This post was written by Tanya Shrivastava, Program Marketing Specialist
The most recent and much talked about organizational furor across the globe is Diversity and Inclusion in the workplace and it has taken the world of talent acquisition by storm. Every organization is putting a lot of time, effort and resources to design inclusion strategies intrinsically, but a productive and holistic solutions are still in Sisyphean.
Skills for Change hosted the 11th Annual Diversity@Work Conference on November 24 and as pioneers in responding to shifting immigration and workplace trends, took lead during this pivotal moment to delve deeper in trying to understand how implementing diversity and inclusion at workplaces can be more fulsome and approbative. The conference, trendsetting in nature, was revered by panelists who are subject matter experts in their respective domains, who shared their insights and perspectives, and enlightened the attendees with rational discussions and visionary thoughts. The workshops were craftly designed around quintessential topics which extrapolates and eventually concurs to the moonshot that Diversity and Inclusion in the workplace is a longstanding maxim which requires a change of lens in terms of analysis, infrastructure, and norms.
The first set of workshops covered topics including Anti-Black Racism in the Workplace, Discrimination in the Workplace and Remote Work, where the panelists addressed pedantic incidences of how racial equity is a clear business imperative and with shift in workplace dynamics, it is unacceptable to find vague inanity about organizational policies. We spend so much of our lives at work and if we are experiencing constant distress from discrimination, that is a long time of ongoing exposure. The unfortunate part is that most employees are not forthcoming out of fear of reprisal when these acts of inequalities ensue. The expert panelists stressed on the fact that it is more critical now, than ever, for the employees to be overtly aware of their rights against acts of discrimination in any form because the consequences of this can be grim and protracted. A pertinent discussion on how industry leaders are constantly evolving their structure and practises to build innovative and inclusive organizations and that remote work can be their silver bullet.
The second set of workshops offered yet another set of futuristic topics like Data Driven Inclusion, Future of Work and Employment and Equity-Seeking Youth. Our revered panel speakers pivoted the spotlight on the need of the hour for organisations who are looking to develop and nurture their diversity and inclusion initiatives, to look beyond opinions and circumstantial statistics, as diversity in an organization is more than a mere headcount. Data, on the other hand, can be a particularly important tool to factually understand and shape the changes required for a more inclusive workplace. On the other hand, a major focal point of consideration was also about how the advent of automation and artificial intelligence is one of the massive technological disruption, at the same time these cutting-edge technologies will have a far-reaching consequence on workplace dynamics.
It was interesting for the attendees to witness how these topics were intertwined yet so repelling in nature. Nevertheless, the foremost seminal discussion was based on the fact that we depend on our youth to build and support the economy but today as youth finish school and begin to work, they are usually squeezed by stagnant incomes, high cost and eventually get stuck in temporary or precarious jobs-translating into a delay in their overall economic growth and development. It is important to analyze the barriers to youth employment & believe in a vision of a collaborative ecosystem with full participation of our younger generation.
The final lap of the conference was collared on the luncheon panel moderated by CEO Surranna Sandy, dissecting on how the year 2020 has been exceptional in all senses and what are the lessons that we learnt from the tempest historical disruptions happening so far. The conference ended on a very intellectual note by CEO Surranna Sandy on how Diversity and Inclusion is not just a topic, it is a habit that needs to be inculcated deep into the organisational roots. It is important to focus on intervention and not just bias reduction. It is important to foster the culture of unhinged communication across the organization so that the focus lies on workplace issues and does not boil down to just person-specific in nature. Change is the only constant and we must ensure that it’s efficient and robust!