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What role do you play in D&I?

Diversity and Inclusion—these are words thrown around so much that they have become buzzwords. And yet, without them, we’d be in a lot of trouble.

Real trouble. Not missing a meeting or getting into an argument with your boss—trouble deep down at the core of what makes us human beings.

When we build walls and separate ourselves from people who are different, something needs to be done, and that something isn’t someone else’s responsibility.

The work required to fix this issue can only be done through diversity, inclusion, and awareness of our treatment of others. To do that, we need to see the role we play.

Not just another HR talking point

Most people believe working on ‘Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion’ is something Human Resources does.

Every once in awhile—usually following an HR compliant or lawsuits—HR trots out some sort of D&I training or seminar—and days later, folks are already back to their old habits. It’s a tale as old as time, and one of the reasons why Diversity and Inclusion training, historically, fails spectacularly. 

HR is there to supplement the work you and I have to do every day. We can’t rely on them to make us into more inclusive people the same way we can’t rely on our dentist to brush our teeth for us every morning. Ownership is required.

You get a healthy work environment the same way you get a healthy smile, by doing what you have to do every day  

The first step in creating a more diverse and inclusive workplace is realizing that the onus is on you, me—all of us individually to show up and realize that our behaviors impact those around us.

Suits and ties and you and I

You get to work (or hop on Zoom), smile at your co-workers, get some work done, and get the heck out as quickly as possible. Sound like you? You’re not alone. We’re not going to sound the alarm just yet, though.

Don’t think of folks as your colleagues or bosses or managers—for a moment, consider that they’re people. They all have a story to tell. They’re struggling, just like you. When we begin to build real relationships with people, we stop seeing them as faces on a screen or people to ignore on the way out the door. We see them as human. Imperfect. Capable of change. Unique in their difference. 

“I” for Inclusion

Once you’ve realized it’s not HR’s job to promote an Inclusive environment and begin to see others at work as humans, the question you should ask yourself is simple” What can I do to create a more diverse and inclusive workplace?”

It’s easy to get started. Here are a few ways you can begin to build towards and inclusive workplace:

  • Become an ally to an affinity group (Latino, Black, LGBTQ+, or other) and ask how
    to get involved and support them. 
  • Learn how to pronounce your team members’ names. Ask how and take notes. 
  • Be aware of allergies and dietary restrictions when ordering/scheduling a lunch. 

Lived experience and the value of differences 

At Softway, we’re passionate about building bridges across difference. Instead of creating sameness—we help companies of all sizes celebrate what makes people unique.

Our products and services are created for organizations hunting for new, more modern ways of building diversity and inclusion efforts that have lasting change. We start where it matters most: self-awareness and behavior change.

To that end, we’ve created Hue™—a D&I learning platform that helps people learn more about the most pressing D&I topics in a way that builds greater self-awareness and inclusive practices.

Learn more about Hue™ and bring diversity and inclusion training into the 21st century for your organization.