Reflecting on Pride, Diversity & Introducing Inclusion

While Pride month, diversity and all things LGBTQ+ are subjects very close to our hearts here at Clive, there appears to be an increasing concern surrounding the concept of “rainbow washing”; where businesses may be jumping on the bandwagon without making any meaningful change or practicing inclusiveness. Could this lead to the cheapening of a company’s image and more worryingly, Pride itself?

*above artwork by @hellomynameiswednesday.

It’s of course great that so many organisations are raising awareness and donating money, but shouldn’t it be authentic for it to really mean something? The involvement should not end after the Pride celebrations are over, but rather the whole area of Diversity & Inclusion, should be part of an organisation’s values and embraced throughout.

At our brand’s core we always strive to role-model an inclusive environment, where every employee feels able to bring their whole self to work and are comfortable sharing their full selves. (Even the weirdo in marketing who writes these blogs!).

Organisations must strive to destigmatise all issues surrounding wellbeing in the workplace by creating a culture where employees can comfortably disclose things, without fear of repercussions.

We get the best out of our employees where they feel included, supported and treated fairly. Here at Clive, we recognise that expressing one’s true self allows each and every employee to maximise their potential. In addition, we can clearly see that through having a diverse workforce, not only does this encourage sharing and innovation, it helps develop the individual skillsets, knowledge and perspective of our team as a collective.

With more and more research continuing to prove that companies with more diverse teams perform better financially. We’re asking what makes diverse teams so much smarter?

We recently worked on the Dell Technologies present ‘Innovation in Session’ event. Held at the Science Gallery, Dublin; it was designed to challenge thinking around Digital Transformation. Particularly how, by embracing diversity and inclusivity, as well as through innovating approaches to work, businesses can attract the right talent and cultivate a working environment that fosters progress.

In addition to engaging expert-led workshops, Kriti Sharma (artificial intelligence technologist, business executive and humanitarian) presented a fascinating keynote on “Diversity & Innovation in the Age of AI”. Kriti shared some very interesting insights into the significance that workplace diversity has in spurring innovation, progress and even machine learning.

She summarised by saying that “A diverse workforce will allow your teams to gain greater perspectives, allow for subjectivity and promote empathy in a positive and constructive manner. This enables your workforce to focus on the facts, as well as to process information more carefully and reinforce innovative behaviour.”

It’s vital that everyone in an organisation has a voice and are represented throughout. This goes beyond the obvious. Walton, Murphy and Ryan state that “walls lined with photos of senior executives that exclude women and people of colour may cause members of underrepresented groups to doubt their prospects”. A seemingly subtle oversight can have wider reaching implications.

Nahemow and Lawton’s research also shows that proximity and personal interactions contribute greatly to creating social bonds, which are the foundation of inclusiveness. So in the new world of remote working it’s going to be more important than ever to focus on combatting issues surrounding isolation.

So, what does this mean for the future of diversity in business?

For starters, it’ll lead to an increased global focus. It’s important that efforts don’t just take place in isolation, but instead are implemented across an entire organisation, regardless of region.

Forbes state that “creating a safe, non-judgemental space for people to share their personal stories can create empathy and also a sense of belonging” and that “companies such as Facebook, Google and Airbnb do this well by bringing their employees together at large annual conferences, and creating a sense of shared vision“.

In fact, Clive have helped almost all of our clients at some point with their annual conference and internal communications events, including Virgin, BP and Irish Life!

You can find out more about cultivating employee engagement here and creating engaging kick off events for your organisation here.

In future, diversity in business will also become more customer-focused. Currently, most companies are still thinking in terms of talent retention and acquisition, but when they leverage diversity in their marketplace to produce solutions or products with underrepresented groups in mind – that’s when they’ll see real success.

This doesn’t end with recognising race, gender or sexuality either. If an employee dealing with a mental or physical health issue doesn’t receive the appropriate understanding, their productivity will certainly suffer. Organisations must strive to destigmatise all issues surrounding wellbeing in the workplace by creating a culture where employees can comfortably disclose things, without fear of repercussions. To do this, particularly as mental health issues are so prevalent in today’s workplaces, every employer should develop an education program that’ll provide support to those who need it. For employers who do this, it’ll mean good business. For employees who receive it; it’ll mean much more.

We’re proud to say that we work with a number of clients that champion Diversity and Inclusion within their business and it’s an area that Clive will continue to focus on in the future. Pride is something that we hold in our hearts and express in our behaviours every day. It’s a fundamental part of who we are as a business. As Einstein once said, ‘Excellence is not an act, but a habit’. So remember: Pride isn’t just for Christmas (well, a few months of summer), it’s about practicing inclusiveness and improving lives throughout the year.

Check out some of our involvement in D & I in celebrating pride & diversity, the importance of inclusiveness and some of our recent projects.

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