When we talk about diversity, it’s all about relationships, says Bronwyn Weaver of Q4 Impact Group.
Weaver recently presented a three-part webinar series for the Ontario Road Builders’ Association on Welcoming Diversity and Inclusion in our Workforce. The first of the three segments was on generational diversity and inclusion. Part two is on gender diversity and inclusion and part three is on racial and cultural diversity and inclusion.
“Take this moment to decide that we are going to spend time and resources on enabling our people to really work on the relationships, because then the results will follow,” explained Weaver.
“This human interaction, this is what creates connection and that connection enables people to feel safe and secure. This nurtures self-esteem and confidence and provides that sense of justice that people are looking for.”
She said all business owners have a lot of change to manage since COVID-19 hit in 2020.
“Managing the change, dictated by technology, the economic situation that is evolving right in front of us because of what has happened in 2020, we’ve got a lot of change to cheerfully manage,” said Weaver. “We can either be cheerful, which is the way I sort of describe the halo effect, or we can approach it differently in a negative way and we’ll see a difference in the results.”
Research and scientific information shows having a diverse group of individuals makes for better decisions.
“The instances where you’ve got a more diverse group of opinions, insights, experiences, that’s going to be better for the organization in the long-term,” she noted.
Engagement is also key.
“If we can have a highly engaged company culture, we’re going to be focused on our mission, what we want to accomplish. People are going to see what they need to align with,” she said.
“They will feel like the company is their company and that’s when you really see beautiful results. If people feel isolated, they feel out of touch with the way decisions are being made, then they’re not going to be happy. They’re just surviving it and maybe they’re not going to be bringing their very best. So have this discussion about how we’re all different, how we need to really hear each other.”
Leadership needs to embrace these concepts, she added.
“The idea of humility it is pretty fundamental,” said Weaver. “The idea that we can learn from others and that we can expose our own selves and honestly and transparently, be open to building relationships.”
It is necessary to make sure everybody is clear about the company’s mission.
“I hope this has helped lay some groundwork that success in the workplace is going to be being clear about that mission, clear about the direction of what you want to accomplish in your company, within your work team,” Weaver noted.
“That clarity will help align everyone and then create this safe place to be able to begin to build real relationships. You have to have relationships that are built on mutual respect.”
She challenged everyone on the webinar to think about how they care about people in their organizations.
“How are you building in the buffer within your organizations to allow people the time in our busy lives to be able to really build solid relationships that embrace our differences,” she asked, adding planning is essential.
“We know that this change is happening, but oftentimes we’re just not taking the time to really do the planning so that we can avoid conflict. We need to be building in that space for new people to come into our organizations. We need to be preparing a place for them.”
Follow the author on Twitter @DCN_Angela.