We define ‘diversity’ quite broadly as the full range of differences and similarities among people, including cultural background, gender, generation, disability, sexual orientation, and profession or function, among others. ‘Inclusion’ refers to the extent to which an organisation succeeds in creating the kind of professional community where all these facets of social identity are respected and find their voice.
In an inclusive culture, all employees - each group and every individual - feel they belong and can contribute. It provides the strongest platform for high performance. Essentially, the organisation's external business imperatives become supported by its internal operating style. An inclusive culture is the place where external and internal elements of the overall Strategic Plan intersect.
Despite there being a clear business rationale for inclusion, studies illuminate the difficulty many of us experience: increased levels of diversity in a community, an organisation or even in a society can present risks. Group cohesion and trust can be more challenging, for instance. Each of us carries unconscious biases towards sameness and away from difference. But other research reveals the prize available to those organisations which can manage the obstacles in their way: diverse perspectives nourish and underpin both high performance and innovation, especially where complex, non-routine problems are concerned. The key unlocking the door is the extent to which we succeed in building an inclusive culture.
In working with a client on their D&I Strategy, we begin by auditing their current reality using a suite of diagnostics. This enables us to build a tailor-made business case and an actionable plan. In our experience, components which are often poorly done (and cause D&I initiatives to fail, in the end) are implementation and metrics. For this reason, we pay close attention to these areas and bring to our clients UGM’s more than 20 years of experience on diversity matters. We have a strong track record and a number of national awards for our innovative approaches to our work in D&I.
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