Inclusion Roundtable for Industry Leaders
On November 17, business leaders from across the digital infrastructure industry gathered to discuss Diversity and Inclusion topics such as engaging leaders in D&I and measuring inclusion. This was the second in a series of invite-only roundtable discussions on D&I for business leaders. This group comes together quarterly to share issues, insights, and best practices for leading their companies to become more diverse and inclusive.
The conversation was open, engaging, and full of valuable moments. Topics discussed ranged from effective apprenticeships, attracting a wide range of people to apprenticeships, bringing managers along with D&I, and measuring D&I.
Some messages that resonated with participants included:
- “The industry demographic is homogenous, but there aren’t enough people of that same demographic even if we wanted to. It’s clear that if you want to grow, you need to look elsewhere, even if you don’t believe in ‘doing good’.”
- “To be successful in the future we need everyone, so we need to bring our current people along with Diversity and Inclusion, too. I do that by setting clear expectations and telling our team managers, ‘To be a great leader is to be an inclusive leader’. I then find ways to reduce their level of fear of the topic and give them support in having the right conversations.”
- “Having more gender balance on building sites meant we had to change. We had to make it more attractive – not just for women – but for all. For instance, we have made it more welcoming, offer more training, and have a range of ways to bring new people into the fold and make them part of the family. One tool we use for this is bi-directional mentorship.“
- “We piloted a program for part-time working in The Netherlands. This worked surprisingly well to attract a new group of talent, and we are now looking at rolling that out further.”
- “Measurement isn’t easy. You need to measure some demographic data, but people aren’t numbers, so you need to look beyond that as well at engagement.”
- “When measuring, start somewhere. Don’t try and solve the big problems at the end, start with step 1. We started with gender, that’s where we needed to get better.”
- “When measuring, we focus on inclusive practice and behaviors, so it’s not a constant negative of not hitting any targets or data. People need to feel proud of our company and when they do, they talk positively about the company which means we become more attractive to a wider range of people.”
Roundtable for D&I Leaders
On November 9th, the D&I Committee hosted another roundtable to complement the roundtable for business leaders and focused on being part of a community. This roundtable was specifically for those responsible for implementing D&I programs.
Participants enjoyed connecting with other in their field and agreed to meet regularly to share best practices and exchange practical ideas throughout 2024.
The group discussed where their company fell on D&I, what initiatives were currently implemented, and what they would like to see come from the roundtable.
It was interesting to see that different companies brought a different angle to diversity and inclusion. Some were looking for ideas specifically on recruiting talent, including looking for recommendations for speakers on the topic; others were looking for more ways to create psychological safety and develop an inclusive culture.
As inclusion is a key leadership skill for the future, active volunteers of iMasons had a chance to develop their inclusion skills by attending “Inclusive Events and Meetings” a training provided by Inge Woudstra, the Inclusion program manager. This online meeting provided training and support for leaders in our community to develop inclusive committees and chapters.
Planned Iniatives in 2024:
- The Inclusion Committee is planning 1-hour virtual training on ‘Recognising and Addressing Bias’, at a
date early in the new year. Watch this space!
- The committee can also provide training to your local chapter or your committee leadership. Interested? Just contact firstname.lastname@example.org or
email@example.com to discuss.