Building an Inclusive Community: Perspectives on the Significance of DEI and Its Impact on Organisational Ecosystems
Our theme for the month of July is Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (#dei). As a brand, we pride ourselves in upholding #equity and encouraging #diversity and #inclusion in our cultural values. One of the ways we propagate and educate people on different topics is through our monthly Twitter spaces.
In a recent Twitter space conversation centered around DEI, several individuals shared their personal experiences and insights, shedding light on the importance of DEI in both personal and professional contexts. Their stories highlight the need for #representation, #inclusiveness, and #acceptance in the workplace, and the role that DEI plays in maintaining the health and resilience of organisational ecosystems.
What is the most significant Eureka moment you’ve had regarding DEI in your personal or professional life?
Motunrayo Ayo-Akwe, at an event in Lagos, notes that her Eureka moment was when she encountered someone who uses a wheelchair and found it difficult to do anything in his day-to-day life. When she started her NGO career, she realised it was challenging to inspire girls to dream big due to the lack of representation in their environment.
Akosua A., while searching for a job, expressed her desire to see people who looked like her. This sentiment resonates with many individuals who seek workplaces with diverse representation. Here at Spurt!, we are very aware of how different every employee is.
Akosua A. also touched on an important issue in recruiting, where she noticed female applicants often had lower salary expectations compared to their male counterparts. This observation underscores the significance of addressing gender disparities in compensation. Ifeanyichukwu Eze shared his involvement with Ayoa, a mind-mapping app that supports #neurodivergent individuals in the workplace. He lamented that companies often prioritise cultural fit during the hiring process, which poses challenges for neuro-divergent individuals working alongside neuro-typical individuals. This highlights the need for inclusive opportunities for all within the workplace. Ijeoma Sophia Okeke recalled her first day at work, where the #onboardingprocess was inadequate. This experience prompted her to notice instances where clients requested specific gender, skin color, or body size for certain roles. Ijeoma found this practice absurd and worked with her boss to develop policies combating such biases. Her story underscores the need for organisations to foster inclusive environments and reject discriminatory practices.
Helen Majemite, MIWFM, driven by her daughter's experiences as someone who is a slow learner, emphasised the importance of inclusive policies in schools. She highlighted the need for collaboration between organisations and governments to ensure inclusive policies are established and advocated for. It is crucial to engage with relevant stakeholders and advocate for systemic change.
The Role of DEI in Organiational Ecosystems
When asked about the role of DEI in organisational ecosystems, the participants provided valuable insights. Ijeoma emphasised that DEI encourages creativity and innovation by incorporating diverse perspectives, resulting in elastic and well-rounded decision-making processes.
Moruntayo, an HR professional, stressed the need for DEI to be embedded in the fabric of an organisation's culture. She shared the story of a computer-savvy individual with cerebral palsy who struggled to fit into society. Hiring such individuals not only benefits them by boosting confidence and self-sufficiency but also brings diverse talents and perspectives to the team.
Practicality and Optics
The participants discussed the difference between practicality and optics in DEI initiatives. Akosua stressed the importance of practicality and showcasing tangible actions that foster inclusivity, rather than merely claiming to be DEI-oriented. Helen emphasised the need for genuine acceptance and understanding of differences, citing her daughter's experience of rejection by schools due to learning difficulties. Practicality is key to creating inclusive environments where everyone feels valued.
The Vision of Perfect DEI Implementation
When envisioning a world where DEI is perfectly implemented, the participants emphasised the importance of qualification-based opportunities, representation at all levels, safety, appreciation, and increased productivity. The goal is to create an environment where individuals are recognised and respected for their unique attributes, and where diversity is celebrated.
The Power of Intersectionality
Intersectionality emerged as an important topic in the conversation. Motunrayo highlighted the significance of acknowledging and addressing the diverse experiences and identities individuals bring to the workplace. By understanding and accommodating the behavioural expectations of all employees, organisations can create an inclusive environment where individuals can thrive.
Spurt! is an organisation that values authenticity and a sense of belonging among its employees. Here, we encourage and practice DEI in our training process, culture, and development.
We also employed the services of Balm.ai, a #health #wellness and fitness organisation to cater to the needs of our employees. As an Afrocentric brand, we strive to employ individuals from different countries in Africa. Our brand is owned and managed by women.
We pride ourselves on supporting young people in developing their talents, irrespective of their orientations. We maintain an equal payment structure irrespective of one’s gender. We encourage other African businesses to adopt a culture of inclusiveness and provide equal opportunities to everyone, irrespective of their makeup.