Interview Cathy Gallagher-Louisy

If D&I is part of the way in which you do business, is also a part of the way that you do business in a crisis

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We have watched with concern how many companies have delayed their Diversity initiatives and Inclusion during this pandemic, arguing the lack of focus in the midst of the crisis. We have also seen that, by contrast, have given priority to their guidelines of D&I just to tackle the crisis, giving a response assertive in the accompaniment that they make to their employees and adapting to the new forms of work, production, interaction and communication.

What Postergable or unavoidable? it is without a doubt the most interesting question for those who work Diversity and inclusion, either within the organisation or external consultants, but it is a dialogue that has as many positions as possible partners. 

Today, we want to know the position of Cathy Gallagher-Lousi, Director of the Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion – CCDI, one of our international partners, which constitutes a technical alliance of much value to the development of our work in Connecting D&I.

She tells us that in Canada, while there are organizations that have reacted with a sense of priority based on the fear, in the catastrophe, and eliminated the budget to programs of D&I, there are others that are still going on with a lot of force, there are even some companies that they leave in hopes of most of the projects until things stabilize, but do not abandon them. 

“Because the problems of D&I does not disappear during the crisis. In reality, they are exacerbated,” he explains. Therefore, they require more than ever the attention of all social actors, including business enterprises. 

What it is then, that the management of D&I to be postponed or becomes an axis that is relevant in the acting business during the current health crisis?

According to our interviewee, the answer is only one: “if D&I is part of the way in which you do business, is also a part of the way that you do business in a crisis.” 

Undoubtedly influences the type of workforce that has the organization, but above all, it is relevant to the degree of maturity has been reached, Diversity and Inclusion in it.

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“If you are new initiatives on Diversity and Inclusion, we discover that it is more likely that things will be put on hold at this time, because they have not been “embedded” in the company, have not become part of the way on how they do business. And in the organizations that are more advanced, they already have a well-established strategy, many of them continue with this work as they can, depending on the situation they are in at the moment.”

For this reason, today more than ever, we require leaders with a vast understanding of the importance of diversity and inclusion as a business matter.

It helps a lot of organizations have a leadership program that provides apriori the development of competencies for Diversity and Inclusion, as demonstrated through the actions of their leaders engaged the organization with the diversity, equity, inclusion. It is, in reality, a good opportunity to test the convictions of the company and to demonstrate how genuine are their statements.

“Those organizations who have a leadership that is committed to the R&D, continue to be. And those leaders who are minimizing the importance of diversity and inclusion in their companies, through their everyday behaviour and decision making, how to allocate their resources; to be viewed this way by its employees, not only during the crisis. Establish a precedent for the future.”

Communication is also essential. Organizations now have to find different ways to communicate with their employees and their stakeholders, both internal and external... and it is very difficult to communicate, only in virtual form. All the world is bombarded with emails. Therefore, organizations have to find new ways of doing the work in Diversity and Inclusion, and this represents a new opportunity to be very creative.

To find out more about this communication, leadership, telework, and the importance of D&I in times of crisis, we invite you to see the full interview in this video.

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