Diversity is being invited to the party, inclusion is being asked to dance

Written by: Emily on August 19, 2019
Tags: Careers, Inspiration, Meet the Members, Member News, Women in Tech

Last month we held our first regional summit made up of inspiring talks and innovative workshops, exclusively for the 22 organisations that make up our current membership network. The aim was for us all to share best practice relating to equality, diversity and inclusion. We actively encourage our members to reach out to one another and create lasting relationships, to help them learn and develop in these areas. Bringing together local, national and international organisations along with some of the leading lights in the tech sector felt like a big achievement. The room was buzzing, and whilst nobody danced, it certainly felt like a diverse and inclusive space!

Beckie Taylor with some of our proud members
Beckie Taylor with some of our proud members

One of the thought leaders we asked to deliver a session was Co-Founder of Tech Returners and the Reframe: Women in Tech Conference, Beckie Taylor, who ran a workshop for our members on ‘how to build an inclusive culture’. We were so inspired by Beckie’s workshop that we wanted to give our community access to a few of the learnings and key takeaways from her session…

What’s the difference between diversity and inclusion?

Beckie’s workshop opened with the distinction between diversity and inclusion, diversity being defined as understanding that every individual is unique and understanding the range of dimensions – including race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age, physical abilities, religious beliefs, political beliefs, or other ideologies. Inclusion is about unlocking the power of diversity within an organisation, ensuring that these different perspectives are brought to life and that everyone has a voice.

Members taking part in the workshop

Beckie emphasised that inclusion often leads to higher engagement,productivity, creativity, innovation and retention, so it’s importance should never be underestimated.

What steps are our members taking to create inclusive cultures? 

Throughout the exercise Beckie encouraged our members to think about their current approach to inclusivity and how they can improve on in this aspect internally. Here are just some examples of what our members are currently doing to create inclusive cultures in their organisations:

The main concerns expressed by our members during the session was that they wanted to create an environment that allowed people to have their own voice, feel comfortable and have a sense of belonging while balancing a fast-paced and growing company. Some of the ideas they came up with to deal with this were:

‘It’s not a tickbox exercise, and we don’t want people treading on eggshells’

Members taking part in the workshop

Achieving an inclusive culture takes time and effort; like they say Rome wasn’t built in a day! In order to create impact from within your company you’ve got to be clear on what you are trying to work towards, creating a plan and evaluating where you are and where you need to be. Beckie recommends following and implementing this process when trying to improve the inclusivity of your culture:

  1. Communicate
  2. Alignment with strategy
  3. Measure and track progress
  4. Celebrate successes
  5. Evaluate change

How we are helping our members create inclusive cultures? 

At InnovateHer we actively try to support our members in achieving their diversity and inclusivity goals through providing services like our Diversity and Inclusion ‘Health-Checks’ to help with setting clear objectives and defining a strategy, which also enables us to benchmark members progress throughout the year of membership

We provide regular workshops tailored to what our members need and their areas for improvement. We also have a growing database of consultants who can help with more bespoke pieces of work if required.

If you need help improving your diversity and inclusion initiatives at your organisation, find out more about what it means to be an InnovateHer member and get in touch.

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