Sexism and the Queen Bee Effect

I went for a walk with a friend the other day.  She is an engineer in a construction company and has struggled with her female boss for years.  Prompted by my questions, she relayed the following story:  her female manager – one of the most senior women in the company – has been described by many as a bully.  She finds ways to belittle other women, including my friend, and put down their achievements.  Instead of offering support, her manager has reduced my friend to (private) tears on countless occasions  contributed to a gradual erosion of her professional confidence and, ultimately, driven her to resign.

Before having decided to resign, my friend had addressed the situation with HR and has eventually been moved into a different reporting line, but she continues to hear similar accounts from other women – and the negative impact of the previous working relationship left such a bad taste in her mouth that she wasn’t even able to make a positive fresh start with a new, very supportive female line manager.

This, unfortunately, is not an isolated story.  I hear stories of female bosses who are unpleasant, denigrating and unhelpful.  Women who, instead of propping up and developing their female team members, put them down and block them from progression.  Women who, instead of changing the playing field to help other women succeed, actually block the provision of support, sometimes even denying something as fundamental as a formal women’s network.

So I have to ask the question:  assuming that we all start out as reasonable, likeable people, how does it come to this? Why are there senior women who would rather pull up the ladder behind them, so to speak, than help others achieve similar success?

Why do some women become unsupportive of other women at work?  The answer: decades of sexism in male-dominated work environments. 

Women like this are derogatorily referred to as Queen Bees.  The term describes women who have achieved success in traditionally male-dominated fields and distance themselves from other women in the workplace in order to succeed. These women tend to view or treat female subordinates more critically, and refuse to help other women progress in order to preserve their unique senior position.  These are the women for whom Madeleine Albright so famously predicted that ‘special place in hell’.

 

But we should not blame the women.  We should look at the system that nurtured them. 

Research has already shown that the pressure of behaving in a certain way once the most senior levels of an organisation have been reached, make it difficult for women to support other women.  While men are rewarded for supporting women’s initiatives, senior women are penalised for doing so and are socially discouraged from it.  It is also thought that women who distance themselves from other women are more likely to succeed in a male-dominated environment.  As a result, instead of helping other women, many female leaders do the opposite.  This behaviour has many negative consequences, not only on subordinate’s levels of confidence and morale, but also as role models to other women.  More junior women often cannot relate to this behaviour.  As a result, they cannot see themselves progress in the organisation, which leads to loss of talent in the pipeline.

Three things that organisations should do to wipe out Queen Bee behaviour:

When a company is made aware of Queen Bee behaviour, there are a number of things it can and should do:

  1. Identify the culture that promotes this type of behaviour and address it at the source.

A simple culture diagnostic at the right level of seniority will reveal the underlying sexism that is causing women to adapt more male characteristics.  As companies do not benefit from diversity of thought when female leaders assimilate into a male culture, it should be a priority to address these issues straight away.  A well-conducted diagnostic will not only highlight the cause but will also suggest solutions in how to address and change this cultural problem.

  1. Actively encourage senior female leaders to support other women.

It will be important to have senior female role models who are supportive and nurturing.  These women should get involved in mentoring other women as well as sponsoring staff networks and events.  Note that senior women should not be the only ones doing this; instead, they should be part of a healthy mix of senior leaders speaking with the same voice on this subject.

  1. Address the specific cases with coaching and other relevant interventions.

When a company promotes a person who bullies another, it sends the wrong message to everyone.  There should be measures in place to deal with people who put down others, regardless of whether that person is a man or a woman.  This kind of behaviour is unacceptable and counter-productive to the efforts of most companies.

Every time I hear a story like this, I’m astounded that things like this still take place.  But then I remind myself that sexism has not disappeared from our society yet, and so long as there is sexism in the workplace, we can expect women to develop this Queen Bee syndrome, undermining all other efforts that are being made to support and develop the female pipeline. One step forward, two steps back? I hope not.

______________

If you would like to discuss how to identify systemic sexism within your leadership pipeline, talk to us about our Inclusion Diagnostic.

Are you an Early Adopter or a Laggard?

When Voice At The Table was first set up, it was with the aim of changing corporate culture by empowering women to be authentic and forthright.  We very quickly discovered that the challenge was not empowering women but creating a work environment that appreciates and welcomes these empowered women.  As a result, much of our work nowadays focuses on culture change.  We work with organisations to develop inclusive teams and  leaders by challenging existing beliefs and – more importantly – behaviours.

