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Employee voices now considered vital in the quest for diversity

DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION: Diversity and inclusion are back at the top of mind for many HR teams and business leaders, but the buck does not stop with them alone. That’s the opinion of Microsoft Singapore’s HR Lead Lynn Dang, who is featured in Chief of Staff Asia’s recent research paper into diversity and inclusion strategies in 2023.

Employee voices now considered vital in the quest for diversity

“Inclusion sits with the whole organisation,” she says. “That’s where leaders and employees need to start to say – that each one of us is accountable and intentional about our diversity and inclusion journey. Each one of us can make a commitment.”

The concept of “allyship”, across both staff who identify as minorities, and their colleagues, is also gaining more ground. This allows both employers and employees to become more “intentional” about the way they manage their teams on a daily basis. Making everyone feel included also improves employee engagement. This results in a friendlier workplace culture and a more positive employee experience needed to boost everyone’s morale, satisfaction, and productivity.

The power of the affinity group

Proactive organisations are further leveraging the power of employee resource groups, also known as affinity groups, to play pivotal roles in strengthening communications and connections among the workforce.

Employee resource groups have emerged in the workplace as a standard component of diversity and inclusion initiatives. Bentley University in the US has reported that nearly 90% of all Fortune 500 companies have such groups within their workforces.

For many organisations, the benefits of employee resource groups have evolved from the primary intention, which was to provide a forum in which members who share common interests, issues, or concerns could meet to discuss. Instead, the groups are now also impacting an organisation’s strategic diversity and inclusion efforts in recruitment, talent retention, mentoring, leadership development, marketing, and customer relations.

Landor & Fitch, a global brand and design consulting firm also operating in Southeast Asia, knows particularly well how encouraging employees to participate in diversity and inclusion transformation can result in sustainable action.

“To Landor & Fitch, diversity and inclusion is not measured by percentage points or statistics; it is either 100% or nothing,” Janice Siu, Managing Director for Asia-Pacific business development, tells Chief of Staff Asia. “We always say that the moment a person does not feel like they are being treated equally, we have failed, and that there is work to do to stop the problem.”

She shares how Building to Belong, one of Landor & Fitch’s key people-centric programmes, is making a difference for diverse employees and allies. “In early 2022, a group of Asia-Pacific leaders started setting up a gender equality and diversity network, as we believe that people are central to our business, and the key to our success,” she says. “Through this network, we are able to drive awareness on gender equality within Landor & Fitch, create a trusted and connected regional community of women, and provide further support to them through meaningful events and programmes.

Building To Belong is a global network originated from our people (HR) team. The purpose is to engage our people who are passionate about diversity. This is an employee-led group with members from around the world, representing 10% of our workforce,” Siu adds.

 

Read the full report here.

Related articles:

How workplace inequality grew more apparent during the pandemic

Showcasing the real benefits behind diversity and inclusion in 2023

“Improve D&I or I’m out”: Staff driving inclusion agendas

Beyond the pandemic: how diversity and inclusion policies are set to surge

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