Escaping the echo chamber of D&I lingo

ByJoanne Lockwood

Escaping the echo chamber of D&I lingo

Greg is a global D&I director who is frustrated by the level of performative action in industry and the reliance of the same old soundbites that don’t effectively move the needle on diversity and inclusion.

Greg believes we reuse the same lingo and terminology, i.e. ‘bringing your authentic self to work’, used as well-meaning terms, but without unpicking both what they mean to us and the people we are using it on. He believes people get caught up on the ‘lingo’ rather than the motivation behind the statement.

Published Published: 11.11.2021 Recorded Recorded: 26.10.2021 Episode Length Duration: 1:01:10 Downloads Downloads: 84

We don’t all share the same experience of work, so although we can set up broad ambitions for the statement ‘bring your whole self to work’, until we understand how everyday work decisions impact on different diversity groups, it is very difficult to meet that ambition. Greg states that to achieve this you need to delve into the detail – looking at the actions that need to happen at a granular level – do our actions and tactics help us achieve these ambitions and match back to the terminology we are using.

Working within the D&I space, Greg is always conscious that he does not want to alienate any groups of people from the conversation, especially those that hold the privilege and power and can help drive the conversation. By shutting them off from the conversation you move the burden back to under-represented groups to drive the change, inadvertently pushing it back to the people that really need to see the change. Leaders need to understand what they can do to drive change and leverage their power.

Greg argues that change happens in the everyday actions of individuals, not in training rooms. It is a continual process, with no ‘one size fits all’ model and requires constant feedback and adaptation. You need to be able to measure the effectiveness of programs that are being run, deciding beforehand what change you hope to bring about by running it, how it will make a difference to the organisation, focusing on the outcomes and how this will tie into the company strategy. A D&I strategy is meaningless if it is not experienced day to day by everyone in the organisation.

Greg thinks organisations need to stop measuring employee engagement by the majority, instead looking at the data from different diversity groups. Change is only going to come if you can close the experience gap for people, so the corporate strategy has to be understood and followed by everyone so that it is embedded within the organisation.

Since end of lockdown some organisations are leaning towards dictating flexibility, whereas others are leaving it entirely to employees. Greg believes with this new way of working, employers need to ensure that they test, adapt and learn, with a continual feedback loop so that they can understand what the hybrid working experience is like for all employees. He suggests that we need to let go of traditional working restraints and consider what type of experience do we want people to have – what we did yesterday is no longer good enough for today. We want to ensure that a new starter working remotely still has a great experience and is not impacted by missing out on social capital.

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SEE Change Happen: Transgender Awareness & Inclusion