One question that pops up regularly is how to persuade sceptics about the virtues and business imperative of the D&I agenda.

The answer to this question is quite simple: don’t!

Let us explain.

How change spreads across our culture

The Diffusion of Innovations is a theory that attempts to explain how and why new ideas and technologies spread and become mainstream, and at what rate this occurs. This theory became widely known after a Communication Studies professor called Everett Rogers published a book with the same name in 1962. Rogers stated that diffusion is the way in which an innovation is communicated over time among the members of a social system. The best-known element of this work is the Innovation-Adaptation Curve (pictured), which illustrates the rate of adoption of a product or idea until it is widely adopted reaches a critical mass that is self-sustaining.

The categories of adopters that Rogers identified are Innovators, Early Adopters, Early Majority, Late Majority, and Laggards.These five categories can be adapted to apply to D&I attitudes and behaviour.

Not everyone will get on board with D&I straight away; 20% will probably never come along and we shouldn’t worry about that, because we simply cannot change everyone. The “Laggards” may never subscribe to the benefits of greater Diversity and Inclusion in our organisations, but as behaviour and culture change progresses through the Curve, the numbers of these so-called sceptics dwindles.

What we should focus on is creating a momentum of behaviour change that carries the “Late Majority” along with the tide, creating a place to work where the majority of its people, systems and policies are aligned with the principles of Diversity and Inclusion. It is this momentum that we need to worry about and continue to measure.  As long as we keep moving through the Innovation-Adoption Curve, we’re making good progress.

The way to create this momentum is to focus initially on those receptive to the ideology of Diversity and Inclusion: the champions, allies and listeners – the D&I Innovators, Early Adopters and the Early Majority.  Those who are struggling to see the need for change are unlikely to be converted.

Diversity and Inclusion is swiftly becoming more mainstream and centre stage, far more than it was only five years ago. It is being talked about in the press, in discussion pieces and in mainstream reporting about senior leaders who are out-of-date with the current zeitgeist and have made complacent sexist or racist comments that have ultimately cost them their jobs.  Consequently, it is becoming more and more difficult for senior leaders to resist the changes that are taking place.  So let’s focus our energy on continuing to build the momentum with those leaders who share our vision of the future of business and let the ‘Laggards’ come to their own conclusions.

Our Top Five New and Recurring Diversity and Inclusion Trends of 2021

2020 was an extraordinary year for Diversity and Inclusion and, thankfully perhaps, it is now over. We now have the advantage of looking back through the year to better understand what lessons we have learned and what will continue to evolve in 2021. Here’s my list of five new and continuing trends for Diversity and Inclusion this year:

  1. Diversity & Inclusion at the top of the corporate agenda

Last year was a wake-up call for many companies as the BLM movement highlighted the deep-rooted, latent biases that prevent Black people from progressing. Once recognised, many companies realised the only way to combat bias is with a more rigorous and responsible approach to Diversity and Inclusion. Some have responded by introducing company-wide initiatives that lay the responsibility of progress at the feet of both the leadership team as well as each individual staff member. Voice At The Table is involved in several such programmes and is delighted to, finally, be part of more impactful change.

  1. The Evolution of Language

Use of language has two sides: one is to ensure that the words we use in our communication do not betray ingrained biases and outdated beliefs; the other is giving people the words they need to express what it’s like to be on the receiving end of bias.

Outdated language: the surge to eradicate words from our vocabulary that betray racism, sexism and other “isms” started last year with the purge of terms like white and black lists, master and slave servers, master bedrooms and so on. Our language has evolved to include antiquated standards without us noticing – until now, it seems.  Many a business has been named and shamed for the use of callous terminology that alienates employees, customers and other stakeholders.

You might recall the H&M incident a couple of years ago.

 

Words to express bias: Until recently, people weren’t sure how to explain why D&I is good for business, how it feels to be on the receiving end of microaggressions and what indirect discrimination looks like. With increasing emphasis on Diversity and Equality-related subjects, stories are emerging that showcase discrimination in a way that others understand. “Systemic racism” and “white privilege” are now recognised terms. Companies and people are woke to terminology that captures and expresses conditions that, not so long ago, while rampant, were not visible to most. This change will afford people opportunities to better explain the latent unfairness they may be experiencing.

