Insights into InclusionBy
I recently had coffee with one of our newly retired vice presidents from Cummins, and we discussed diversity and inclusion. Diversity as a topic has been around many years, and most of us understand it to include differences in gender, age, race, religion, socio-economic background, thought, and the like. Our conversation eventually turned to inclusion, about which awareness is growing, but it remains tougher to define.
Many companies have expanded their diversity initiatives to incorporate inclusion under a new Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) banner. IMA® recently stepped up our focus on D&I by appointing our first D&I director, Linda Devonish-Mills. This is exciting because it ensures that IMA captures the value requirements our global members need to make the businesses and communities where they work and live the best they can be. IMA also oversees a D&I Committee composed of Global Board of Directors and other members who are passionate about D&I and making an impact on the world in this area.
A few years back, as chair of the IMA Member Relations Committee, I had the opportunity to lead a “voice of the member” initiative, which was part of IMA’s commitment to inclusion. The goal of the project was to capture members’ voices to ensure that we understood the expectations of what the value of being a member meant to you. We then used this information to plan our strategy and develop a value proposition to meet those needs. To begin, we created a value chain of our membership composition and then populated the names of members to fit each category of member type. Next we created open-ended questions and conducted phone interviews around the world to capture what you, as members, need from IMA to ensure your success. Those on my team will probably never forget all the Post-it® notes we hung up around the room, as well as the hours spent narrowing them down to the critical areas we needed to focus on to ensure members’ success as accounting and finance professionals.
Our IMA staff and Global Board have worked diligently to deliver on the things you, our members, felt were important to you and your careers. I couldn’t be prouder of all they have done for you and will continue to do—way into the future.
Both my vice president friend and I admitted that it is challenging to define inclusion accurately. We both strongly agreed, however, that we surely know what it feels like to be excluded and the damage that can do to motivation, performance, and the desire to stay with a company or organization.
Have you had similar experiences with diversity, inclusion, or exclusion? I’d like to hear from you at firstname.lastname@example.org.