Diversity is not the same as inclusion - you must have both
'Diversity' can mean a number of things. It can refer to bringing together people of multiple backgrounds and lifestyles in a shared environment. It can also mean respect, equality and fairness. Increasingly, it's also a byword for success.
Companies that value and promote a diverse workplace are unsurprisingly more likely to attract diverse staff, and thus benefit from having multiple perspectives on any challenge. A team will almost always make relatively better problem-solving decisions than an individual, and a team with diversity of thought even more so.
When working towards creating a more diverse workforce, it is important to be mindful of the difference between having a diverse team and being inclusive. Inclusion is a vital component of any diversity strategy. Without inclusion it's difficult to reap the benefits of diversity, such as innovative products and services, as well as increased talent, and subsequently improved company performance. So, it isn't just a case of recruiting people from different walks of life, but making them feel included: that they have a voice, that they can speak and people will listen.
With so many personal and intersectional movements in the last 18 months, it's vital that we keep the momentum going to achieve a diverse and inclusive industry . How can each of us be an ally and advocate for those who need us? How can we aid the LGBTQ+ community, highlight neurodiversity, and those from different backgrounds to our own? What do you need to feel included? Are we ready to challenge our own unconscious bias? If we see unfair behaviour, how can we be courageous enough to speak out and create a better technology industry for all?
Asha Kumar, wealth & personal banking UK CIO at HSBC, will speak about this exact topic and cover these questions in her keynote on the second day of the upcoming Women in Tech Festival: at 10:15am on the 23rd November. The Festival is a chance for women - and men - to connect with like-minded colleagues, chat with mentors and learn from the people who are leading diversity in tech across the UK.
We'll host multiple case studies, panel discussions and fireside chats across both days, as well as the return of popular fringe events like a coding workshop, mentoring academy and wellbeing sessions.
The Festival starts in less than a week, so don't forget to book your tickets now!