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Dina Alvarez | Head of Culture & Talent | everis UK

Would you like to dance?

A diverse workforce is key to create value, grow and be competitive. Improving the inclusion of different cultures, generations, sexual orientations, and so on, increases a company’s success. Boston Consulting has published a study proving that companies with higher diversity have 19% more revenue.

Diversity is the fuel of innovation and enables us to create a better world. Equality is the key to creating a diverse workforce with different ideas and point of views.

We are all different. Recent psychometric research aligns with this concept but it is important to consider that psychological assessments will never be effective with a one-size-fits-all approach. Instead, they must be culturally appropriate and adapted to both dimensions of diversity within a specific institution and individual differences. We now find ourselves in an era where understanding that we are all different and unique can have a huge impact on professional and business success, but also happiness and quality of life.

Each person has their own individual characteristics and differences. Thus, it is important to consider that differing cognitive styles can lead to different interpretations of situations and affect how we behave.

To integrate this mindset into any given organisation, we should consider the Loden’s Wheel. Marilyn Loden suggests how we can break down personal characteristics to discover what defines each individual, and thus what elements might form barriers in relationships. She explores the primary and secondary dimensions that inform our social identities.

Primary dimensions of diversity shape an individual’s values, self-image/identity, opportunities and perceptions of others.

Secondary dimensions consider elements that effect others. Each one defines an individual’s social identity.

As such, these primary and secondary dimensions could lead to a clash in cultures and can cause conflicts when ignored, devalued or misunderstood by others.

To combat this, we have implemented our everis Is Diversity plan which focusses on uniqueness. This plan’s objective is increase the visibility of diversity and build a more diversity-friendly organisation.

We have to be aware of the stereotypes and unconscious bias and start from within to manage them effectively. As such, we incorporate these two dimensions in three different approaches:

Awareness approach: To raise awareness of diverse mindsets because we are all unique, different and have different motivations, expectations and needs. We highlight the importance of being inclusive by promoting the valuation of the individual as a unique person. Diversity is an asset of everis. Both diversity and inclusion have a positive impact on the company’s results. We look to improve people’s lives by giving our employees the tools to know and to lead themselves, to better understand each other and embrace our differences as a community. If we create an environment in which our employees embrace diversity, it will resonate with people around them and create a wave that has a significant impact in our society.

Cognitive behavioural approach: To deeply understand the impact of stereotypes and neutralise them by knowing ourselves and how cognitive biases are flawed. Stereotypes are the result of the biases that our brain uses as mental shortcuts to better process information. We want to develop a “unique look” for both ourselves and others. This allows us to challenge ourselves, choose what we want to be and dare to change and reinvent ourselves. This enables a positive mindset.

We have designed a programme of 4 sessions that focus on uniqueness. It aims to understand the topic from different perspectives. In these sessions we address the audience from a holistic angle, trying to understand each individual needs, dream, etc, providing a 360 vision.

Again this year we ran intercultural training to help employees recognise the importance of cultural differences. Through this training, attendees explore recognition, the understanding and appreciation of different cultures and different communication styles, values and behaviours.

A culture of flexibility which can be adapted to each employee is important to support diversity. For us, this includes flexible career paths and working hours. Giving employees autonomy to make the best decisions for themselves is key to their and our success. We have created an environment of flexible freedom and a personalised approach within talent management areas (career development, training, etc.).

For sure, diversity goes hand in hand with inclusive leadership which has the ability to manage different approaches, points of view, needs and their own unconscious bias.

The impact of this is evident throughout our community. We have 24 nationalities and 4 generations, all working together as a team. What do we have in common? Our everis values. Our inclusive values facilitate the development and achievement of our common purpose: the integral development of our colleagues. We want to achieve our dreams together; collaboration and respect for diversity are part of our everis DNA. This is important when working with culturally diverse groups of people and with groups whose cultural practices differ from one another. We can see the impact this has by the actions of our employees. For example, more than 1/3 of our employees attend and participate in activities like our intercultural picnic, London Pride brunch and we also have two circles: a places where people with commonalities can talk and share ideas. These circles are led by our own employees.

As Verna Myers says, “Diversity is being invited to the party. Inclusion is being asked to dance.”

Would you like to dance with us?

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