O.C. Tanner’s whitepaper, ‘How recognition builds inclusion’, looks at how expectations around diversity and inclusion have shifted. Dr Alex Lovell, Director, research & data science at O.C Tanner talks about what the future of diversity looks like in Canada.
Lovell believes that many organizations have focused exclusively on diversity, and typically from a risk mitigation standpoint. Furthermore, after significant events in several Western countries, there’s been an increase in performative DEI. But organizations have often put less effort into inclusion and equity than they have diversity. It is time to rethink the way our organizations work.
Culture of embracing each individual:
The moderate to long-term risks of exclusionary cultures are even more damaging because they impact our most valuable resource: our people. If we do not, we will lose our most valuable resource: our people. We can no longer treat inclusion as a risk-mitigation strategy. Instead, we need to create a culture that embraces each individual and celebrates the intersection of their unique attributes in the context of everyday employee experiences, says Lovell.
According to a recent report from Glassdoor, 67% of job seekers look for workplace diversity when considering a job offer. Over 50% of employees want their current employer to increase DEI efforts in their organization. Recent global movements, such as Black Lives Matter and George Floyd riots, have brought DEI to the forefront of everyone’s minds.
Working together towards diversity:
“Organizations have fallen short because of a limited approach to diversity and inclusion,” says Lovell. “It takes a combination of focusing on structural sources of inequity and discrimination, prioritizing diversity, inclusion and equity at the senior leader level, and inspiring co-ownership at the employee level”.
More and more employees are looking for employers that authentically embrace diversity as a core culture component. But what exactly are the key characteristics of an inclusive culture? Well, according to Lovell, it comes down to remodelling our ideas around DEI.
Reimagine and redefine:
“Organizations must completely reimagine and redefine inclusion and exclusion,” answered Lovell. “These two concepts are not different sides of the same coin. Different norms, values, and behaviors animate inclusion and exclusion, causing positive and negative employee micro experiences. Developing a strategy for addressing both is important and will help all employees thrive at your organization.
Hiring diverse employees and then telling them to homogenize if they want to succeed is not a viable inclusion strategy. Inclusion must start before the recruiting process and extend beyond onboarding.
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