Part 4 of a 7-Part Series
When Prompta works with organizations, many have diverse workforces, but they are not necessarily inclusive or equitable workplaces. Looking under the hood, so many companies are diverse with junior staff members. We often see that lower levels of the hierarchy look like the communities these companies operate within, but not the leadership teams and Board. All too frequently, leadership teams are diverse, with potentially one female, one visible minority, or one member of the LGBTQ+ community.
We often hear how much diversity, equity, and inclusion are enough, and the answer is simple. An organization has enough DEI when all voices are heard, respected, and judged by their character within the corporate culture.
It’s enough when all Boards and leadership teams look like the community they serve and look like their customers. We have a long way to go, even from a gender diversity perspective. According to the 14th Annual Rosenzweig Report (2019), women made up only 53 (10%) of the 532 C-level executives among Canada’s 100 largest publicly traded corporations in 2018.
Stop, Listen, and Learn
Many leaders have no idea of how it feels to be part of a visible minority or to be members of the indigenous or LGBTQ+ communities, speak with an accent, or have a visible or invisible disability. We can’t necessarily walk in someone’s shoes, but as leaders, it’s critically important to have open dialogues to start to try to understand. Simply because we cannot walk in someone’s shoes doesn’t mean we can’t walk beside them or listen and support them. It doesn’t mean that we can’t actively listen to all our employees, listen with an open heart and mind to what they have experienced, their concerns, and understand what’s stopping them from feeling included, supported and respected within corporate cultures.
Diversity, equity, and inclusion are more important than ever. For too long, we’ve seen companies talk the talk but not walk the walk. Companies are taking steps, for example, by launching a big DE&I marketing campaign or changing their logo to the rainbow colours for Pride month, starting Employee Resource Groups (ERG) or hiring a Chief Diversity Officer.
They’re great starts, but if you want to change the culture, you’ve got to look at actions, attitudes, and mindsets.
You’ve got to look at behaviours. You’ve got to be able to have a real understanding of where you are in your DEI journey. Not only how far you have come, but a roadmap for where you are going and realistic change plans and unwavering commitment to getting you there.
We will only have enough Diversity, Equity and Inclusion within our organizations once we see our holistic corporate culture shift that changes hearts, minds and attitudes.