Inclusion Agenda

FCA thought paper that emphasises the importance of data in driving impactful D&I change but with the warning that while data provides an essential benchmark, it does not lead to change on its own. Insights need to be drawn from the data and factored into an analytical framework for an organisation to fully understand where to direct resources and leadership attention. Organisations need to capture more than diversity metrics – focusing on indicators that point to an inclusive culture is just as important.

BCG encourages firms to continue to keep DE&I issues firmly on the agenda as rather than being a distraction, continuing to build diverse and inclusive organisations is a critical part of the solution to the challenges firms are currently facing. The main goal for companies is to continue devoting management attention on DE&I issues and to incorporate them into everything that the company does rather than run as a separate initiative.

The authors make the case that increasing diversity by itself is insufficient – organisations must also enhance inclusion, which they define as “the degree to which employees are embraced and enabled to make meaningful contributions.”

This brief post introduces a simple framework for measuring inclusion which takes into account both ‘enterprise perception’ i.e. views on the fairness of the organisation, alongside ‘personal experience’ – i.e. the sense of individual belonging, authenticity and being valued.


Inclusive Leadership

The term authenticity is often linked to being an inclusive leader – but it comes with the risk of being seen as both cliched, and potentially rigid. Business is never static and the pandemic has doubled down on the pace of change. If an authentic leader is seen as someone who has a fixed sense of who they are and how they operate – could they be in trouble?


In this article, Herminia Ibarra rehabilitates the term by taking it back to its original Greek meaning, ‘“authenteos” – that which you do with your own hands’ – in other words, being authentic is about learning, becoming your own person, experimenting, changing and a lifelong process. Perfect for an inclusive leader.


Concise article on the importance of choosing the right words in a crisis. Outlines how using short sentences, analogies, storytelling and the Rule of 3 can help ensure people understand the message you’re trying to convey.

Rich Lesser and Martin Reeves, BCG

An article from the Boston Consulting Group arguing that resilience is no longer a theoretical concern. C19 has pulled it front and centre along with a need for firms and governments to demonstrate their values and purpose. There will be no ‘return to normal’ – leaders will have to adapt to the cultural shift that C19 has generated.

HR and D&I

A brief but clear reminder of the value of Reverse Mentoring from retention to enhancing the understanding of difference. It also has some useful tips on getting it right.

Ensuring there was joint accountability for inclusion was a key strategy for Microsoft. In 2016, they tied components of executive compensation to internal diversity and inclusion goals. More recently, the company incorporated inclusion into its performance review process for every employee.

This resource list from the ICF, one of the leading coaching bodies, is a helpful collation of materials and guidance. It provides a useful reference point for coaches, as well as helpful information for HR professionals when considering how to adapt their use of coaches in the light of Covid-19.

Ways of Working

Chris Herd, CEO of Firstbase has written some fascinating blogs and tweet threads (@chris_herd) about the future of work, in particular how remote working is likely to revolutionise how we do what we do. Herd describes how Covid-19 has accelerated shifts in how employees and organisations engage with one another and the affect this will have on how we all live. This short article provides 65 top line trends he thinks we need to be watching out for.

A call for business leaders to take the opportunity to learn from what has worked well during the crisis and to question the efficiency of pre-C19 ways of working, with a particular emphasis on navigating a better work-life balance.

The “IBM Work From Home Pledge” is interesting because it moves beyond general principles into explicitly outlining what it means in practice to work well from home. The pledge gets really specific about the ‘how’ – for example when describing working flexibly, being family sensitive and checking in on one another.

Wellbeing

This article describes how ‘our always-on world’ was already fuelling a burn-out crisis – and this has only been compounded by the extreme pressures of Covid-19. Working from home, health worries, grief, home-schooling, loneliness, over-working, online meeting fatigue, lack of autonomy and job insecurity all combined to turn acute stress into chronic stress.

In this piece, burnout is positioned as an organisational problem that requires an organisational solution – and it’s one leaders can’t afford to ignore. It advises focusing on ‘upstream interventions’ – instead of relying on self-care or wellbeing tactics to fix a systemic problem. This includes addressing unsustainable workloads, being open about mental health and developing the empathy of managers.


This article makes explicit the costs of failing to pay attention to the mental health of your people. It outlines the potential consequences of uncertainty and identifies some clear, specific steps that leaders and managers can take to mitigate the impacts of stress, anxiety and isolation.

The unrelenting series of events Black Americans have witnessed before and after the killing of George Floyd is racial trauma and the author outlines how organisations can support the mental health and wellbeing of Black employees by providing them with a safe place to talk and bringing in a skilled expert in racial trauma to help them process what they are experiencing and feeling.

Anti-Racism

Produced by leading law firm, Travers Smith – this guidance booklet focus on what it means in practice to be ally to Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) people within and beyond the workplace. It establishes 10 clear steps for allies to move from positive intent to action – as one contributor, organisational facilitator Bilal Harry Khan points out, “To me, ally is a verb, not a noun.”

Illustrated with powerful quotes from BAME contributors throughout – this is an excellent reference for those who want to step up and do more than just talk a good game. It also brings together some clear guidance on terminology and signposts to other useful resources.

Catalyst – Sheila Brassel, Joy Ohm and Dnika J. Travis

Research was conducted by Catalyst into the factors that positively change the workplace experience for people of colour. The article describes the negative impact of bias, discrimination and the costs of being ‘on guard’ at work, whilst also showing how leaders can help to change this.

Leaders who display allyship and curiosity help to reduce the need for people of colour to feel on guard, which increases inclusion and that in turn affects the intent to stay at the organisation. The research outlines what this means in practice and also cautions against ‘performative allyship’ either by individual leaders or the organisation as a whole.


Kira Hudson Banks and Richard Harvey, Harvard Business Review

This podcast lets us into the lived experiences of four Black women at work and how they have noticed employers respond in the last 12 months. Their engagement in workplace matters, how this is received, their reflections are captured here. After their 4 x insights there is an illuminating set of observations and recommendations for all of us from Stephanie Creary, an identity and diversity scholar at Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

Open Mind

This short article tells the story of NASA having to cancel the first all-female space walk because they didn’t have the right size suits. It uses this example to illustrate the need to be deliberately inclusive and intersectional in designing workplaces and systems. The author specifically focuses on the need to pay attention to the ways that women inhabit and experience the world – and it shows how environments are frequently configured in a way that discourages their active participation.

Although academic in tone and focus – it has some interesting potential applications to the workplace and how it “takes intentional investment in making sure the spaces we inhabit and work within are suited for all of us.”


This article includes details about a study showing a generational shift in how young people view their sexuality. Just over 50 per cent of 18- to 23-year olds, who are known as Generation Z, say they are “only attracted to those of the opposite sex”, according to polling by the research group Ipsos Mori. What can this mean for how we include colleagues with these evolving trends in their personal lives?

Kira Hudson Banks’ Tedtalk applies the lessons of #MeToo to #BlackLivesMatter. Neither are about ‘bad apples’ or isolated incidences, instead the ‘barrel is rotten’ and we need to tackle the systemic sexism and racism that leads many of us to turn a blind eye. There is a call to stop victim blaming, to humanise the people experiencing discrimination and to take action to dismantle structural racism.