An organization, Rasp Inc., is keen to initiate plans for making diversity & inclusion a key theme for the year. While their global headquarters has a strong practice for including minorities, there isn’t a forum to get marginalized employees to feel included. They decide to engage an expatriate Joshua who has come over on a short-term assignment to India, to lead the practice. Here is an extract of the conversation between senior leaders in the organization. Reflect on it and share your views.
James: (CEO) “How is the response to Joshua’s visit and address?”
Pammi: (HR leader) “Well, not the best. We just have a handful who have signed up”.
James: (looking dismayed): “Why? Joshua is a respected leader and this is our opportunity to get started with our diversity and inclusion plans. What do you think are the reasons?”
Samit: (Business Director) “I guess the topic is relevant but does Joshua represent our community of marginalized staff? There is a fear of being outed if they attend such a session. Even though allies will be there, just being present can send other signals”.
James: “Paras, what do think?”
Pammi: “I wouldn’t think so. We have a transparent culture and people know we are supportive. We have communities already for working mothers and people with disabilities. So this is another forum.”
Samit: “Is that your understanding or do we know truly from focus groups and surveys? Every forum isn’t the same. Are marginalized staff aware that we wouldn’t out them? Are they aware that their performance rating will not be biased, basis who they are?”
Pammi: “Hmm. You have a point. We have done focus groups and people do expect such forums. It is nice to get people together.”
James: “I am confused. How must we begin? What must we do and who must lead this initiative?”
Over to you.
What is the issue on hand? What must the organization do to get started? Is it a good decision to have an expatriate address staff on the subject of minorities and inclusion? What are the implications? How else can the organization progress?
I look forward to your views. Share them here.