The key to Inclusion and Successful Diversity is Listening Not Policy

Louise Nealon


January 1, 2020

With Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) an important keystone in many corporate organisations, the impact of corporate support on Government policy and legislation to afford equality to citizens cannot be underestimated.

For example, the recently won Marriage Equality legislation in Australia was certainly greatly helped by the support of corporate Australia, after a 20-year grassroots campaign by tireless volunteers.  With over 2200 organisations large and small and from all sectors publicly supporting the campaign and championing inclusion, diversity and equality, the message to the Government was that the time has come and. Both in Australia and across the world, there are more corporate floats than ever taking part in Pride and Mardi Gras parades.

But while we showcase our sequins shimmying down the parade route and celebrate both hard-won rights and highlight inequalities yet to be corrected, we need to ensure that we as organisations, as employers, as a community are not doing lip service and externally supporting inclusion but making sure we bring it to life in our workplaces every day.

And the best way to do this is not by writing a policy that sits on our websites or in our annual reports. It is by listening and recognition. Firstly, recognise who is excluded from whole and present participation in your workforce. Identify the groups or individuals that face unique challenges. Whether that is because of gender, sexuality, race, religion or the fact they are parents, carers or have other responsibilities outside of work, be aware of who needs support. It may not be as obvious as you expect.

Then listen. Ask them about their challenges, their needs and what will help them in the workplace, not just to do a great job but to be themselves and bring their whole self to work. The most successful inclusion practices are developed together.  
For anyone, and particularly marginalised people, the most important thing is to see them and hear them.

This is certainly the case in Sydney as 300,000 people are expected to line the streets to watch 12,000 participants celebrate Mardi Gras while millions more tune into the live stream and television coverage. Let’s keep that visibility going long after the glitter has been swept from the streets.

Louise Nealon

About Louise Nealon

Award-winning Communications Director, Louise Nealon, helps purpose-led organisations and minority groups that support humanity, to be visible and heard – in order to create positive change in the world.

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