  1. Diversity in the Public Eye

Diversity isn’t just important to companies, it has become a topic du jour for society. More and more films, TV programmes, theatre productions, art exhibitions, sports events and written materials occupy themselves with the topic and reflect society in a more authentic and accurate manner. Think of Netflix’s Bridgerton and BBC’s Small Axe. Consider all-female football and rugby teams now being afforded more screen time. Think about art exhibitions celebrating Black female artists and articles dedicated to female artists. While still in its infancy, this is a growing trend.

  1. Working From Home

Both a blessing and a curse, working from home is most certainly here to stay. It has, unfortunately, been as much a villain – particularly for women – as it has been a saviour – giving many of us an opportunity to wrap our careers around the rest of our lives. While the pandemic keeps wreaking havoc, we will continue to make our homes also our offices.  What happens after is still a mystery, but I’d venture a solid guess that we won’t be returning to the office on a full-time basis.

  1. Women are back in focus

The 2020 pandemic hit women hard. They bore the greater burden of the job loss predicament, having to exchange their careers for home-schooling and caring duties. Companies in the UK were also given a reprieve from Gender Gap Reporting in 2020 – a retrograde step for our legislative progress[i].

As a result, the focus on hiring, retaining and supporting women in the work force has returned, particularly in the Tech sector. The good news is that, while we continue to applaud efforts made by companies to level the playing field, many women have taken matters into their own hands by highlighting the issues and fighting to regain lost ground. Like NASDAQ’s CEO Adena Friedman who is pushing for more Diversity in the Boardroom, as reported by the New York Times in December.

Here at Voice At The Table, we will continue to work with you on developing your D&I strategy, helping you assess the levels of Diversity and/or Inclusion in your organisation, and helping you implement impactful culture change initiatives that will ensure that your organisation garners the benefits of diversity both for the business and for each individual.

To find out how we can help you on your Diversity journey, please get in touch with me.

[i] It would be remiss of me not to mention the fact that women have also been let down by governments and society when it comes to protecting them from domestic abuse which always rears its ugly head during pandemics.

Active Voice: 5 Ways to Banish those Winter Blues

While we’re all happy to see the back of 2020, we may be grappling with the annual post-Christmas despondency amid short, winter days and the cloak of Covid continuing to mute our freedoms, lifestyle and habits. But the days are (gradually) lengthening and the vaccine is being rolled out and there are many ways to stay positive. We show you how.

  1. Get Moving: When the Mercury falls to single digits, throwing on your trainers and Lycra and braving the elements can easily play second – or no – fiddle to slumping on the sofa with a hot cup of tea and starting another Netflix series. But experts agree that exercise is a great way to boost your mood. It triggers the release of endorphins into the bloodstream, relieving pain and producing a feeling of well-being. A lack of exercise increases your risk of anxiety and depression.
  2. Stop over-thinking: People often dwell on problems, going over and over the same negative thoughts without making any progress to resolve them. If you’ve been worrying about a problem for 30 minutes or more without coming up with a plan of action, or you’ve been going over questions with no answers, it’s time to stop. The main objective is to shift your focus from worries to practical problem-solving. Stop and ask yourself what steps you can take to address the problem, break it into realistic components and set about taking the bull by the horns.
  3. Set a new target: Drawing up a new goal helps to focus the mind. It could be something big and demanding, like learning a new language or something small like challenging yourself to read more or switch off your screen an hour before going to bed. If it’s outside your comfort zone, and it’s pushing you forward, it gives you a focus and a sense of control. This, in turn can give you a sense of self-worth.
  4. Reach out to people: The pandemic has made it a lot harder to be with others in person, and winter can make it even less attainable. That’s a big issue for millions of people and the mental health consequences for some will be serious. So, try to maximise social contact opportunities. Isolated people are more likely to focus on themselves and this can make them feel even more alone. Reach out when you can, and if Covid-19 means you can’t do that in person, make that phone call to a friend, or arrange to talk online.
  5. Train yourself to be optimistic: Optimists live longer, have better relationships and better immune systems. Try writing down three things – each day – that you’re grateful about, to force yourself to focus on what’s gone well and why. It’ll fire up the left-hand side of your brain, which is associated with positivity. Emotions are contagious, so try to steer away from negative, glass-half-empty people who are constantly complaining, otherwise you’ll find yourself becoming one of those people too!

And if you want more advice on how to banish the blues, email us to obtain the recording of our recent virtual session on this topic by psychotherapist and coach Phil Cox.

