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Five steps to promote diversity at work

10 September: Writing for ICAEW’s Financial Services Faculty, consultant Sonya Dreizler covers different ways we can think and recognise our privilege to better promote diversity in the workplace.

What if you could broaden your network? What if you could have access to all of the top talent, not just who you know and who they know? What if you could generate fresh business ideas and increase the reach of your work? 

Let’s get pragmatic and outline steps you can take today, to diversify our networks. 

Diversity comes in many forms - age, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, gender, race, ethnicity, pregnancy and parental status, religion, class, immigration status, and others. 

Here, I’ll be focusing on gender, racial, and ethnic diversity. However, I encourage you to expand your networks in as many ways as possible. These suggestions are primarily for white men, since they hold most of the positions of power, though some tips may be helpful for people from ethnic minorities and women. 

During an ICAEW webinar on 29 September 2020, we’ll discuss these steps in more detail, and give phrases and tips you can implement. For more information or to sign up, click here

Step 1- Stop. 

Stop assuming your lived experience is the same as others. To create a diverse and inclusive network, this is a major mindset you will have to notice and control.  

Step 2 – Listen.

Seek out women, black and other people of colour, and women of colour especially, who readily share their experiences with bias and discrimination. Listen to and/or read their perspectives seeking to understand, not to compare or respond. Please don’t ask or expect people from underrepresented groups to educate you for free about the oppression they’ve experienced. 

Step 3 – Pause.  

Pause the urge to respond with your input to everything you see or hear (this helps with the listening step). Pause your thoughts to review your reaction when you hear about an underrepresented person’s experience with discrimination or bias. 

Step 4 – Amplify. 

Amplify the voices of your under-represented colleagues. Amplify the voices of women, black, Asian, Indian and people of other ethnic minorities on social media by sharing their work.  

Step 5 – Advocate. 

Advocate for adding more voices from under-represented groups to decision-making meetings. If people of colour and women are not in the meetings, be the voice in the room that advocates for their needs. Or even better, advocate for more seats at the decision-making table so women, people of colour, and especially women of colour can speak for themselves. 

A longer version of this article is available on the Financial Service Faculty web pages here

For information and best practice guidance on the different areas of diversity, helping you to educate, support and raise awareness, join ICAEW Diversity Community for free.