Building back stronger with DEI
The last year has put Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, also known as DEI, in the spotlight in a way that we have not seen before. While bringing the conversation to the forefront is powerful, how we have gotten here was brought on by some very unfortunate incidents aggravated by a pandemic that has also heightened existing equity issues among certain demographics.
In the past, there has been much focus on Diversity but, now, the approach is more holistic and organizations that simply focus on one element could in fact fail at achieving the goal of having a high-performing, engaged, and empowered workforce.
According to McLean & Company, organizations with a strong DEI strategy can be 18% more effective at creating positive employee experiences and have a 4% lower turnover rate. Moreover, there is a 48% performance differential between most and least gender-diverse organizations.
During the last year, we have seen situations which have resulted in discrimination against the Asian and Pacific Islander communities and we have witnessed a growing awareness of racial injustices in our communities, schools and workplaces. While many of these incidents have taken place in the US, these issues exist in Canada as well, in addition to local challenges like, for example, reconciliation for the Indigenous peoples. These are not problems that can be quickly corrected but dedicated focus and collective buy-in can help us to accelerate that journey.
I personally have been very fortunate to live and work in many countries, and have progressed into leadership roles in countries like Philippines, Qatar, and Bahamas, where I gained personal connections, cultural understanding, and self-reinvention. But simply location doesn’t create a diversity of thought, it can also be influenced by other factors like your values, beliefs, and life experiences.
As these global issues have put DEI at the forefront, it is a progressive journey that we have been on for many years. It comes with many empowering successful stories, yet its fair share of challenges. At BASF we recognize this is not a paper exercise but a plan and strategy that comes to life with continued dedication and efforts. We are currently looking at two key priorities colliding and running in tandem: DEI and Future of Work and developing even stronger, and more tangible targets and KPIs to drive our strategy. Some examples of how we are executing our strategy:
- Employee Resources Groups, where colleagues can find allies passionate about the same topics.
- A specific governing body (DEI Council) to guide efforts to attract, develop and retain the best team of talent, ensuring our internal talent makes Inclusion a hallmark of the BASF work and customer experience.
- Support to The Canadian Council of Business Leaders Against Anti-Black Systemic Racism “BlackNorth Initiative”, and Indspire, Indigenous-led national charity that invests in the education of Indigenous people, among others.
With these examples, it’s important to note that a successful DEI strategy extends beyond our organization, to the community in which we operate and have an impact. We are at a turning point where Canadian companies that fail to include these in their core values and promote policies around them will also fail to keep their positions in the market. In this regard, we see a major opportunity for companies to partner together to become diverse, equitable, and inclusive, and make it ‘just the way we do business around here.
Head of People, BASF Canada