On October 3rd, 2017 Lerners LLP was pleased to host a Community of Practice Event presented by the Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion (CCDI), the first of its kind in London. This interactive session covered topics relating to how to set up a Diversity and Inclusion committee in the workplace, guidelines on the roles and responsibilities of committee members, and best practices for implementing and leveraging Diversity and Inclusion councils and committees within your organization.
As the Chair of Lerners Diversity and Inclusion Committee, I was pleased we were able to bring in Susan Rogers, Chief Client Officer with CCDI, who has broad experience in leading Diversity and Inclusion initiatives within a wide range of business environments. She is extremely knowledgeable in this area and gave many insights to our audience, who represented private and government organizations, both large and small, from many different industries in various stages along their Diversity and Inclusion journey. This diversity among the audience members enriched the discussion as many shared their varied experiences, successes, and challenges so far.
Lerners understands the value of promoting and encouraging a diverse and inclusive environment, both from an employee engagement perspective and from a business perspective. Increasingly, clients want to work with people like themselves, so employing people from a number of different communities and backgrounds becomes increasingly important to continue to grow our client base. Being diverse and inclusive is good for business!
Susan outlined many different approaches and structures for creating a diversity and inclusion committee or council. She gave guidelines on who should be included in these committees to ensure adequate representation, visibility, and success. There is a common assumption that diversity and inclusion is an Human Resource (HR) function, but as Susan said in her presentation “if it lives in HR, it will die in HR”. She stressed the importance of including team members from Finance, Information Technology, Marketing as well as HR and other departments to ensure buy-in and support of committee initiatives.
Susan advised on the importance of defining the roles and responsibilities of committee members, what they are and are not responsible for within the committee. She strongly recommends communicating committee initiatives in addition to creating and tracking metrics to measure success along the way. Measurements, both quantitative and qualitative, are important to benchmark, track progress, and gain momentum around clearly defined initiatives and goals. What gets measured get improved!
When the formal presentation ended, there was a lot of energy in the room, as attendees discussed ideas, shared experiences and talked about how we can all help each other on this long journey ahead. As Graham Porter, Chair of Lerners LLP, said in his introduction “we are at the beginning of our journey to enhance diversity and inclusion, but we know how important it is and we are committed to putting time and resources behind this initiative to continue to improve and move forward”.
I am proud to work for an organization that is committed to leading the way on diversity and inclusion. We have a lot of work to do and we feel that we are headed in the right direction to implementing initiatives that support promoting a diverse and inclusive environment which will make a meaningful difference in the lives our employees, partners and clients. We are excited to continue to engage with the community we are building to share experiences and best practices along the way. Let’s hope other invitees join us in supporting CCDI in London!