“I can’t be what I can’t see.” Diversity and Inclusion are making their way to the forefront of Irish businesses
“It doesn’t happen overnight, you’ve got to be deliberate.”
Irish society has become a melting pot for culture and diversity. Although we still have a long way to go in terms of incorporating this into the workplace, events such as Codess, Microsoft’s Autism Hiring Programme, and In Motion show diversity and inclusion are slowly but surely becoming a priority and necessity for business in Ireland and abroad.
This week’s episode for The Architects of Business, in partnership with EY Entrepreneur Of The Year Programme, featured a special Diversity and Inclusion panel discussion. Sonya was joined by Christine Barrett of Microsoft and Olivia McEvoy of EY to discuss the importance of a diverse and inclusive workplace and the benefits that ensue.
From gender inequality to neurodiversity, the panel discussed how diversity and inclusion in business should be discussed as a broad concept, beyond gender and ethnic differences, and how diversity in the workplace is more than just skin deep.
As Olivia explains: “We need to celebrate the diversity that we have in the room, but to celebrate the diversity you do have to know the diversity that you have in the room, or that you have in the business, or where ever it is. A lot of diversity is unseen, so we talked at the top that diversity is simply about differences; those that you see and those that you don’t see.”
“So, if you have all the same type of people in the organisation and you’re trying to hire and retain people, they’re looking at your organisation saying ‘I can’t be what I want to be’ in that organisation so why would I work there.”
When asked how businesses can get diversity right from the very beginning and embed it into their company culture, Christine explained: “I would say, the first thing for me is being deliberate about it. It doesn’t happen overnight, you’ve got to be deliberate. And thinking about, no matter what size your organisation is, think about your customer base and what you want to reflect to your customer base”.
You can listen to the full episode of our Diversity and Inclusion panel discussion below: