EXCLUSIVE: Warner Bros Discovery urges employers to create a sense of belonging to retain staff

employersEmployee Benefits Live 2022: Employers should create learning environments, opportunities to make mistakes and be consciously inclusive, said Asif Sadiq MBE, senior vice president and head of diversity, equity and inclusion at Warner Bros Discovery.

Sadiq’s keynote, ‘Diversity, equality and inclusion: embedding equality and inclusion to truly reap the benefits’ opened the first day of Employee Benefits Live 2022 on Wednesday 5 October. He has held many roles in the diversity, equity and inclusion space, including senior executive ones at Adidas, The Telegraph and EY Financial Services. In his current job at Warner Bros Discovery, he focuses on driving the business’ agenda around diversity.

Sadiq explained that no one misses out as a result of diversity and that when employees feel like they belong, they can be themselves. “Creating a sense of belonging helps to achieve goals and retain staff. It’s not hard to create this, we just need to focus on what matters. It’s the morally right thing to do to have diversity, equity and inclusion strategies in place, and often businesses with a more diverse workforce generate more income. It can be a critical element to drive success.”

He added that diversity can drive profits and that what employers embed on a team level can drive change.

“People care about their work environments and what it means for them. Small adjustments can help as well as creating psychological safety in the workplace. Sometimes those at the top of businesses don’t want to say the wrong thing so they step back, but it’s important to listen in conversations, be aware of what questions you’re asking and be mindful of any unintentional micro-aggressions,” he said.

Sadiq concluded by encouraging employers and employees to find their personal reason to be more comfortable driving change. He explained that privileges should be acknowledged and used to support those not in the room for conversations, not apologised for.