The power of inclusion: how to nurture diversity in your team

Helena Lee
·3-min read
Photo credit: Courtesy of June Sarpong, Pragya Agarwal, Michelle King and Laura Bates. Pragya Agarwal portrait by Simon Songhurst
Photo credit: Courtesy of June Sarpong, Pragya Agarwal, Michelle King and Laura Bates. Pragya Agarwal portrait by Simon Songhurst

From Harper's BAZAAR

In the second of our Bazaar At Work Week events, held in association with UBS and Porsche, June Sarpong, Pragya Agarwal, Michelle King and Laura Bates joined a panel discussion chaired by Helena Lee, the features director of Bazaar, to share ideas about the power of inclusion and contribute advice on how to nurture diversity within your team. Here are four suggestions from our panellists of what we can do to create a more inclusive environment.

Photo credit: Rise Media
Photo credit: Rise Media

Unlearn our biases

Pragya Agarwal, behavioural and data scientist, and author of ‘Sway: Unravelling Unconscious Bias’

“We have learned biases, so we can unlearn them as well. We all have a responsibility to educate ourselves and be open-minded. Focus on the impact of our actions and not the intent. When we focus on the intent, we centre on ourselves and become defensive, but if we focus on the impact, we step into somebody else’s shoes and understand their perspective on the world, which we might not have considered.”

Be authentic

Laura Bates, founder of the Everyday Sexism Project and author of ‘Men Who Hate Women’

“‘It’s not enough to have a committee, a tick-box talk or invite your employees to an unconscious-bias training. If there isn’t the diversity or variety of perspectives in the company DNA, then it’s meaningless. We should try to move away from a ‘one size fits all’ solution. When we talk about processes and the workplace, we should be aware that we may be missing huge swathes of people.”

Practise allyship

June Sarpong, broadcaster, author and co-founder of the Women: Inspiration and Enterprise network

“White women can be very effective allies to people of colour because they understand what discrimination can feel like, but they also understand what privilege feels like. They have proximity to privilege as well as having their own. When we talk about the fight for gender equality, it’s also an intersectional discussion; it’s not just about promoting one kind of woman. It’s important to understand the role everyone has to play, and where they are in the ladder of hierarchy of inclusions. This fight for equality is not just for people like yourself, but also for those who are lower down on that ladder.”

Move to values-based leadership

Michelle King, gender-equality expert, former director of inclusion at Netflix, author and podcast host of ‘The Fix’

“We need to move our focus beyond diversity and inclusion. For me, it’s about creating environments where people can be themselves, and be valued for that. Particularly during the pandemic, we need leaders who understand the challenges that each individual has, the different identities we have, the different needs we have. We should create environments that help employees to manage their workloads. Covid has disrupted the embedded prototype of success, where leaders had this command-and-control style, ignored the person and treated everybody the same. Managers now should be able to coach, delegate, empathise and collaborate. We should put the pressure on organisations to have leaders who can connect and engage their workforce in a different way.”

Buy a ticket to watch the full panel discussion, available for download until 31 December, here.

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