As a commercial business leader moving into HR, specifically Inclusion and Diversity (I&D), this career move was an intentional decision for Gina, our US Pharma and ViiV Inclusion and Diversity Business Lead.
In her other commercial roles through sales, training and marketing, she’d always look for special opportunities to take on projects and had a desire to build on this – making a difference and impact in a different way. These opportunities eventually led her to discovering her passion and need to work in this space full-time.
Gina’s advice for getting started with Inclusion and Diversity
- Accountability: This starts at the leadership level and all leaders need to be committed to driving and supporting the I&D agenda for best results.
- Ensure your focus is not just on diversity but also inclusion: Both Inclusion and Diversity need to be embedded across the organization and not perceived as a checkbox item/activity. You can’t have the I without the D – for I&D to be effective both principles need to be at play together.
- Visibility and messaging: Leaders need to articulate the correct messages loud and clear that I&D is a business objective; more specifically highlighting and putting into practice the organizations commitments to achieving it.
- Carve out time to listen: Create a safe space for real conversations to engage, listen and learn. In addition, leverage the voices of your employees through small team sessions or your Employee Network/Resource Groups.
- Evaluate your business ecosystem: Assess where bias exists and evaluate your systems and processes to mitigate and fill those gaps. The ecosystem must be right for I&D to work.
Inclusive behaviors are critical, and leaders must be curious, collaborative, courageous and culturally intelligent to further progress. In order to move the needle on Inclusion and Diversity, the organization needs to have clear intentions and own their action plans – how they recruit, attract, develop and retain talent.
We are all on a journey as it relates to Inclusion and Diversity and it’s important to acknowledge that we must meet people where they are and continue to educate and empower all employees regardless of where they sit in the organization; it’s a collective effort.