Here, Helena McGeorge, Member of the Institute’s Diversity and Inclusion Working Group, discusses an article on inclusion and authenticity in the workplace.
In a world where everything needs a policy, protocol or law, diversity and inclusion is dangerously close to becoming a box-ticking exercise rather than a natural initiative centred around open-mindedness and respect.
If the intentions behind the efforts are not genuine, we surely cannot expect much, if any, progress to be made.
Written by Kudzai Chigiji, FIA and FASSA, ‘Shall We Dance?’ is a compelling thought piece on how we can work towards an inclusive environment where people can truly be their authentic selves.
Through her own journey of self-acceptance and growth, Kudzai has come to truly appreciate what it means to live authentically and the importance of creating safe spaces for others to be their authentic selves.
Here is an excerpt from the full article (originally published in the Society of Actuaries The Actuary magazine in Aug/Sept 2018):
Given that inclusion does not seem to be common sense to everyone, we now have rules, protocol and even legislation around it. I wonder why something that is supposed to be completely natural—being an open-minded person who respects everyone, regardless of classification—has been engineered to the point that it feels almost unnatural. The outcome of having rules around diversity and inclusion is often a desperate, mad rush to tick the boxes. This leaves many spirits crushed and a wave of confusion, and results in little progress.
As a profession, we aim to serve the public’s best interest. But how can we deliver on this lofty goal if we cannot serve the best interests of all people with whom we interact on a daily basis?
According to research by McKinsey & Company, companies in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity are 35% more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians (full report here). The organisations for which we work can only benefit from truly inclusive work environments.
“Diversity is being invited to the party, inclusion is being asked to dance—and I don’t think that you can do one without the other”– Suki Sandhu¹
Don’t we all want to be asked to dance?
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