Diverse? Well, Yeah!
July 6, 2021
| 5 Min Read
July 6, 2021
| 5 Min Read
In a perfect world, we wouldn’t even need to talk about diversity and inclusion. They should be taken for granted in any organisation. But with a global workforce based across 10 international cities, we feel it’s especially important for us to champion these ideas.
And while principles like equality are an integral part of who we are, we want to go beyond it by creating an ever more inclusive culture.
Because although equality ensures you are treated the same and afforded the same opportunities as your colleagues, an inclusive culture goes deeper. Here, everyone is respected and valued for who they are, what they can contribute and where they feel they can be their best selves.
So, at GIC, we’re striving to embrace inclusivity and draw on the differences in who we are, what we have experienced, and how we think. And while we have been steadily moving towards this, we also recognise that more needs to be done.
But this is where we can all play your part in making GIC as inclusive as possible.
Here are how some of our employees are playing their part, and how they feel about inclusivity.
Jean Chua a HROD associate joined GIC in 2018 and manages our Differently Abled programme. This programme has two components – GIC Enable and RISE mentorship. GIC Enable offers interns with physical disabilities the opportunity to work within our teams and contribute their expertise. While the RISE mentorship give these interns an opportunity to be mentored by GIC employees.
Through ‘Differently Abled’, she has gained a deeper perspective on inclusion – “Inclusion is about having an open mind and recognising that people can be different, and being willing to accept that people will be different from you.”
While she has encountered challenges, she has found it all to be very worthwhile – “Seeing the interns and mentees grow in their confidence has got to be the most fulfilling part of it all. I hope I can keep encouraging others to be a part of making this difference.”
Katy is a dedicated mum of three (aged 8, 10, and 7-months) who works part-time as a Senior VP in our London office. Before Covid-19 that meant two days in the office and one and half days working remotely. She has made this arrangement work by being “fairly militant about the meetings I take,” and uses her “40-minute commute to clear and file all my emails, so I can work on ongoing projects once I’m in the office.”
To help her balance this life of being mum and a VP she feels that: “GIC has been very supportive and forward-thinking, in regard to my part-time working arrangement. And I ensure that I’m fully accountable and valued for the work that I do.”
To Katy, inclusion can come in many forms. It can be as simple as ensuring there’s something for everyone on team lunch menu, or that a social event takes into consideration everyone’s current abilities, whether they are pregnant, injured or differently abled – “We recently did an escape room for our team retreat – it was very mentally stimulating, and a great deal of fun. Everyone could participate.”
As our first woman Co-Head in GIC, Heidi is a trailblazer in demonstrating how inclusive leadership can lead to great outcomes.
As well as trust, support, and open communication being critical ingredients to her mutual success, she also believes diversity of thought plays an important role:
“Our group culture is very much about encouraging the more junior-level staff to speak up, so we deliberately give them a speaking role. We create a safe environment where people feel comfortable making a mistake or not knowing something. It’s OK to have different views – people don’t always have to all converge and say the same things. The best way to get the best decision is to get different perspectives.”
She do acknowledge that this kind of inclusivity does takes work though, particularly as diversity of thought can lead to conflicting ideas:
“When we disagree about something, it’s about being open, and taking the time to work it through. We won’t rush the conversation either. Handling difficult situations is very much a part of our role and not something we avoid. But what’s most important is that we have a level trust.”
Helen has spent in her life in many different locations from Australia to Mozambique and has worked in both our London and New York offices.
So, her experience working across regions has imbued her with different cultural perspectives. And she recognised early on, that the differences we bring to the table will ultimately make for a stronger GIC.
“A leader once said to me, “If we both say yes, then there’s no need for the both of us.” A team is most successful when all perspectives and experiences are heard. I have the operational knowledge, but I have people in my team with a better technical perspective. And I learn from them every day.”
The sense of purpose and ability to learn from each other is what ultimately drew Helen to GIC. To Helen, fostering an environment that truly nurtures and cares, alongside championing inclusivity, means “mentoring and empowering others to have a voice.”