Welcome to The Work Place, where we’re hot on the trail of what makes great workplace cultures tick, and what we can all do to make the ones we work in better.
This episode, we’ll be talking with Namrata Yadav about inclusion, diversity, and why those terms are so much more than buzzwords.
Join us after the interview for Tangible Takeaways, where we’ll talk about the ideas and actions we can take with us and implement our own workplace cultures.
Namrata Yadav is the Head of Inclusion Strategy at Bank of America, which means she’s responsible for the entire enterprise strategy and initiatives for the multinational corporation’s work environment and culture. Basically, everything great about the culture at Bank of America, she’s had a hand in. And anything not so great, she’s probably already working on improving. In short, she’s an HR leader’s HR leader.
Namrata was interviewed by the one and only Katie Clifford, who I haven’t seen in person for months. Hopefully, she hasn’t radically changed her look so much that I don’t recognise her.
Now it’s time for Tangible Takeaways, where we take big ideas out for sunday brunch at the latest downtown hotspot and order vegan chilaquiles with a side of bottomless mimosas so we can just DISH the latest office gossip
1. The first is that while creating an inclusive workplace culture takes more than talk, it does take talk. A lot of talk. At Bank of America, that meant facilitating hundreds, if not thousands of conversations, led by leaders, discussing difficult topics, tackling tough questions, and generally getting into the issues most people wouldn’t dream of talking about at work. And after those conversations, questions. Leading to more conversations and more questions. It’s an arduous, uncomfortable process, but that’s what it’s going to take to create real, lasting change.
2. The second is that inclusion must be INCLUSIVE. Inclusion isn’t just about addressing the needs of a few, select underrepresented groups. It means addressing the wide, wonderful range of experiences, genders, lifestyles, backgrounds, and beliefs. Policies to reduce hiring bias are important, of course. But so are policies to help parents better balance their work with their family. When Namrata travels, her children travel with her. Because Bank of America helps her find daycare or babysitters when she’s on the road, she can focus on work when she’s working, knowing that her family’s needs are taken care of. And still be able to spend the time with them they both need. So much of inclusion is about thinking beyond the traditional role of workplace culture and taking care of employees as people, with all the complexities and nuances that come along for the ride.
3. The third is that while diversity and inclusion is having a moment, we have to be careful to not treat it like a passing trend. Hashtags, moving commercials, and corporate commitments are all well and good for raising awareness and “starting the conversation”, but we have to push forward to the part where we do something about it. Real, concrete actions, not just statements of intent. If you want to talk about something, talk about the results of the policies and programs you implemented once they’ve started showing results. Even if it’s just at the team level. Be the example to your coworkers, your leaders, your organization. If you have privilege, use it for good. If you have power, share it with others. And if you still have hope for a better world, you’re not alone.
As always, this episode was written and produced by yours truly, with additional production, original music, and sound design by Daniel Foster Smith.
If you liked this episode, or even if you didn’t, please rate, review, and, of course, subscribe to The Work Place on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts. If you have a burning question about workplace culture, or a story about why YOUR workplace culture is the best (or worst) send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Work Place is sponsored by O.C. Tanner, the global leader in engaging workplace cultures. O.C. Tanner’s Culture Cloud™ provides a single, modular suite of apps for influencing and improving employee experiences through recognition, career anniversaries, wellbeing, leadership, and more.
If you want your organisation to become a place where people can’t wait to come to work in the morning, go to octanner.com/in/.
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