Inspired by a conversation with Dr Despina Moschou, University of Bath, this article discusses how the power of projects can positively influence EDI in the workplace.
In this modern age of 2022, we tend to consider society as developed, open and accepting.
So why, in 2022, do we still need to promote Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in the workplace?
The answer is simple. Until we accept that EDI issues are real we will never move forward as a society. This will only come about through open conversation. The head in the sand approach is no longer acceptable (if it ever was)
I recently met with Dr Despina Moschou, Senior Lecturer and Associate Professor in the Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering at the University of Bath, where we discussed our shared experiences in the subject of ED&I. This inspired my thinking around the subject and motivated me into writing this article.
The purpose of this article is not to describe the importance of EDI however, it is almost impossible to consider the subject without recognising that on each occasion biases are show, potential talent or innovation is lost by the business. This may be presented in recruitment, retention or though stifling of creativity.
Taking a more humanistic view, we are all human beings regardless of our gender, race, sexuality, background or any other aspect that may provide reason for some to assume biases.
So why should one person be treated any differently to another?
Of course, not all businesses have not yet grasped the nettle, although many organisations have made great strides along the path of EDI. Particularly large multinationals who have the resources and infrastructure to provide subject matter experts, focus groups, support networks, committees, and through this have incorporated behavioural standards into their policies and operational guidelines. But what about those companies who don't have the resources multinationals hold. Companies where resources are fewer and budgets much smaller.
If we are ever to truly achieve EDI in the workplace these are the companies we need to focus toward and offer support to. But how can we as project professionals positively influence such businesses?
In one word, ENOURMOUSLY!
Question suppliers regarding their EDI policy and what they are actively doing to create an equal, diverse and inclusive culture. Would you place a PO with a supplier who turns a blind eye to HSE and risk the reputational impact of poor HSE performance? I know I would not therefore, why would you accept anything less when considering their people culture?
As leaders, project professionals are in a position of influence both vertically and horizontally across the organisation. Therefore in a position to influence behaviours of others.
First of all through leading by example. As leaders we must be the vanguard of what we believe in and through this drive the culture we aspire our project team to have. Your passion and energy will filter through to those you lead but only if it is genuine. Remember leadership is given to you not taken by you.
Secondly, by introducing a zero tolerance approach to negative behaviour within the project team. This relates to the culture you create in the project team. Intolerance to negative behaviour will in turn create positive behaviour and an environment of acceptance therefore encouraging openness and with it innovative thinking.
Thirdly, by demonstrating the positive outcomes of your leadership to those above you in the organisation. In doing so it becomes very difficult for the senior leadership team to ignore the subject and will ultimately find its way into business strategic objectives.
The points raised are by no means an exclusive list of ways in which you can influence positive change, they are but a segment of an endless list of opportunities available to us to help unlock the infinite potential of people, waiting to be tapped into.
The Power of Projects is in your hands!
Its over to you......