• Mutsa Katomeni

Have Diversity and Inclusion Become Just Buzzwords?

X Company is an equal opportunity employer. Diversity and inclusion are essential elements of our culture. We are committed to fostering an environment where individual perspectives, backgrounds, and life experiences make the firm a great place to work and result in a more satisfying client experience.

Does this paragraph look familiar to you? I am sure you have seen it plenty of times on websites and job postings or you have even received a version of it from your employers as a memo at some point.

Over the past two to three years, diversity and inclusion have become a hot topic everywhere. A lot of organisations have made sincere and real efforts into making sure their work environment is not only a conducive place to work but is diverse and inclusive.

Then we have organisations on the other hand that claim to be pro equal opportunities but actually don’t do anything. We have experienced and heard stories of people who have been made to sit through long presentations about how the company aims to be more diverse and inclusive, create a friendlier work environment but nothing truly changes.

People remain overlooked, undervalued and continuously deal with bias behaviour and microaggressions.

This brings to question, how many companies that claim to be equal opportunity employers are ACTUALLY equal opportunity employers. There is pressure for companies that are well known or publicly listed to make real efforts because the public will hold them accountable, but what about small to medium-sized companies?

The companies that people do not know about unless they are associated with them. How do we hold them accountable because that is where the majority of people find employment. How do we encourage them to not just pledge to be equal opportunity employers but to actively take the time to learn what it means to equal opportunity employers?

Change starts from the top and many articles that I have read always talk about the importance of checking your unconscious bias. Which raises another question, how do we encourage leaders of small to medium-sized companies to acknowledge there is a need to evaluate how they see and treat people. Only then can the process of real change begin.

I may not have the answers but that is why DiveIn Network exists. To openly discuss these issues, learn from each other and create opportunities for people to make a real positive change in the workplace.