Crossing Boundaries: Journeying from Diversity to Inclusion
Crossing Boundaries: Journeying from Diversity to InclusionAccording to McKinsey’s May 2020 report, “Diversity Wins,” or in other words, “D&I is a powerful enabler of business performance. Companies whose leaders welcome diverse talent and include multiple perspectives are likely to emerge from the crisis stronger. In short: diversity wins, now more than ever.” Here at Fortude, we continue to make diversity part of our DNA. The mistake that is commonly made across several industries is that organizations leave it up to HR to foster inclusive environments. D&I is not an HR strategy; it’s a strategy that includes everyone – so, in order to be successful, we have to be successful together. Back in 2018, we launched an initiative in line with International Women's Day to enable Fortudites to understand the importance of diversity. We asked industry leaders to join us, sharing their thoughts. Remarking on his life experiences, our Managing Director Arjuna Sirinanda spoke about his passion for recruiting and retaining a talented, diverse team. In addition, the panel asserted that it was critical that male professionals and other well-represented demographics do their part to support D&I initiatives, since this benefits everyone. Later that year, we decided to work towards really ‘including’ inclusion – in other words, to make the value of diversity matter, across all our projects and initiatives. That’s when we put together our first baseline data – an internal survey on the impact of Diversity and Inclusion on the organization. November 2018 brought us the Fortude CHIP challenge, which brought together diverse thinking as we worked towards a common goal. While the whole event, facilitated by Sandbox Consultancy, was heaps of fun, it taught us many things – and top on the list were the endless possibilities available if we only embraced our differences and used it as one of our biggest value propositions. If you look closer at this picture, you can see the flags where we, as an organization, are represented – each location as rich in culture as the next, and bringing to our business goals the zest and drive which motivates us all. We then looked to really define our D&I mandate, asking ourselves the question: what does diversity mean to us? In a nutshell, Fortude seeks to create an environment that is conducive to a wide assortment of employees, enabling them to function effectively irrespective of race, ethnicity, gender, different types of thinking, world views, skill set, education, geographic upbringing, religion or sexual orientation. Our goals: • To reduce the gender disparity to 40:60 in 2020 • To maintain fair & transparent processes for hiring & promotions • To create awareness on unconscious bias • To nurture “Glocal” thinking & culture Once again, in January 2019, we requested Carmen, Nirusha, Danu to speak to our teams on the various aspects of diversity, launching therewith, our diversity pledge. From left: Danu Innasithamby (Global Peace Ambassador for the World Peace and Diplomacy Organization), Nirusha Ranjitkumar Ratnatunga (Partner at Nithya Partners) & Carmen Niethammer (Program Manager - Women in Work at IFC) at the launch of the I AM DIVERSITY initiative at Fortude.
The Fortude Diversity PledgeAs a Fortudite, I will strive:
- To embrace the diversity of all individuals respecting such attributes as their sex, gender, race, ethnicity, age, class, citizenship, marital status, sexual orientation, nationality, socioeconomic status, religion, physical ability, mental ability, and expression.
- To strive toward equal opportunity and justice for all people in order to create and sustain a safer, more productive, and inclusive Fortude environment.
- To refrain from using derogatory terms or statements that are harmful and disrespectful to others.
- To not contribute to stereotypes or make generalizations about individuals but rather to use my own experiences and interactions to better understand and embrace all people.
- To educate myself about cultures other than my own.
- To engage in and contribute to the diverse world around me.
- To actively honor this pledge within my everyday life.