'Diversity without inclusion isn’t enough' warns easyJet country manager
Having a diverse workforce does not automatically lead to an inclusive company culture.
Sophie Dekkers highlighted the need for the workplace to be a 'psychologically safe environment'
Sophie Dekkers, UK country manager for easyJet, told delegates at the TTG Diversity & Inclusion in Travel conference that companies must also strive to create workplaces where all employees feel comfortable being themselves.
“Diversity without inclusion isn’t enough; it’s important to create a psychologically safe environment where people can be themselves,” she insisted.
She underlined the importance of using data to convince senior leadership that diversity and inclusion in the workplace generates better employee retention and productivity and enables more successful talent attraction, so contributing to the company’s bottom line.
“If you want the finance guys to listen, you’ve got to get some numbers up,” she advised.
She also insisted people must “call out” colleagues who are unaware of the way their language and behaviour impacts others, such as mispronouncing names or excluding people from a meeting or email.
“Small behaviours can make a difference,” she said.
Nine ways to increase diversity and inclusion
EasyJet’s Sophie Dekkers described the following successful initiatives undertaken by the airline:
- Go into local schools to talk to students and encourage them to consider a career in the travel industry
- Create policies that ensure diversity and inclusion goals are formalised
- Make diversity and inclusion goals part of personal KPIs for senior leaders, so progression can be measured
- Launch a mentoring scheme, or participate in an existing one such as Women in Travel, Hospitality & Leisure 2020
- Recruit a head of diversity and inclusion – without taking responsibility away from senior leaders
- Support your workforce in creating employee networks, which might include a women’s group, LGBT+ group etc.
- Send staff on Mind Gym courses so they can deliver inclusion training to their own teams
- Consider training courses for female team leaders and female middle management, such as Shine’s two-day residential course or a confidence and communication course by Rada Business (Royal Academy of Dramatic Art)
- Use internal communication networks such as Facebook Workplace or Slack to create a channel for ideas and tips on inclusion