Beyond the campaigns, what distinguishes a company as an inclusive space?

In June, messages around diversity and inclusion are usually reinforced by companies within the framework of the LGBT+ Pride Day. Although this is something important, what makes a company truly inclusive is its organizational culture and specific actions to create work spaces where everyone feels happy just the way they are.

From the perspective of Nicté Chávez, Human Resources consultant and activist for the rights of the LGBT+ community, mistakes are often made in terms of inclusion, such as setting quotas without having career plans, or thinking that a certification makes you an open space for all people.

“There are some companies that do not have any certification or do so many campaigns, and inside they are organizations where they really support diversity and inclusion, where you can be yourself or yourself. And there are other companies where they have all these campaigns and deployments, and suddenly it is more difficult for them to download the concept and apply it in real life”, explains the specialist, also HR Business Partner in Diversity and Inclusion at AB-Inbev.

According to Mercer, 41% of organizations in Mexico are reactive around these issues; that is, only on important dates such as the LGBT+ Pride Day reinforce their posture and actions. Only 4% of companies can be classified as mature, because they bring diversity into inclusion from the pillars of the organization and it is an important part of the work path.

“The seals, badges and rankings are only what is visible on Diversity and inclusion, but an organization is diverse and inclusive when it applies these terms in all its activities and day-to-day activities. This is not a month, it is the whole year and it is not a type of recruitment practice like welcoming a certain number of people, it goes much further. This has to be reflected in the culture,” says Esmeralda Araiza, founder and CEO of DT Latina.

Despite all the campaigns in June, only the 18% of employees believes your company has the tools and strategies to foster an inclusive workplace, according to the latest Remuneration Study from PageGroup.

For Esmeralda Araiza, part of the challenges facing organizations is the “lack of consistency between the policies that exist and their implementation in practice.” Unfortunately, she exposes, this happens when leaders are not sensitized and trained to put strategies into practice from paper.

Where to start?

“If you are really betting on diversity and inclusion, you have to start with concrete actions, from having recruitment protocols, inclusion policies and career plans. This is fundamental, because sometimes we would think that by accepting the people from the LGBT+ community it is enough, and we forget that there are special requirements”, says Nicté Chávez.

In this sense, Esmeralda Araiza believes that an important step in this is to introspect on the diversity in the organization. In many cases, companies are already diverse, but they don’t know it, because they don’t offer a space of psychological safety for people to develop freely.

In addition, the specialist considers that it is necessary to make visible the importance of diversity and inclusion for companies from the inside. According to the Boston Consulting Group, companies with diversity have 19% more profits than organizations that do not bet on this issue, this is due to innovation.

Nicté Chávez agrees on this, since inclusion has been seen socially as “a whim of minorities”, but in reality it is not. In fact, inclusion can improve the talent attraction and also the profitability of the company.

“You have open ideas, you have a different approach in the markets. It is necessary to talk about diversity schemes both for a human issue, but also as a business vision”, he says.

Advances and challenges in inclusion

According to an analysis by Baker McKenzie, diversity and inclusion policies in Mexico they used to be considered as a way to avoid administrative responsibility for discrimination, but in recent years the perspective has changed towards a more proactive stance. “In companies they have witnessed its positive impact on their business and their workforce,” says the firm.

However, as the workforce becomes more aware, discrimination complaints they also increase, which forces companies to review their diversity and inclusion policies, a point in which progress has been made, but in which Mexico shows a lag compared to other jurisdictions.

The report Inclusion and Diversity in Latin America by Baker McKenzie shows that in our country the challenges and trends in this area are:

  1. Positive discrimination. The Federal Law to Prevent and Eliminate Discrimination allows employers to apply positive discrimination actions to protect underrepresented groups.
  2. Legislation on remuneration based on gender. It does not exist in Mexico.
  3. Equal Pay Legislation. Under Mexican labor law, all employees who perform the same job under the same conditions (ie work shift, position) and efficiency must receive the same salary.
  4. Workplace Harassment Litigation. There are special procedural provisions for lawsuits based on workplace harassment, which reduce litigation time and speed resolution. But few cases of workplace harassment are observed, however, the firm anticipates that this type of cases will increase in the medium term.
  5. Diversity and inclusion training programs. They are not required by any local legislation, but have been implemented most often by companies as a way to embed culture, ensure the proper impact of internal initiatives, and position the employer brand as an inclusive and diverse company.

“Organizations around the world are making slow progress in achieving the diversity and inclusion goals. Our research of 900 labor leaders confirms that many organizations are less far down the road than they hoped; They continue to work on long-standing priorities such as raising diversity and inclusion awareness, recruiting and retaining diverse talent, and increasing senior management diversity.

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