Senior Vice President, South and Midlands, CGI
Encouraging unconditional inclusivity in the workplace creates a safe place for employees to learn and educate others, enabling people to truly be themselves at work.
“Unconditional inclusivity is about people being able to be their authentic selves in the workplace,” explains Donna Kelly, the Senior Vice President and Business Unit lead for CGI’s South and Midlands in the UK. “How we encourage that is by creating a number of networks that provide support to any individual who feels they are in a diverse community,” says Kelly.
“But it’s also about creating a safe, authentic environment where people feel they can educate others; so we are all learning about different cultures, ethnicities, genders, disabilities and sexualities.”
DE&I is everyone’s responsibility
Interestingly, CGI’s DE&I is not run by a professional member of staff but by the ‘members’ (staff). “Our experience is that if you have DE&I run by one person, everyone will look at them and say, ‘What are you doing to make changes?’ Therefore, our whole leadership board believes it is, in fact, everybody’s responsibility.”
This means the company’s networks are voluntary-based. As well as gender, Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME), disability and LGBT+, there are 13 breakout groups, one of which is a menopause network. “We actually found that there were more men than women at a recent session about this topic, to learn more about what their partners, friends and family members are experiencing,” explains Kelly.
Learning from each other is often
the greatest cure to DE&I challenges.
Listening to employee needs
Democracy is at the heart of our company decision-making: “All the networks bring their ideas to the table. Based on those suggestions, we listen and see if we can apply those ideas to our business. For example, we are now about to amend our paternity policy, recognising the support both partners need when having a child,” says Kelly.
She personally supports staff members to make changes within CGI by “giving them the belief they should speak up and creating a safe environment to speak out, without it being sensational.” She adds that: “Learning from each other is often the greatest cure to DE&I challenges.”
Bringing clients with them on this journey is met by “sharing our practices, learning from each other, and keeping inclusivity at the centre. Because by having a team of people that reflect the diversity of our clients, we believe we can come up with the solutions that ultimately make projects successful.”