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By Saadiq Samodien, Online Event Specialist, Top Employers Institute
By Saadiq Samodien, Online Event Specialist, Top Employers Institute

Key takeaways | Why diversity is not enough: the importance of inclusion

The Top Employers 2021 Certificate Celebration held on 28 January 2021 brought together HR industry experts from around the world to celebrate the work done in HR and knowledge share the best people practices. 

One of the breakout sessions called “Why diversity is not enoughthe importance of inclusion”, focused on how to create a sense of belonging in the workplace.  

The session was hosted by Jonas Van Wees, HR Auditor at Top Employers Institute,  with guest speakers Mechell Chetty (Unilever SA), Anne-Sophie Chauveau-Galas (Alstom) and Raj Verma (Sanofi). The session highlights the importance of inclusion in the workplace and emphasised it as a competitive advantage for employers. Organisations that prioritise diversity and inclusion in their teams far outperform competitors. Furthermore, an inclusive workplace also drives higher levels of productivity and retention, and positively affects employee engagement.  

Watch the full session by filling in the form or read the key takeaways here:   

Takeaway 1: Leaders need to create psychological safety 

During the session, Mechell Chetty (Uniliver SA) aptly noted that inclusion is about providing employees with a sense of comfort. An organisation's priority is to harnesses each employee's uniqueness and potential by creating psychological safety. This is an environment where employees can truly express themselves, innovate, take risks, and be part of solutions that are born from employees unique characteristics.  

To create a psychologically safe environment, leaders have to shift away from blaming 'unconscious bias' but instead work towards being consciously competent.  Thus, the conversation must shift to how leaders can create competence, whether it is on matters of gender, disabilities, or race.  

Takeaway #2: Diversity and inclusion is a vital part of employee experience 

To create an inclusive culture is to create great employee experiences that people will relate to  and rememberAs an example of this, Raj Verma holds the title of Chief Diversity and Experience Officer at Sanofi – a clear indication of how important the two fields are related to each other. Employee experience starts at the pre-hire stage, up until the point of resignation or retirement. Inclusion involves creating a great employee experience at all these vital touchpoints in an employee's lifecycle.  

Verma explained diversity and inclusion with a simple process, where the input is a great employee experience, and the output is to maintain and grow diverse talent at every level. Inclusion and creating a sense of belonging is what brings the two points together.  

Takeaway #3: Raise awareness of inclusion in the workplace 

One of the most important aspects of inclusion is creating purposeful communication and awareness in the workplace. As an example of this, Anne-Sophie Chauveau-Galas shared some initiatives that Alstom created. To raise awareness of inclusiveness in the workplace, Alstom collects all the best practices from their teams around the world. An award is given to the best initiative, which creates positive momentum and spreads the best diversity and inclusion practices across the organisation. Another example is that Alstom created an 'All-abilities toolkit', which is a series of tips to help people with different workplace abilities. 

Watch Why diversity is not enough: the importance of inclusion to learn more about how to create a sense of belonging in the workplace by filling in the form.