Karen Thomson: Fostering diversity and inclusion in the year ahead

Moving into the new year is a fantastic opportunity for organisations to continue building on the progress they have made in 2019, but also start new initiatives, and come up with new solutions.

For employers to get on the right path to deliver tangible results in diversity and inclusion, they should align these programmes with the board’s agenda. Over the last four years, diversity and inclusion has grown significantly, and the majority of organisations now have dedicated individuals and teams. However, while great strides have been made, employers will need to start actually putting what they have been talking about into practice, and show results.

Making a positive cultural change cannot happen overnight, but by harnessing that ‘new year, new us’ mentality, organisations can take this opportunity to leave behind unhelpful habits or behaviours, and old ways of doing things, to enter the new year with a positive mindset.

Fostering a sense of belonging in the workplace will become a key focus for organisations looking to move the diversity and inclusion agenda forward in 2020 and beyond.

The first step in the journey has been about reviewing employers’ hiring and promoting practices through different diversity lenses. Recruiting diverse talent will remain a focus for businesses, but the next step will see a much bigger emphasis on fostering inclusion throughout the workplace. Organisations should really be looking at creating a sense of belonging and whether individuals are in an environment that helps them to genuinely succeed. After all, if individuals do not feel like they truly belong within an organisation, they will not stay long-term.

For diversity and inclusion to have a real impact, then, it has to be authentic, and much more than a box-ticking exercise. As such, organisations will need to think about how they can keep the momentum going all year, and properly align their diversity and inclusion strategy with the long-term business goals at the board level.

Karen Thomson, diversity and inclusion lead at Fujitsu UK and Ireland