My D&I Journey with:
Diversity & Inclusion Lead,
What brought you to the d&i role and what do you like most about your job?
I’ve always been interested in the way minorities of all kinds experience life, particularly in the workplace, and how different that experience is from this of a majority. As an introverted female and an expat with a foreign accent, I got to experience first hand both the great and the poor treatment in the workplace.
With a background in HR, when an opportunity came up to set up a diversity and inclusion role in a heavily male dominated UK fintech, I jumped at the chance to play a part in affecting a cultural change. I enjoy the sheer breadth and variety the role offers, and the opportunity to create a more inclusive place to work.
For someone thinking of a career in d&i, or looking to get more involved in their organisations d&i activities, what three skills would you say are the most important to succeed and why?
1. Resilience – change doesn’t happen overnight and you will experience setbacks along the way
2. Growth mindset – you are constantly learning, sometimes from own mistakes
3. Building strong relationships – cultural change is delivered through the behaviours of many: the allies and early adopters in particular
Tell us about a new d&i initiative you are driving at the moment and it’s aims
I’ve been working on creating and embedding inclusive leadership behaviours in the organisations. These are the expectations we have for everyone that holds us all to account for continually developing a culture of inclusion.
The behaviours were co-created with our colleagues from across the company using a design sprint methodology which we use to develop our business ‘products’. This meant they are highly personal and relevant to our context and are more likely to be easily adopted.
Currently, I am starting a couple of small scale pilots to test the prototype behaviours with a view to embed these in our HR processed and ways of working.
To date, which d&i related activity you have been involved with has had the biggest positive impact on creating an inclusive culture (can be current or previous company)
The volunteer employee resource groups, and our mental heath group in particular, have had the biggest positive impact on making our culture more inclusive. My role is to facilitate the creation and cross-collaboration of the groups, and provide ongoing support and membership. The groups have helped to implement a number of d&i initiatives and projects which would not have been possible to do otherwise eg. they upskilled managers in managing mental health at work, helped boost demographic data collection, delivered Pride and cultural days celebrations, spotlighted carer stories from under-represented employees and are working on an internship programme for young people from under-privileged backgrounds.
The future workplace – what do you see having the biggest impact on the d&i role in the next 5 years and what are you doing now to prepare?
Brexit, Gen Z entering the workplace, ageing workforce, multi-hyphenated careers, tech talent shortages, me too movement … the expectations of people from organisations are changing fast, and only by creating workplaces where everyone can be themselves and feel they belong organisations will thrive in this competitive world.
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