Inclusion Resources – April 2021

At the time of this update going live, it is Stephen Lawrence Day in the UK.

Stephen was just 18 when he was murdered in an unprovoked racist attack on 22nd April 1993, and it took 19 years to convict two of his attackers. The inquiry of Stephen’s case, followed by the Macpherson report, brought about key changes to the Criminal Justice Act in the UK.

Part of Stephen’s legacy is the Stephen Lawrence Day Foundation, that provides educational resources and supports community projects in the UK to “inspire a more equal, inclusive society”. Every 22nd April since 2019 has been marked to remember Stephen and honour this legacy.

In 2021 we are still seeing racist attacks and unwarranted brutality against Black communities in news headlines on a regular basis. There are moments of progress and justice being served but ultimately, these moments come at the expense of Black peoples’ lives, which is horrific and unacceptable.

After a flurry of promises of meaningful change from many organisations after George Floyd’s death last year, it is more important than ever for them to uphold those promises and to stay accountable for their actions towards inclusion.

We continue to use our platform to provide helpful resources about inclusion. Leading with real inclusion provides a safe space for everybody to bring their best selves into an environment, a vital move for employers if they want to increase diversity in their workplace.

But what is meaningful inclusion? It’s when people of different nationalities, races, genders, sexual orientations and more feel accepted in a company and that they belong. It’s when they feel safe and supported to be their authentic selves at work. It’s when everyone is treated fairly and has equal access to opportunities to move ahead in the company. Inclusion also means when underrepresented groups, as well as workers of lesser rank in the organization, are confident their perspectives will be considered when they serve on project teams or make recommendations to management. In other words, everyone is a recognized and valued part of the team no matter their background or role.

Meaningful Inclusion Requires Every Team Leader, by Paul McDonald for Forbes

Merely paying lip service through token appointments or initiatives will not cut it anymore. To deliver, companies will need to look hard at their culture and management systems – and they should want to, because improving diversity and inclusion will also deliver improved performance.

Inclusion is a contact sport managers should be happy to play, by Jeremie Brecheisen for Training Zone

If diversity is subsidiary to profitability, then it must be shown that diversity does indeed generate higher returns. The data here is, in fact, quite mixed. Indeed, some studies suggest that forced diversity results in a reduction in social solidarity, trust, and shared purpose. This may be expected to have a negative impact on firm performance and, therefore, would stand as a strong argument against increased diversity…This highlights the critical importance of inclusion over merely statistical diversity.

Unlocking diversity’s promise: psychological safety, trust and inclusion, by Stephen Scott and Amy Edmondson for Reuters

Authentic D&I needs to be about empathy and human experience, not ticking boxes at the minimum possible level. I’m not suggesting we shouldn’t have those boxes. Quotas of all kinds can be useful as training wheels until people understand that the bare minimum is not enough. But ultimately, D&I has to be an authentic effort to understand and represent a wide range of people. It’s so much deeper than just slapping a picture of Black people on an e-mail campaign.

Intention versus impact: When diversity and inclusion meet microaggressions, by Karima-Catherine Goundiam for The Globe and Mail

This is a continuous practice. When exclusionary or discriminatory behaviors happen, leaders need to address these instances directly with employees, in the moment. This includes giving employees one-on-one feedback outlining how their behavior marginalizes other employees — whether they intended to or not — and the impacts. This is also an opportunity for employees to identify how they will commit to change. Managers can support their employees in practicing equality by providing continuous one-on-one coaching, mentoring, development and feedback. This includes holding employees accountable for changing their behavior. Making inclusion a practice starts with creating a learning culture.

Inclusion is Practice, by Michelle P. King for Chief Learning Officer