in the US, but would not be as useful in Europe or Asia. People are bound to different challenges, therefore it’s critical to start by opening up the discussion on the individual level and work on personal understanding of the topic (e.g. using workshops focused on understanding biases, privileges, equity, and equality).

    Inclusive Workspace – Everyone’s Responsibility and Benefit

    Aside from being a clear social, political, ethical, and moral responsibility, research and company practices are showing serious benefits associated with diversity in the workplace. Especially its significant impact on how customers and employees perceive a business. An emphasis on diversity and inclusion can help with revenue, customer reach, and employee recruiting and retention.

    This is why we think that every business leader should be actively exploring how to make their organization more inclusive. It cannot be tagged as “another HR initiative” – it is not. Just like company culture can be supported by various HR programs, but is realised through leaders and every employee, so is the work on inclusion an all-hand-on-deck type of job.

    DEVELOR’s Role in Promoting Inclusion

    At DEVELOR we believe that any improvement in inclusion starts with individual discovery, realising that we all do have some unconscious biases and searching for our own personal change. With years of experience in facilitating difficult conversations, our trainers are skilled to help open and drive conversations about this topic.

    In this spirit we also approached services that we offer to our clients to support their inclusion initiatives. Whether it’s the Diversity & Inclusion training, program built for women in leadership or related Psychological Safety or Insights Discovery training modules. All of them work to shape personal mindset and instill action on an individual level.

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