Following in the tracks of our recent Diversity & Confusion research report, we hosted a virtual breakfast event to discuss its diversity, equity and inclusion findings.
The webinar conversation was led by Fortune Hill’s Founder & Managing Director, Joel Barnett, who was joined by:
Denise Peart - Chief Talent, Diversity & Inclusion Officer at Sky
Nitin Paranjpe - Global Chief Operating Officer at Unilever
Asad Dhunna - Chief Executive Officer at The Unmistakables
The report showed that 88 per cent of the UK workforce believe that the D&I agenda is important. However, less than half of working professionals get involved in D&I, with many actually choosing to stay away from the agenda due to a) fear of saying or doing the wrong things, and b) concern that they are not the right people to be involved.
With this in mind, Fortune Hill's Joel Barnett asked guests: Is true inclusion a realistic goal when so many people exclude themselves from D&I, and what does successful inclusion look like in practice?
Here are some of the key outtakes from the session.
Denise Peart on what Sky is doing to levelling the playing field and create a sense of belonging at Sky:
"At Sky we want to create an environment where everyone feels a sense of belonging, where they can do their best work and reach their greatest potential. Ultimately, we're levelling the playing field.
"We're achieving this by placing D&I at the core of talent, looking at how we systematically remove barriers and using data to help leaders recruit against ambitious and aggressive targets to bring in more people from underrepresented communities. We have also brought together a D&I advisory panel to six external parties to hold us to account and challenge our thinking to drive meaningful change."
Nitin Paranjpe on what we need diversity and inclusion and what it means for overrepresented communities:
"If we lived in an homogenous world, we probably wouldn't need diversity in the workforce. But think of a carpenter: if their only job was to hammer nails then they'd only need hammers. But tradespeople have big tool cases. Having ten of the best hammers won't help them to get more jobs done - they need screwdrivers and saws, too. Growing up, I had unconscious biases - I assumed my skills were the only ones that mattered. But I realised the workforce needs complementary skills. We need to look not just at how a person fits into the workforce but what they add to it.
"D&I is not about doing something in favour of or against any group. This is not about affirmative action, it's about levelling the playing field. The key is about finding people who buy into these same values."
Asad Dhunna on addressing the fear of saying or doing the 'wrong' things:
"First we must accept that language is always going to keep changing and that keeping up with this change is more like an endless treadmill than a marathon with a finish line. Right now we see people falling off the treadmill and getting 'cancelled'. The key to avoiding this is building up muscle - or what we call 'cultural confidence'. Our Diversity & Confusion report shows that 40 per cent of people are afraid to say 'Black' in the workplace and 51 per cent of people are afraid to say 'queer'. Although there are always nuances, both terms are acceptable and appropriate today in context. It's just a case of committing to continual learning."
Nitin closed on a statement that may give confidence to other organisations trying to navigate D&I across multiple territories: "A smile on your lips and a pat on your back is the same in every language."
Click here to download our Diversity & Confusion research report.