Waves of COVID: 4 Critical Steps to Accelerate out of the Pandemic

Is culture anti-D&I?


We make a habit of getting close to the ground to understand what's really going on in the world of HR and People.

At one of our virtual dinner events* with HR leadership from a few of today's leading businesses in tech, professional services and beyond, we posed a provocative question around the impact of our traditional approach to culture and diversity.

Here are a few interesting points we took away from the discussion.

Get in touch:
Alex Patrick, Consulting Lead
Lauren Newton, Consulting Lead

There are some key questions we need to still ask:

Without the E, is D&I enough? Being deliberate and diverse in who we bring into the organisation is the “easy” part. Where the difference is really made, and the bulk of the effort is required, is in creating environments that are fair for all, no matter who you are. Here's where we all need to do more.

Shouldn’t we be talking about “culture add, not culture fit”?  Looking for a certain 'type' will likely lead to the same places not new and more diverse ones. Instead, shouldn’t we be bringing in people who add something to the business, bringing in different yet complimentary viewpoints and opinions to create something better? Although, it’s not as easy as it sounds, as it's vital to ensure those of the old cultural fit want to be part of this new culture of “add”.

Although 2020 finally slammed D&I on the table, was it a spark and not a blaze? Last year people started to become aware of their own bias' and blind spots, but the conversation is already going quiet. How do we overcome the bias, knowledge gap and lack of honest and uncomfortable conversation that facilitates people to move forward in their own journeys?

    Key takeaways from the group

    Meaningful data will change the conversation - of course first data needs to be captured, but we need to know why we're capturing it. Only then can we create a strategy to analyse it in a way that makes it trusted, useable and able to drive the right conversations.

    It's comforting knowing we’re not alone - Thursday highlighted we’re all battling similar issues around D&I on a daily basis. And whilst it’s by no means solved, by just having these types of conversations provides lessons, insights and practical things we can all try and apply back at our respective bases.

    Change and disruption won’t ease up anytime soon - the levels experienced in 2020 will continue through 2021, 2022 and beyond. The realisation of Brexit, the shifting power in the US, the continued destabilisation of the world and the rest - it's bound to be a rollercoaster ride and D&I will be right in the middle.

    The return to the office, but not as you remember it - we all violently agreed the future of work is hybrid, at least for the next few years. But as people’s expectations and needs have shifted, the challenge will be in finding a rhythm and cadence that works for the individual, the team and the organisation, so that people come together when needed, to do the work that can’t get done properly from home. Easier said than done.

    Keeping the conversation alive at the right level - with the best will in the world people want to solve problems as they rise, but it’s easy to get lost in the minutiae. Businesses need to frame the broader conversation about D&I - where we're at, what's at the core, what's our strategy - and ensure it is constantly revisited, at the right levels and in a way that changes the systems.

    *We run virtual dinner events for a select network of HR leaders to discuss the latest in HR, culture, purpose & transformation. Interested in attending? Get in touch with shannon.jose-riz@businessfourzero.com