The Most Impactful Diversity and Inclusion Trends of 2020

2020 has been an odd year for Diversity and Inclusion. On the one hand, it’s been a terrible year for women: they took a disproportional hit of 50% of all job losses – though they comprise just two fifths of the global workforce – according to the World Economic Forum. There are also serious concerns about increased domestic abuse and other manners of intersectional discrimination that women have suffered. On the other hand, the fallout from the #BlackLivesMatter movement has forced many companies to take a hard look at their own D&I practices and set a new course for a more meaningful D&I agenda.

As a result, apart from a short blip in our productivity around the first Lockdown, Voice At The Table had many opportunities to support, influence and observe D&I developments across a broad range of organisations. Let me therefore share with you my top five most impactful trends that I witnessed this year.

  1. Safe Space Conversations

Following the outcry of #BlackLivesMatter, many organisations offered their staff a forum in which they could safely share their experiences of being Black. Anticipating good participation, most organisations were blown away by the interest in both speaking out and in listening to these experiences. These safe-space conversations provided not only a forum for sharing experiences, but also a space that brought together employees of different backgrounds with a strong desire to act and solve the raised challenges around systemic racism, microaggressions and other covert forms of discrimination.  Safe space conversations proved so popular and impactful that many organisations have pledged to continue to host them in their own right as a full-fledged initiative to help table some of the unstated currents that run through our society and work culture.

  1. Inclusive Behaviours

Many organisations have begun to realise that without efforts around Inclusion, their Diversity efforts are less impactful. As a result, they opted to focus on laying the foundation of an inclusive work environment before layering it with Diversity initiatives. In doing so, it became important to them to understand what it means to be truly inclusive. As one example, many of our clients adopted our Eight Inclusive Behaviours model that not just identifies the types of behaviours to focus on but shows how to continue to develop each of these behaviours both as an individual and as a team in order to become more inclusive.

  1. Neutralising Terminology

‘Woke’ organisations realised that words matter. Everything, from policies to job descriptions to company reports to town hall speeches, is being scrutinised for gender-neutral and inclusive language to ensure that words do not unintentionally alienate. Antiquated terminology that conveys latent racism – such as blacklist/whitelist, blackball, black mark, master/slave, etc. – is being converted to words that convey the intended meaning without invoking racism. Leaders are being sensitised to the use of their words to ensure they set the bar for inclusive use of language that is aligned with the company’s inclusion values.

 4. Inclusive Leadership

Leadership is being redefined. Mature leaders are being urged to add a layer of leadership skills to those they have already developed that allows them to be more conscious of blind-spots, to be fair in doling out opportunities across the entire team – not just to a chosen few – to be humble and more vulnerable in their demeanour in order to appeal to the changed priorities of today’s and tomorrow’s workforce. These practices – often already part of the norm in less senior leaders and managers – are being emphasised alongside other business-related priorities, and efforts are in place to support leadership in developing these additional skills.

  1. Flexible Working

The biggest shift that the pandemic brought to our work is logistical. According to some data, 60% of the UK adult population is currently working from home. This change brought many surprising developments to Diversity. Working from home enabled many more people with disabilities to perform roles that they wouldn’t have been able to perform previously.  It gave opportunities to many women to fit the much-needed flexibility into their work-life routine. It proved to companies that working from home can be done successfully and that it is a sustainable model that will allow companies to attract a wider variety of talent. One such example is Zurich Insurance in the UK, which was able to attract more diverse candidates by advertising many of its senior positions as ‘flexible’, ‘part-time’ or ‘open to job-share’.

These are my observations. I would love to hear your observations about what has worked well in your organisation this year.

Next month, I will share with you what I predict to be the 2021 biggest D&I trends.

Until then, I hope you have a restful holiday season and a healthy and happy New Year.

If you liked this post, try reading this one.

Active Voice: Poets’ Corner – Giving a Voice to our Creative Talents

We are departing from our traditional Active Voice “tips” this month to bring you a collection of thought-provoking and evocative poems, created by us – the good folk of Voice At The Table. We asked everyone on our core team to “get creative” and we’d like to “gift” our rhymes to you as a Christmas treat. Enjoy…

Twenty-twenty came to a halt!

Twenty-twenty had a big fault;

All the world’s brainiacs, brilliant women and men;

Scrambling for a vaccine so we can party again!

 

But life goes on and we are near the end

Of this peculiar year when facemask is a trend

Lockdowns, quarantines, two metres, even better

The days of 2020, we shall fondly remember… not!

