While in the midst of an unprecedented health crisis, the world is also grappling with a social injustice crisis. And now, we're seeing diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives take center stage at organizations around the globe.
However, it’s important to remember that addressing and overcoming these challenges is not the responsibility of one particular group within a business—the weight of this transformation relies on everyone.
During Conversations for a Changing World, our virtual global event on Oct. 20, Carin Taylor, chief diversity officer at Workday, hosted a conversation with Karen Carter, chief human resources officer and chief inclusion officer at Dow Chemical, and Ann-Marie Campbell, executive vice president, U.S. stores at The Home Depot, to discuss what organizations can do to help every employee feel a sense of belonging. Below are some of the best practices they shared.
Act now. Organizations shouldn’t pause on their response to social injustice issues. Carter shared that soon after the tragic death of George Floyd, Dow CEO Jim Fitterling took a public stance against racism and created a plan of action for the chemical company to address it head on.
“We have to do something right now, in this moment, to make sure that this moment becomes a movement where we can see real, visible, and meaningful change,” emphasized Carter.
Build diverse leadership teams. Campbell discussed how organizations have a personal responsibility to create opportunities and sponsor people from all backgrounds for leadership roles. To successfully do that, leaders can’t just talk about diversity and inclusion in talent planning, they must activate their talent pipeline to ensure leaders with diverse experiences have a seat at the table.
Create an inclusive culture. Organizations must cultivate a culture of inclusion—one where every voice matters and every employee has an equal opportunity to thrive. Carter shared that in order to have equal opportunity, companies must assess and eliminate disparities in their programs, policies, and processes that might favor some groups over others.
Become an ally. To be an ally in the workplace, it’s important to start by having real, honest conversations with employees to learn more about them and their experiences, because building diversity and inclusion and becoming an advocate for others begins with understanding one another.
“You can start these conversations by prefacing, ‘I just want to learn more . . . I may say the wrong thing, but it's not to offend anyone, I just need to better understand.’ The more we know about each other, the more we can understand each other. And the more we understand each other, the more we can give each other the benefit of the doubt. You simply need to start the conversation,” explained Campbell.
To learn more about delivering on diversity in the workplace, watch the full session from Conversations for a Changing World.