Spotting gaps in your business's Diversity & Inclusion efforts - Business Leader News

Spotting gaps in your business’s Diversity & Inclusion efforts

We spoke to Leah Shafik, Regional Bid Director, UK&I at Logicalis. A renowned LGBTQIA+ Diversity Champion, Leah discusses some of the diversity initiatives she’s helped to launch at the IT solutions provider, how companies can address gaps in their own Diversity & Inclusion efforts, and more.

What inspired you to set up the LGBTQIA+ employee resource group at Logicalis?

I created the Architects of Pride LGBTQIA+ employee resource group at Logicalis because I wanted to foster a greater sense of inclusion, safety, and support for LGBTQIA+ employees across the company’s global operations. Although, throughout my life, I have personally always felt accepted for who I am, I recognised that not everyone has had that experience.

While Logicalis already had a strong focus on diversity and inclusion, I noticed there wasn’t a dedicated group for LGBTQIA+ employees specifically. Some of our international colleagues still face persecution for being part of the LGBTQIA+ community or even just showing allyship. I felt it was crucial to take a global approach to support and empower these employees.

So, I partnered with a colleague in Brazil to launch Architects of Pride as a forum where LGBTQIA+ employees globally can raise concerns, discuss challenges they face, and find community. Since our first calls in December 2022 with nearly 100 participants from a wide range of countries, we’ve expanded the group further by securing four more Architects of Pride Champions and gaining sponsorship from the Logicalis Group CEO.

I’m extremely proud of the progress we’ve made so far in building this global community of support and advocacy for Logicalis’ LGBTQIA+ employees and allies. There is still work to be done, but this is an amazing start.

Can you tell us more about how Architects of Pride supports its members?

Our mission is to build a truly inclusive and supportive community for Logicalis’ LGBTQIA+ employees. We strive to create an environment where everyone feels safe, valued, and empowered to be their authentic selves.

Together, we are working to sustain visibility and a strong sense of belonging for LGBTQIA+ staff across Logicalis’ global business. Through regular virtual events and open forums, we aim to give LGBTQIA+ employees and allies a space to connect, share experiences, and make their voices heard.

We are also committed to advocating for equitable policies, fair treatment, and leadership opportunities for our LGBTQIA+ colleagues. Our charter enshrines the rights of all in our community to equal dignity, respect, privacy, and freedom to live and work without fear of harm or discrimination.

By promoting greater awareness and cultural sensitivity, providing mentorship, we endeavour to foster a workplace where LGBTQIA+ employees can thrive as their true, best selves. Our group is an important step toward making Logicalis a model for diversity and inclusion for all organisations.

What other measures does Logicalis employ to reduce unconscious bias?

We provide mandatory unconscious bias training for all staff to raise awareness of prejudices we may not even realise we hold. Employees are then able to recognise biased behaviours and act against them. Our global inclusion council spearheads initiatives to support underrepresented groups and we continuously survey employees to understand their needs and experiences, so we can evolve our policies and culture accordingly.

    In addition, through comprehensive wellbeing initiatives, we support employees’ physical, mental, and emotional health. Because we know that healthy, happy employees are more engaged, creative, and effective. At Logicalis, we understand that inclusion and equity must be woven into the fabric of our culture, and we make the steps needed to ensure this.

    How can organisations best support their LGBTQIA+ employees?

    To truly support LGBTQIA+ employees, organisations need to take an intentional, multifaceted approach:

    • Implement inclusive policies around gender identity, chosen names, healthcare benefits, and anti-discrimination that make employees feel respected.
    • Offer regular educational events like Pride month campaigns to encourage greater understanding and awareness within the organisation.
    • Facilitate employee resource groups, like Architects of Pride, and sponsor LGBTQIA+ community organisations to foster a sense of belonging.
    • Include LGBTQIA+ topics in mandatory diversity training to address unconscious biases head on.
    • Establish safe reporting procedures for discrimination complaints.
    • Promote LGBTQIA+ employees to visible leadership roles so they are represented at all levels.
    • Finally, inclusion comes from the top down – have leaders actively advocate for and model an inclusive culture.

    It’s important to have a workplace that uplifts everyone. Though progress has been made, challenges still exist globally. By proactively supporting LGBTQIA+ employees through policies, education, community-building, and leadership commitment, organisations can empower these employees to thrive as their authentic selves. This not only helps attract and retain talent, but builds a more creative, humane, and equitable workplace for all.

    How can businesses spot and then address gaps in their diversity and inclusion efforts?

    True commitment to diversity and inclusion requires businesses to regularly inspect any gaps in their efforts. This means continuously self-auditing through anonymous employee surveys, reviewing hiring and promotion practices for biases, assessing policies and culture, and monitoring turnover trends for red flags.

    Once any potential issues have been identified, organisations need a readiness to act. Establish a dedicated task force of diversity experts to delve into problems and propose solutions. Update inadequate policies, training programs and hiring practices where needed. Lead with humility and accountability to encourage a positive work environment.

    Above all, foster candid dialogues on diversity and inclusion, starting from the top down. Set measurable D&I goals and hold managers accountable for progress. Staying complacent is not an option – by embracing these steps, businesses can build truly inclusive workplaces where all employees are welcomed, valued, and empowered.