We’re on a journey at Tribal to understand more about diversity, inclusion and belonging – what it means to our tribe, our customers and our wider community.
I always knew there was something special about the people at Tribal and I also recognised that if we wanted to continue our growth path, I needed to better understand this topic.
My immediate reaction was to enrol our team on courses to better understand unconscious bias and what it means to nurture diversity within the organisation. But my HR team suggested otherwise. They suggested looking inwards and exploring the stories and experiences of those closest to our brand – the stories of our own employees.
So, just over a year ago we started to include these discussions in our team meetings. Every 6 months, we ask people to share their experiences and help the tribe learn what it feels like to walk in their shoes.
These conversations have been eye-opening, shocking and tearful. Throughout this experience, we’ve heard about online bullying, unconscious bias, disabilities, racial hatred and ageism. The experiences of our employees help us to better understand and appreciate the world through the eyes of others.
Here’s what I’ve learned so far:
Diversity is something to be understood and celebrated
What better way to understand diversity than to hear it from your team first-hand. As we heard about the experiences of others it made me appreciate that diversity runs deep and wide across our organisation. We have a multi-lingual and multi-cultural team, covering different ages, cultures, races, religions, sexual orientations and disabilities and it’s amazing. We bring different perspectives and reasons to celebrate every single day. I absolutely love that and hadn’t realised it until I became aware of it.
Belonging will only happen if employees feel safe in their work environment
This is a utopia. Creating a culture where employees feel safe enough to be open, transparent and honest is my goal. June is Pride month and with 21% of LGBTQ+ employees in the EU and 45.5% in the US having experienced discrimination in work, there’s clearly a lot that still needs to be done to make work a safe place for everyone.
A place where each employee can bring their whole self to work – where we can wear our heart on our sleeve and be themselves. Belonging is a place where there is mutual respect for differing views and opinions, where we listen to feedback, and we learn from the experiences of others.
Equity is as important as equality
So, this is a new one for me. I had heard of equality but not equity, so I went on a mission to better understand what this meant. This image explains it best for me. It isn’t just about providing equal opportunities for everyone; it’s about raising up minority groups to have access to those opportunities.
Leaders have an important role to play
As a leader, I’ve come to realise and understand my role in providing a platform for our employees to share their experiences. Whilst we’re only small (compared to our customers), we can still have a big impact on educating others. We don’t truly understand diversity, inclusion and belonging until we see it through the lens of others. Leaders have a role and a responsibility, to better understand the experiences of employees and then elevate them to help others learn.
This isn’t a one-time conversation
At Tribal, we’ve been on this journey for some time, but the conversation never stops. This Pride month we have the opportunity to champion and celebrate LGBTQ+ belonging, but it’s important that we continue to have these types of conversations year-round, rather than confine it to one month a year.
We must always work to understand the perspectives of others and embrace the opportunity to celebrate our diverse culture. We’re evolving some of the conversations into action now, measuring our impact to better understand where we need to focus and improve. The most important thing is we’ve started this journey and taking it step by step.
At Tribal Impact, we want to start conversations, allow our community to get to know us on a deeper level and help others who can maybe relate to the topics we discussed. We’re starting to share these experiences on our blog under Diversity and Inclusion.
But we can do more…
This is just the start of the journey for me. 20% of adults feel they cannot be their true self at work and as a leader, it’s my duty to drive the change and continue working towards a more inclusive future. While utilising these skills in the workplace can be important, it may need to be used on a much broader scale.
Many of the Tribal team, and its clients, are parents, including myself. Currently, we are bringing our children up in a world that is still segregated by bias. Diversity and inclusion should start in childhood, to allow people to see and acknowledge their differences, and celebrate each person’s own individuality.
As for Tribal Impact, I want to keep listening to each member of my team and create a safe space where they can be themselves without any fear of persecution. In doing so, people may soon realise that it is these differences that can contribute toward different perspectives and a better working environment.