Strategy & Consultancy

Do we revert to "business as usual" or are businesses ready to move beyond performative allyship?

In the wake of March, a month marked by pivotal moments such as International Women's Day and the International Day Against Racism and Discrimination, businesses across the globe took it upon themselves to launch a variety of initiatives aimed at promoting awareness around these critical themes. While these efforts are indeed praiseworthy and highlight a growing consciousness within the corporate sphere about diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), they also bring us to a critical juncture that demands reflection and, more importantly, action. The real test begins when the spotlight fades. The question looms large: Are businesses ready to move beyond performative allyship to enact genuine, impactful change?

Posted on:25 mars 2024

A reality check from the front lines

A study by Acerta, conducted among 500 Belgian companies and 2,700 employees, provides a stark reality check, revealing that one in five employees still experience discrimination in the workplace. This statistic is not just a number; it's a clear indication that despite the best intentions and initiatives, there's a considerable gap between our aspirations and the reality on the ground.

Further compounding this issue, research by Google and the Boston Consulting Group indicates a significant discrepancy in perception and effectiveness of DE&I programs. While a majority of employees are aware of their company's DE&I efforts, less than a third of those from target groups feel these initiatives make a real difference. This discrepancy between intention and impact highlights a critical gap in our approach to DEI—a gap that cannot be bridged by transient campaigns or quotas alone.

Beyond quota - time for a real cultural shift

Quotas, while sometimes necessary, are merely the tip of the iceberg. They may bring diversity to the table, but they do not automatically cultivate an environment of equity and inclusion. True inclusion requires a deep-rooted cultural shift, an overhaul in the way companies operate and think about diversity, equity, and inclusion. It demands policies and practices that are not only written but lived, breathing life into the very fabric of an organization's culture.

The path forward

This moment in time calls for businesses to take a hard look at their DEI efforts and ask themselves, "What now?" Beyond the month of March, beyond the celebratory posts and pledges, lies the real work. It's time for companies to integrate DEI into the DNA of their operations, making it an everyday priority rather than an annual observance. This means moving beyond performative measures to enact policies that foster a truly inclusive environment where every employee, regardless of their background, feels valued and heard.

The journey toward genuine inclusion is fraught with challenges and requires more than just good intentions. It demands a commitment to ongoing education, open dialogue, and the courage to confront and change entrenched biases and practices. Only then can we hope to bridge the gap between aspiration and reality, making DEI a cornerstone of corporate culture rather than a box to be checked.

This is not just about making a statement; it's about making a difference.

As we move forward, let us carry the momentum of March's observances into every day of the year, transforming our workplaces into spaces where diversity is celebrated, equity is non-negotiable, and inclusion is evident in every policy, practice, and interaction. This is not just the path to better businesses but a step toward a more equitable and inclusive society.

Written bySana Sellami

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