The topics of diversity and inclusiveness, are receiving a lot of social attention. At Digital Power, we also want to contribute to this social change. Furthermore, as an organisation, we see the benefits of a diverse and inclusive organisation. What are these benefits and how do you identify where there is room for improvement? You can read about our experiences in this article.
This is what we are already doing in terms of diversity and inclusivity
We are doing a good job on the theme of gender equality and we are proud of that. 35 percent of our consultants are women, whereas the average in the IT sector is just 18 percent. To inspire more women to work with data, we participated in Equals' Role Model campaign and four female colleagues shared their experiences in an interview with Consultancy.nl.
To be aware of prejudice, our colleagues can follow a leadership programme led by Barbara Klaaysen. They are given the opportunity to talk about their experiences with gender (discrimination) and leadership. In addition, the Bias Brothers offer us an annual course on prejudice in the broadest sense of the word.
We are aware that there are many more steps to be taken and we want to remain critical of the themes of diversity and inclusivity within our organisation. There is still much to share, learn and improve.
Our CEO therefore asked the organisation in his monthly update who wanted to start working on this. Despite the fact that many of our consultants are busy with assignments and other projects, a project group, also known as the 'diversity group', quickly emerged. But where do you start? And how do you find out where the opportunities for improvement lie?
What are the benefits of a diverse organisation?
By consciously working on these themes, we not only want to make a positive contribution to society. We also believe that diversity makes us stronger. It offers a wealth of different insights that we can bring together to arrive at better solutions and decisions. This benefits everyone's personal qualities and those of the organisation.
Of course, we also think it is important that everyone feels safe to be themselves and that they enjoy working at Digital Power. That is why we regularly evaluate what is already going well and determine which concrete actions we can take to make our organisation more diverse and inclusive. The first action was to define diversity and inclusiveness.
Our definition of diversity and inclusivity
We soon learned that everyone has a different interpretation of the term diversity. We merged the overlapping elements of our personal definitions, resulting in this:
‘At Digital Power, we see diversity as the awareness of differences in (in)visible characteristics of people. We accept and respect that these differences exist, everyone is unique.’
Of course, it is not only important to be aware of these differences, but also to treat everyone equally. That is why we have chosen to also focus on inclusivity:
'The inclusion of all individuals, whereby the differences in (in)visible characteristics of persons play no role. This involves equality and everyone having access to the same possibilities and resources.’
Diversity and inclusivity are linked and have an important interaction. At the moment there is a lot of attention in society for diversity, with a focus on things like certain quotas, such as a women's quota. In combination with little inclusion, this can cause the revolving door effect. Much attention is paid to diversity, but too little to inclusiveness, which makes employees dissatisfied and quickly leave the organisation. The reverse occurs when an organisation is very inclusive, but not diverse. This can create a homogeneous group that is not open to people who are different.
With our approach, we hope to step by step become increasingly diverse and inclusive as an organisation. Of course, that sounds like a nice goal, but how do we know how diverse and inclusive we are now? And what steps can we take to improve this? First of all, we must be aware that we do not know or are aware of everything.
What are our blind spots?
To take further steps, we must become aware of the blind spot for problems that we ourselves do not experience. That is why we seek as many insights and perspectives from others as possible. These can help us determine where our blind spots lie and what actions are needed to become more inclusive.
What specific actions can we take to become more diverse and inclusive?
To uncover our blind spots, we are going to gather as many insights as possible. For example, we spoke to a former colleague who is closely involved in a large-scale diversity project at his new employer. We spoke to an external colleague who is in a wheelchair and one of our colleagues told us more about diversity and inclusivity at his client. In addition, we also keep each other informed of developments in society and we conduct our own research. Based on this, we have the following actions in mind:
- Making vacancy texts gender-neutral.
- Drawing up a (more extensive) code of conduct.
- Exploring the option to choose holidays other than Christian holidays.
- Drawing up a protocol for our customers in terms of diversity and inclusivity.
- Diversity and inclusiveness as a separate part of the onboarding of new colleagues.
- Requesting feedback in exit interviews about experiences with diversity and inclusivity.
- Changing our working language from Dutch to English, in order to be more inclusive for colleagues for whom Dutch is not their first language.
As we are at the beginning of this process, there is still a lot to do. More colleagues have since expressed their interest in the project. We will take many more steps in the future. One of these steps is looking for an external speaker who is specialised in this topic and who can offer the entire company an inspiration session. With this, we also hope to create awareness within Digital Power and impart knowledge to colleagues.
Inspired to work on diversity and inclusivity? Check out our 3 tips!
Tip 1 – Be aware of your own prejudices (we all have them)
Do you also want to contribute to a more diverse and inclusive organisation or society? It is good to be aware of your own prejudices. Although we would prefer not to have prejudices, it is a natural human reaction. Unfortunately, this sometimes gets in the way. We need to become aware of our biases so that we can be open to people who are different from ourselves. A good method for this is an Implicit Association Test.
Tip 2 – Know where your blind spot lies, do your research
Become aware of your blind spot. Actively ask about the experiences of others to empathise more with the problems others encounter. In this way, you can discuss diversity and inclusivity and you can take action on the problems that exist. Of course, it is also important to express yourself if you are experiencing problems with diversity and inclusiveness in the workplace so that others become aware of this and a change can be brought about.
Tip 3 – Start a project group to bring about change
Is there still little action being taken in this area within your company or at your employer? Then we recommend that you also start a project group with others who find this topic important. This not only improves diversity and inclusivity; it is also a way to contribute more to your organisation. Make sure that you involve the rest of the organisation with this project group to bring about change in this way. Ultimately, we all want a workplace where we are valued for who we are, where everyone has equal opportunities, and where we can learn from different perspectives.
This is an article by Mila van der Zwaag
Mila is a Customer Experience specialist at Digital Power. She has a background in Cognitive Psychology and likes to combine this knowledge about people and behaviour with data to arrive at the best solutions. In addition, she is passionate about diversity and inclusiveness and, in addition to other assignments, likes to contribute to a diverse and inclusive work environment.
Customer Experience Specialistmila.firstname.lastname@example.org
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