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Why do businesses have to work so hard at being inclusive?

  • - Written by Fujitsu's Karen Thomson

    While we are all unique, there are some similarities which connect us. We all want to be cared for, respected, and valued, regardless of who we are.

    The nature of inclusion means it can be difficult to measure. This may explain why we often see a focus on diversity over inclusion. Diversity representation is much easier to track, measure and set goals for.

    Recent research agrees with this. While companies are making progress in the representation of diverse talent throughout their workforce, they are still struggling with inclusion.

    Having a considered inclusive work environment is built on inclusive leadership, values and accountability.

    It has foundations on equality including fairness of opportunity, free from discrimination or bias. There is nothing ground-breaking in that list of building blocks, so I am asking myself: why do businesses have to work so hard at being inclusive?

    Being inclusive is sometimes more challenging than it should be and there can be many barriers to being an ally.

    As Carolina Milanesi explores, these barriers include being concerned about saying the wrong thing. This includes using incorrect or outdated language; and generally being unsure whether you are doing right.

    The responsibility is on all of us to care for others; to respect and value all our colleagues and consciously create an inclusive environment regardless of the barriers.

    Being an ally to minority groups is a continuous life-long process of understanding the lived experiences of others, building meaningful relationships, and constantly taking the opportunity to grow and learn.

    To help allies be proactive and to support their continuous learning, this International Day against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia on 17th May, we promoted four allyship guides.

    These allyship guides give an overview of lesbian, gay, bi and trans identity, cover common misconceptions and specific things you can do to be an ally.

    If we all take it upon ourselves to be an ally to others, we will build inclusive workplaces for everyone.

    And until we all do this, we will not realise the true business benefits and will continue to focus on diversity representations, instead of how we can create true inclusion.

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