Diversity, Equity and Inclusion ARE the Future of Work
by Stephanie Ranno
In the space of one week, I flew to Seattle to attend the Autism at Work Summit at Microsoft, returned home to Baltimore to join leaders at AARP’s DC headquarters for a conference entitled The Future of Work for All Generations, and then, with many companies and communities, kicked off Pride month. If there is one theme – one takeaway – one transformative “aha” moment – for me it is this: diversity, equity and inclusion ARE the future of work and the future of our workforce.
Diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives are so much more than a pilot program, an HR project, a temporary logo change, a trending #hashtag, or a month of awareness. One of the gifts (and pains) of being human is the ability to quickly recognize authenticity (or lack thereof) in our relationships.
We feel it in our gut when something like a D&I program or initiative is more of a “check-the-box” vs. a real reflection of our company’s values and actions. When there is a disconnect between what we SAY regarding diversity and inclusion (#hashtag, logo change, marketing campaign) and what we DO like selectively recruit, hire, manage, and promote unfairly we fail to achieve the true potential of our people and organizations.
A focus on diversity, equity and inclusion offers teams and companies the opportunity to reflect their customer base, which enables them to make meaningful and measurable changes to their products and services based on all customers’ needs. While attending the Autism at Work Summit, we were invited to participate in a few sessions of their concurrent Ability Summit.
As a recruiting partner to leading marketers around the country, you can imagine my delight to hear Microsoft’s CMO Chris Caposella share a keynote about how the development of inclusive products and marketing programs creates intrinsic business and brand value. Microsoft and many other companies like it are leading the way towards real changes in corporate practices that can make a difference in workplace diversity and inclusion.
At TorchLight, we believe the future of work IS one that harnesses the unique gifts and strengths of the individual for the collective betterment of the whole—and one that creates and markets products and services with inclusivity as a core guiding principle. The future of work IS diverse and inclusive, because the people of our connected world ARE diverse in so many ways and deserve meaningful work, as well as experiences and products that meet their needs.
Over the next few months, TorchLight will explore the many facets of diversity, equity and inclusion including gender and sexual orientation, race, ageism, neurodiversity, and other groups and ways of thinking. We’d love to have you join us in this conversation—email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or comment on our LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook pages to share your thoughts and experiences on diversity and inclusion in your company and life.