As we enter the New Year, talk about New Year Resolutions is all around us. “What are you giving up this year”, people ask? High amongst the regulars are giving up smoking, losing weight, going to the gym more regularly, and starting a diet or detox regime to get rid of the Christmas excesses. These resolutions are all good and great, and I wish you all the best as you set out to achieve them. Indeed, where these assist in facilitating positive change, they are to be encouraged.
But what about those resolutions that help drive real change and reform character? Those that promote the human spirit; that facilitate the opportunity for each individual to achieve their best in the workplace and society; that create an environment characterised by fairness, inclusivity and transparency leading to a new paradigm for positive human co-existence? What about these resolutions?
Here are 3 simple tips alongside the others aforementioned above that will assist in the creation of lasting change this year, and importantly, beyond: Continue reading
This is an important question. One that really began for me whilst pursuing my post graduate studies in Human Resource Management in 2004. I had actually never really heard of ‘diversity’ despite already having had some experience working in the HR recruitment function. There were a number of compulsory modules we had to take as part of the HR course – diversity was not one of them – it was an optional module which I choose purely out of curiosity. One of the first questions I remember asking the tutor during the course, more so upon realising its strategic interconnectedness to the HR function, was why ‘diversity’ was put forward as an optional module, and not as a compulsory one?? Was this reflective of the organisational mindset as to where diversity as a strategic function should actually sit? Indeed, little did I know at the time that this question would be one that would occupy not just my thoughts, but the thoughts of the HR and business community for a while to come…So, what’s my view? Where should diversity as a strategic function sit? Should it sit within HR, within business operations, at corporate level or indeed as a function by itself? The vivid picture that keeps coming to mind is the inner workings of the wheels of a watch: Each wheel is complexly arranged such that as one wheel turns, it interlinks with the turning of the wheels of the other, each independent but yet totally dependent on the other for their movement. As a strategic function, diversity is like one of the intricate and necessary functional wheels such as HR, Marketing, Finance, Payroll, etc – that keeps the whole organisation ticking…purposively… Continue reading
I am attending a roundtable discussion tomorrow on ‘maximising the potential of women in organisations’. It will be attended by stakeholders from within the FTSE 100 and other organisations in the public and voluntary sectors – and for me, is symptomatic of the progress being made by businesses to deal with the gender gap at Board and management levels in UK based organisations.
Indeed, such discussions are not only happening here in the UK. It was only a couple of days ago, a colleague and good friend forwarded me a link to an article which reported on the bold steps the New Zealand Stock Exchange had taken to begin addressing the gender balance through ensuring that publicly listed companies mandatorily reported on gender by 2012, putting in place development programs as well as a range of other initiatives, etc
Now, I am very much in favour of the practical steps and initiatives being taken by governments, international organisations, and senior stakeholders on this important agenda. Indeed, I have designed programs aimed at promoting greater gender diversity myself. But I do, nonetheless, have a niggling question, which some of my readers may also have, and which we have to ask: What about the other equality ‘strands’ or ‘protected characteristics? – those living with disabilities, those from a range of ethnic minority communities, those with a ‘different’ sexual orientation, the socially and economically disadvantaged, the ‘younger’ and ‘older’ talent who find workplace mobility difficult to positively navigate, etc. What’s happening to them? What initiatives are being put in place for them? Is there even the slightest possibility that they feel left out of the ‘inclusivity’ picture here?
Whilst at University, I spent a lot of time studying feminist philosophical and theological arguments Continue reading
In attempting to develop an understanding of the meaning of the concept of ‘diversity’, it is arguable to suggest that the best place to begin is by attempting an answer of the following 3 core philosophical questions: “Who am I?”, “Where am I going”?, “What does existence mean?”
Attempts to answer these questions can be traced back to a number of known philosophical thinkers: Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas, St Augustine, Rene Descartes, Immanuel Kant, John Locke, Martin Heidegger, Tielhard de Chardin, John Paul Sartre, etc – all of whom dominated the ancient, medieval and contemporary and modern philosophical periods.
But what was the common denominator running through the varied arguments each thinker posed? Arguably, I suggest it was attempting an understanding of the meaning of ‘existence’: What was it? What did it mean? Indeed, how am I connected to it?
I remember when studying philosophy at university, I was particularly interested in the theories of ‘identity’. The existentialist philosophy of Jean-Paul Sartre took my particular fancy. Continue reading
The focus of our past discussions on this site has been all about attempting to explore what diversity is…
An ancient Greek school of philosophical thought suggested that the best way to discover what a thing is, is to proceed by a process of logical elimination, stating what the thing in question is not, in an attempt to truly find out what it is – hence our approach adopted below in trying to understand what diversity is…
Diversity is not…
- about race
- about the ‘symptoms’ of equality otherwise called ‘the 7 strands’ (race, gender, ethnicity, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender reassignment), etc
- about being compliant or meeting set equality targets
- about equal representation
- about ‘minorities’ or a ‘majority/ minority divide’
- about recruiting untalented, unskilled or unqualified people into an organisation to balance workforce databases
- about being tokenistic
- about doing a ‘favour’
- about doing a ‘good deed’ as part of an organisational Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) strategy
- a ‘bolt-on’ to add ‘value’ to business strategy or organisational process
- about discrimination
- even about positive action
- about businesses becoming diverse – diversity creates businesses!
….so what is diversity actually about??
This is a question for you to continue to think about as we start the week… indeed, do let us know your thoughts regarding it.
NB: Watch out for a forthcoming article entitled “On: A Philosophy of Diversity” where we will take a look at the concept of diversity purely from a philosophical perspective the aim being to begin attempting to unravel an answer to the question posed above…