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IWD 2024: Revolutionising workplace dynamics: A closer look at inclusion beyond diversity
Thu, 7th Mar 2024

To inspire inclusion, businesses must transcend gender-centric approaches, embracing diversity, equity, and inclusion holistically. While progress has been made in recent years, true inclusivity requires a deeper understanding of individual perspectives and experiences within the workplace.

It's important to consider the differences between diversity, equity and inclusion. Progress has been made in seeing a wider representation of people from diverse backgrounds, while equity is rooted in fair treatment for all people: where a person's identity does not predict their opportunities or workplace outcomes.

Inclusion puts the focus on the individual's perspective and their experience in the organisation: it's all about how employees experience the workplace and the extent to which organisations embrace all their employees and give them the opportunities to make meaningful contributions. Companies dedicated to recruiting a diverse workforce must also support their team by creating an inclusive culture, so all voices are heard.

Lenovo's definition of inclusion is similarly broad: we have worked hard to be inclusive of gender diversity, and also of diverse backgrounds, cultures, and identities, across the entire business.

Lenovo demonstrates its commitment to gender diversity with its "Women in Lenovo Lead" (WILL) employee resource group. Both women and men are given opportunities to engage and learn more about gender inclusion through events in their local offices and make their voices heard. WILL is Lenovo's first ERG and has physical chapters located in all five of Lenovo's geographies, including Asia Pacific.

"You can't be what you can't see"
When a business sets itself the objective to be inclusive of diverse backgrounds and experiences, it will succeed in empowering women to attain higher organisational roles and be successful in them.

Last week the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) in Australia revealed the latest statistics on the gender pay gap, which show that progress is being made, albeit slowly. The key to narrowing the gap is to increase the proportion of women in management and in the upper pay quartiles. In recent years the proportion of women in management positions has increased at every level except CEO.

While there has been progress in Australia, women are still underrepresented in leadership and decision making across all industries: according to the WGEA, women make up only 22% of CEOs, and 42% of managers. 20% of women work part-time but only 7% of management roles are part time.

The key to bucking this trend is to embrace the difference in backgrounds of employees to include a wide spectrum of people from the outset. In Australia, businesses have the luxury of tapping into a variety of different backgrounds, given the diversity of our nation. Employers can accelerate the change by showing what inclusion looks like in your workplace and commit to action, such as committing to use more inclusive language.

To empower women as they move into leadership positions, it is crucial to consider how to support their role at work alongside their commitments and responsibilities outside the workplace. We must demonstrate that it's feasible to excel in both realms without sacrificing one for the other.

Looking beyond IWD
While calendar moments like IWD raise awareness, it's important that businesses commit to inspiring inclusion at a structural level year-round.

It is imperative to continue championing the unique skillset and contribution every individual brings to your business. Every person is inherently valuable and possesses a unique set of strengths and experiences. The business must then foster an environment where all individuals can thrive and develop and leverage diverse perspectives to drive the growth and success of the company.

Look at ways technology can help drive inclusive initiatives forward. In 2023 Lenovo launched its first-ever self-identification campaign allowing employees to voluntarily self-identify their gender identity, race and ethnicity, and self-disclose visible and invisible disabilities, in internal systems. Starting in the US, with plans to roll out in other markets, the self-identification function will help Lenovo better understand the diversity of its workforce across different segments, including gender identity.

Lenovo uses several different global learning mechanisms to advance inclusive leadership behaviours. Our online platform provides tools and courses in eight different languages. Solutions include topics on leading diverse teams, managing diversity and inclusion, emotional intelligence, and managing different generations.

At Lenovo, you step into an environment built on respect for people. Our diverse team of people and offices means greater collaboration and sharing across borders, so we are exposed to the best practices in every sector. We are exceedingly proud to be truly global citizens.