In the final instalment of our Inspiring Women series, we turn to Tali Shlomo, a human resource director and Diversity, Inclusion and Wellbeing specialist.
Delivering inclusion and wellbeing and thought leadership globally is no mean feat, making Tali’s insight all the more valuable. For anyone looking to raise up, what follows surely must be the first port of call.
What surprises your audiences most when running your diversity programs?
Learning about Diversity and Inclusion and applying its principles is a muscle you have to keep using. Showing up to unconscious bias training and thinking “that’s it, I’m done” simply isn’t going to deliver sustainable outcomes.
After all, we all have unconscious biases and it is about investing the time to unlearn old habits and assumptions. This starts with the self, taking the time to learn, be curious and explore what it is like to be the ‘other’. Stepping into someone else’s lived experience to see what it is like from their perspective allows us to shift our behaviours and thought patterns. Most people think D and I is about training, but it’s so much more than that — it’s a long-term personal commitment.
What do you think of the news that there are no black CEOs in the FTSE100? What does this mean for inclusive recruitment?
It is shocking that in 2021 we are in this position. It should give us the determination to rectify the way we attract, retain and promote talent in the workplace. If ever there was something to propel us, it needs to be this kind of data.
What’s the simplest thing a leader can do to transform their business’ culture, in terms of Diversity and Inclusion?
Firstly, be a role model. Be curious to learn and to share lived experience. If you are organising any initiatives as part of your engagement and learning programme, then it is vital you join the conversation, as a participant or attendee. We all have a role to play in these conversations.
Secondly, start to measure progress — what is your data telling you? How many people are you recruiting and promoting that are women, women of colour, LGBT+ women, women who have a disability and so on? What are your employees telling you about inclusion at your organisation? The role of sponsorship and flexible working are just some instances of initiatives that support the shift to inclusive workplace cultures. And definitely don’t take a one-size-fits-all approach to every business function.
In your experience, what are the barriers to women being represented equally in boardrooms?
It is important that we identify the impact the colleague life cycle has on representation. The challenges start with attracting and recruiting talent, and then supporting their development. There are plenty of ways to tackle these: write role profiles with gender-neutral language and offer flexible working patterns.
Thereafter, conversation through mentoring, sponsorship and coaching is also crucial — it can create opportunities to empower. From there, leaders need to consider bigger issues, such as inclusive succession planning, which feeds into the boardroom. We can accelerate boardroom representation by creating a shadow board or an apprentice board role as a part of this. These are the kinds of innovative solutions we all need to be looking to.
What does Diversity and Inclusion really mean to you?
It is important for organisations to define what D and I means for them. For me, diversity centres on representation, whilst inclusion is concerned with the question, “Do I have a voice to contribute?”. As the human-centric colleague experience grows in importance over the coming years, the role of inclusion will be particularly critical.
What is the best piece of leadership advice you have ever received?
When someone asks you to get involved or lead on a high profile project or initiative, say ‘yes’. Don’t overanalyse, don’t overthink it. Learn from the experience and use it as an opportunity to showcase your talent.
For Juggle’s run-down on trends for the next 5 years, head here.