South Africans are no strangers to the topic in general, but diversity and inclusion remains a challenging task to address in the workplace. Talking about our difference from an ethnic, age, background or cultural perspective can cause tension, which is why we tend to shy away from important conversations.
At all levels of an organisation, being able to have these difficult conversations in a respectful, sensitive and open-minded manner is crucial. Not only does it allow for people to understand and empathise with one another, but embracing new and different people within an organisation supports the development of a more more cohesive, collaborative and engaged culture.
It does away with outdates modes of working and thinking, and makes room for fresh, diverse perspectives that, at the end of the day, put businesses in a better position to be able to solve modern-day challenges, remain relevant, and perform at their peak.
We’ve discussed the topic of Diversity and Inclusion at length over on the Awakening Excellence blog, where we include invaluable commentary from Devashnie Singh, Chief People Officer: South Africa at Grey Advertising Ltd/UK, as well as Marcel Kobilski, Divisional Director Human Resources at the City Lodge Hotel Group.
I encourage you to engage with this topic in depth, and not simply as a tick-box exercise; for individuals and businesses operating in a country as historically steeped in racial and gender-related tension as South Africa, it’s vital that we start to do the work in our personal and professional capacities to move forward in positive ways, and embrace one another’s differences.
As ever, I look forward to hearing your take.
Dr Mariam Sha,
MD at Awakening Excellence