Shall we start a forum for inclusion and diversity?

As we continue the dialogue on inclusion and diversity at the workplace, I am inviting you to reflect on the approaches that can create an environment of safety for marginalized staff, such as the LGBTIQ community. In my previous posts, I sought your views on including minorities at the workplace and received some excellent perspectives.

Parek: (CEO) “Lots of organizations are now addressing the issue of inclusion at the workplace. We are way behind. Heard Ernest Corp is sponsoring this year’s Pride March and Wonton Limited is running a campaign to raise awareness about LGBTIQ issues. It is time we got started”.

Swasti: (HR leader) “Yes, I agree. When I go to industry forums like CASTA and INNINGS these days the discussions are only about diversity & inclusion. Everyone is talking about it. It is trending.”

Dinesh: (Operations Head) “What is making these companies act on inclusion now? Isn’t it a given – hygiene factor?”

Swasti: “They want to be seen as a great employer who values people. You the talent market is hot and trends show that the millennial generation join organizations who are engaging all communities and making the workplace safer. There is also immense competition to get eyeballs in the market. It reduces the effort you take to hire good talent”.

Parek: “So what must we do? We already have our regular policies and employee practices. Isn’t that enough? Should we sponsor some of these inclusion events?”

Swasti: “Why don’t we start a forum for the community? It can have regular chats and interactions. We can invite external consultants and run some videos! I am sure it will be well-received. Also, with the recent changes in the law, it is very timely.”

Dinesh: “What will it change? How will employees receive it? Do we have other such forums – I can’t recollect any that runs consistently. Who will run it? My teams are already stretched and can’t afford to pick up more work.”

Parek: “The forum sounds like a good idea. Come on Dinesh – this is for the greater good of the organization. You must be able to find time for this.”

Dinesh: “Isn’t this a HR ownership?”

Swati rolls her eyes. “Not again, Dinesh. The business needs to participate. Everything can’t be solved by HR”, say says.

Parek realizes that this needs more thought and asks to reconvene the discussion at a a later point.

How do you read the situation? Is forming a forum the first step? What advice can you offer Parek and his team? What must be the fundamental steps for the organization to take before forming a forum?

Share your views here.

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