By Alice Hutton

 

 

Make America great again, he said

I will build a great wall, he said

We need global warming, he said

Grab them by the p*ssy, he said

I’m smart, I don’t pay taxes, he said

I don’t need to wear a mask, he said

The election was rigged, he said

Go away Donald, you’re done, the world said

By Jane Ashley

 

 

Dancing Leaves

Where do the leaves go?

When the wind blows?

Dancing and playing,

Twisting and turning

Funnelling upwards,

Spinning and falling,

Whirling like dervishes,

A Tango, a Rumba,

Better than Strictly!

By Melissa Jackson

 

 

Disruption

Disruption has upped its game

Disruption has just gone full-time

Disruption is here to stay

What are you going to do about it?

You can’t discipline it

You can’t make it redundant

You certainly can’t furlough it!

You just have to deal with it

How do you deal with it?

You have to meander, like a river runs through it

You have to find a way

Disruption is here to stay

You have to sit with it

Entertain it

Pour it a nice cup of tea

Interact with it

Even do a Zoom, when it feels like doom and gloom!

Disruption is our new and unknown best friend

Go on, I dare you, open your arms and give it a big warm hug!

By Joyce Osei

A Dreamer am I

Roses are red

Violets are blue

We all have our colours

Your beauty is within you

We bow to tradition

Convention is King

But people are different –

That’s the value we bring

Imagine a world full of Lemmings at work

Imagine the monotonous drone of their quirk

Forget creativity, forget innovation

All of us slaves of our own limitation

But enter the prize of a more tolerant mind: a creature of wonder – one of a kind.

Emotion is stirred

Our pulse quickly rising

Our sense of vitality oh so surprising.

Diversity is the intrinsic value we bring

Our beautiful minds full of marvel and zing.

Be sure to invite it – just open your mind!

The eyes will then follow – leave all fear behind.

Your roses still red and the violets still blue

But you’ve taken a leap

Now your dreams will come true.

By Rina Goldenberg Lynch

 

 

Ahhh the ever-present voice of self-doubt

It sits in my brain, sucking the oxygen from the fire in my belly

“You can’t do this”, “no one cares”, “don’t bother”, it roars

And the fire, once raging, fuelled by an explosion of ideas

It dampens

Subdued by an impossible list

And yet the embers still glow

Persistent, impatient, encouraging

And so, I pause

Take a breath

Think

What is one thing I can do right now?

And I do it with no expectation of anything more.

By Jude Sclater

If you liked this post, try reading this one.

Guest Blog: Ensuring Gender Equality During the Holidays

By Anna Calvin*

With Christmas fast approaching, people are preparing to take a break from their work to spend time with family. However, gender inequality issues in the workplace are not taking time off. Women are experiencing reductions in salary, while others are losing their jobs. These setbacks, along with micro-aggressions, are preventing gender parity. I offer four tips to help your company bridge the gender inequality gap this holiday season.

  1. Delegate tasks fairly

Apart from a pay gap, women also suffer from a stress gap. According to research, female workers are more likely to struggle with work-related stress than male workers. This is because they are pressured to perform well in light of gender prejudices. This can become more severe during the holiday season as work intensifies. To avoid this, ensure that you’re giving all your employees a reasonable number of tasks, regardless of gender. All it takes is some extra planning. Verizon Connect’s Holly Dempster highlights the importance of planning ahead. Additionally, ensure that there is a plan for emergencies so that women don’t have to bear the brunt of holiday workplace stress. You can lean on technology to help you schedule and delegate tasks more efficiently, but don’t neglect the importance of communicating with your team, either.

2. Reject the notion that shopping for gifts is a woman’s job

To label something as “woman’s work” is to contribute to gender stereotypes. Huffpost’s Sarah Tinsley talks about the gender stereotyping that occurs during the holiday season and how it affects our children. Girls aren’t biologically wired to be more nurturing, and boys aren’t wired to be more practical. So why do we treat them as if they are, in the gifts that we give them?

The same can be said about those in the workplace. Before you tell your female employee to do some company gift shopping, ask yourself: Am I sending her out because she’s good at picking gifts, or because she’s a woman?

3. Advocate for greater male involvement in holiday preparations

There’s no such thing as “women’s work”, so what you can do is have ALL your employees lend a hand preparing for the holidays — from decorating the office to shopping for gifts to baking the office Christmas party snacks – although maybe not this year! By removing the stigma that it’s a woman’s job to shop or carry out domestic chores, you create a more inclusive and gender-equal workspace.

