“The target is not men, it is sexist patriarchy. It is not the elite, it is the ignorant. It is not heterosexuals, it is homophobia. It is not the old, it is those who disregard the young. The target is not white people, it is white supremacy.”
Every business is different and it’s difficult to prescribe a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to optimising inclusion in the workplace. For example, a Chinese restaurant may not need provisions for celebrating Passover. But on the other hand, if its staff are exclusively Jewish, it’s potentially alienating the very clientele it seeks to attract through unintentionally exclusive policies.
Despite this, don’t be afraid to advocate and recommend implementing social change policies and procedures with staff. Infrastructural D&I systems are simply paramount to the exposure, growth and success of a business and its people. Even if it may not concern them, you’ll be creating awareness for an ideal workplace, consequently making it easier for those who feel that they are not being accommodated.
Don’t shut down conversations that need to happen in fear that you’ll offend or by taking offence. Otherwise we can never dismantle oppressive systems. Instead we build respect and spread love through allyship and advocacy, which in turn, builds and maintains a diverse talent pool.
There will always be some people who - regardless of the law, science, public opinion or workplace policy – inexplicably reject uniqueness and seek to punish difference. Be prepared for your new inclusive culture to put you directly at odds with these people and for the tough conversations that may follow.
Because being uncomfortable drives change.