Home » Strategies for championing DE&I in the workplace: Kantola sponsors SHRM’s Inclusion 2021 Conference

Strategies for championing DE&I in the workplace: Kantola sponsors SHRM’s Inclusion 2021 Conference

by Veronica Bocian

What does it take to create a more inclusive organization? That’s the critical question tackled by SHRM (Society for Human Resource Managers) at the INCLUSION 2021 conference in October. 

Among the 50+ sessions offered, Kantola sponsored an in-person and virtual piece titled “A Conversation with Business Leaders: Strategies for Championing DE&I in the Workplace” led by Sean T. Sullivan, Chief Human Resources Officer at SHRM, and panelists including: 

  • Joya Hayes, Director of Human Resources and Civil Service for the city of Austin 
  • Byna Elliott, Head of Advancing Black Pathways with JPMorgan Chase & Co. 
  • Greg Jones, Chief Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Officer for Cargill 
  • Greg R. Flores, Founder and Owner of Sculpted Leaders, LLC.  

Here are some of the learning points offered at the session. 

Opening with the recognition that internal diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) work has become a top priority at this moment in time since the killing of George Floyd and the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter Movement in May of 2020, panelists discussed the idea that organization’s will begin to lose their employees if they fail to accelerate their progress within their DEI framework and strategies. The killing of George Floyd, according to Byna Elliott, turned our perceptions of DEI work from a distant aspiration, into something that organizations will be, and should be, held accountable for both by employees and customers.  

While panelists agreed the Black Lives Matter movement began beautifully, they also recognized that it very quickly became divisive, and should continue to shed light on the changes we need to make for the greater good—beginning with our places of work and catalyzing internal conversations. The panelists noted that making commitments to tangible results through hiring, onboarding approaches and recruitment, are all action items and take-aways managers can implement in their DEI progress.  

Other advice given throughout the session included being fully present as a manager; understanding what your team is experiencing and facing, being unafraid to confront gaps within your current set-up, and admitting mistakes as leaders when we know we can improve or work more effectively aligned to our DEI framework. Joya Hayes, Director of Human Resources and Civil Service for the city of Austin, said that this kind of work, put simply, is “Meeting people where they are: being open to non-traditional ways of working and hiring in order to broaden your organization’s process and strengthen your company’s future.” 

Kantola was incredibly proud to be among sponsors for this unique event designed to expand thinking on fostering inclusiveness and cultural awareness and a true example of the kind of work we at Kantola are so thrilled to be a part of.  

Photo credit: Society for Human Resource Management

Learn more about the conference here.

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