4. Encourage healthy conversations that tackle gender awareness and sensitivity

Finally, encourage your employees to talk about the issue. Don’t let it be swept under the rug because, often, this is why it continues to be in an issue in the first place. The Women in the Workplace report states that while company commitment to gender parity is generally high, this is often not put into practice. This is usually because many employees aren’t on board with it. But by engaging in conversations with all your employees and getting them to say their piece, you’re creating a safer, more open workspace. And, hopefully, one that is gender-equal.

Gender equality should be non-negotiable. To foster a community of diversity and inclusivity, all genders must be accepted and treated fairly. Voice At The Table can help your company build programs and strategies that promote diversity and inclusivity, all for a healthier workplace. Get in touch with us to learn more!

*Anna Calvin is a freelance blogger who advocates for women‘s empowerment and LGBTQ+ rights. She likes tea. A lot of it.

Let us do the nudging for you!

I was talking to one of our clients recently when the Head of D&I said, “The trouble is, some of our executive leaders don’t really see a problem with diversity.  They think that we have a great, inclusive culture and that the lack of diversity is a result of us working in a white, male-dominated sector.  How do we make them feel the need to be more inclusive?”

 

Does that sound familiar?  It might do, as it isn’t an isolated occurrence.  In my experience, many of the existing leaders – particularly in sectors that are dominated by white men, such as finance, construction and tech – still grapple with the idea that the lack of diversity in their work circles isn’t due to a lack of talented people from different backgrounds and of different identities.  In most cases, the lack of diversity is pure and simple a consequence of incomplete inclusion.  Sure, most companies are inclusive – to those who look like them and behave like them.  But even in cases where inclusion and engagement scores are high, like 80% or even 90%, we’re still talking about 10 to 20 percent of the work force that are not engaged or included.  Isn’t that too high a cost?

 

So how do we make these leaders feel the need for diversity action?

I suggested to my client the use of Inclusion Nudges.

Inclusion Nudges is a concept developed by two senior  D&I experts Tinna Nielsen and Lisa Kepinski in 2013. Based on the nudge theory by Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein, Inclusion Nudges are designed to motivate and encourage people to behave in a more inclusive manner without thinking about it.

Inclusion Nudges are necessary because our behaviour is driven primarily by our subconscious mind – our ‘fast brain’.  The part of our brain that reacts quickly based on emotion and learned signals.  It is the part of the brain that helped us survive for thousands of years – and hence, our ‘primitive brain’.  It is an incredibly efficient system that works beautifully to help us cope with the everyday.  That said, this ancient coping mechanism is also riddled with biases – more than 200 of them, and that’s before we add any personal ones that we developed based on our own experiences, preferences and upbringing.

Our thinking brain – the Neocortex (or the ‘slow brain’) doesn’t even realise it when we act in a biased manner.  In fact, most of our behaviour choices and judgments don’t even register there.

So even those of us who have the very best intentions not to be biased and to be more inclusive find it difficult to behave this way, given that most of our behaviour is driven by our subconscious mind.

No wonder, then, that most of us – including many who are senior leaders – don’t recognise the fact that their organisation’s lack of diversity is most likely a consequence of behaviours, and not due to any perceived reason.

This is why Inclusion Nudges are so helpful.

So back to my client… I suggested that they try following action from the book on Inclusion Nudges:  collect quotes from discussions, exit interviews and any other occasions that bring to life people’s experiences at the company – situations when people felt excluded.  Statements such as

When my colleagues go out for a pint after work, I can’t join them because I have to pick up my son.  I feel I’m missing out on bonding opportunities, being left behind.

or

When I try to make my point at a meeting, I’m frequently interrupted. This makes me feel insignificant.

or

 Once a colleague said to me “You’re Asian and you don’t like spicy foods?” I felt bad for not living up to his stereotype.

The quotes can be presented as part of a meeting on D&I or – for greater impact – taped to the walls of a meeting room (when we’re back meeting each other in actual rooms), set out on paper speech bubbles.  Before the meeting starts, the leaders can be invited to walk around and read the quotes, so they can start to feel how some people in the organisation feel.  This is a great way to start the conversation about the need for positive action.

Inclusion Nudges offer great techniques to help develop an inclusive workplace.  If you’re interested to learn more, do get the book (warning, it’s quite thick!).  Or you can reach out to us if you’d like to find out how to use them to address your specific challenge or how to incorporate them into your already-ongoing D&I programme.

Explore the Voice At The Table Video Library!

Flexible, affordable, pre-recorded virtual development sessions available through individual or corporate membership