22 January, 2020

What it means to be a champion of diversity & inclusion

What it means to be a champion of diversity & inclusion

By Jeromine Alpe, CEO of Corporate Diversity Pathways and the Co-Founder of MondoMentor

International Women's Day 2019 was a wonderful occasion to share with Drinks Association members of all ages, races, religions, faiths and genders to celebrate this year’s theme - ‘Balance for Better’.

Clearly evidenced was the passion and commitment of leaders whose career, purpose and values align to be recognised for making a difference. Leaders in drinks are using their influence for greater good, leaving a legacy for the next generation of employees.

I often get asked a question that we can all relate to: "How do I as a leader, raise everyone’s awareness that ‘diversity without inclusion is a little like an energiser bunny without a battery’?" 

The answer? To embed shared values, shared vision and critically, shared drivers demonstrated through inclusive leadership behaviours.

There are three drivers to a successful gender diversity and inclusion road map: Where Are We Now? Where Do We Want to Be? And Why Does It Matter?

Creating an organisation scorecard helps to articulate how motivations, values and preferences align with workplace gender equality outcomes.

Let’s start by learning from Australian companies that are leading the way. 

Corporate Diversity Pathways - an Associate Member of The Drinks Association - works with organisations to connect people leaders in conversation on their values on behalf of their business units and then have them be accountable for delivery against those values.

What is evidenced is clarity around current opportunities around building gender balanced teams; and current challenges around continuing to stereotype men’s’ work/women’s ‘work and the unconscious bias in recruitment when company policies are not followed.

Lessons from Australian companies leading the way

The recipe for success only achieves desired outcomes when every one of these 10 ‘ingredients’ are valued for the essential part they play to better attract, engage and retain top female talent.

1. Develop rising women and ensure experience in critical roles

2. Build a strong case for change

3. Role model a commitment to gender diversity

4. Redesign roles and work to enable flexible work

5. Actively mentor rising women

6. Set clear gender diversity aspirations

7. Support great talent through life transitions

8. Ensure policies are in place to support a more inclusive and flexible workplace

9. Challenge the traditional views of merit in recruitment

10. Invest in frontline leader capabilities to drive cultural change

How will we get there?

Even the smallest expression of bias can have a substantial impact over time. At a time when the drinks industry is poised to become more collaborative, more productive and more competitive, it's vital to be aware of biases.

Everyone is great at something. It can often be difficult to see what’s great in someone when our unconscious mind so powerfully guides us towards what we expect to be true in the world around us.

Moving through the four phases of unconscious bias to unconscious competency requires specific priorities and outcomes that link to business strategy and provide access to quantitive and qualitative data.

Want to unmask your unconscious bias? Click here to take Harvard’s Project Implicit Social Attitudes Test.

How will we track our progress? 

Embedding inclusive leadership and you will better understand how to thrive in the 21st century to consistently represent the diverse communities we serve.

Every executive needs somewhere to turn for the insight and perspectives only trusted peers can provide. By creating opportunities for business leaders across the organisation to have shared accountability for the success of agreed gender diversity and inclusion priorities, you are harnessing diversity of thought leadership. 

When executives are given access to powerful peer-to-peer networking it drives engagement. Leaders have a shared level of accountability to execute time-lined action plans, identifying specific roles and responsibilities for themselves and their teams.

Every 90 days is an opportunity to reconnect and present peer-to-peer to the CEO on opportunities and challenges. To celebrate that together great things can and do happen.

Three indicators needed to thrive – the ‘what’ and the ‘how’ 

1. What: Executives step up as leaders

How: attract, engage, develop, for succession and retain top female talent

2. What: Creating Accountability

How to develop a culture of shared-learning, leveraging complimentary experience, expertise and capabilities

3. What: Disrupting the status quo

How: Create a culture of collaboration across barriers and differences for deeper self-awareness

As we look ahead into the future, our employers of choice in drinks will be those who influence an inclusive, innovative and high-performance culture that aligns across the entire organisation to compliment corporate strategy. To demonstrate alignment on shared values across the entire organisation through better attraction, engagement and retention of your organisation’s most important asset – your people.