Lindsay Osmond explores navigating talent challenges through the lens of equity, diversity and inclusion.
Being a successful business leader goes beyond boosting revenues and hitting budgets.
In these tumultuous times, leaders are looked to for openness and empathy as well, says a leading expert on workplace diversity and inclusion.
“The pandemic has changed everything for leaders of organizations from just nine months ago,” says Lindsay Osmond, partner and leadership consulting lead at Boyden.
The firm is a leading provider of consulting and recruiting services for executive leadership. More recently, however, Boyden has focused on assisting organizations — government and private sector — to recruit and train leaders who foster more diverse and inclusive workplace cultures.
That is particularly important in recent months. Not only do managers and executives have to worry about their organization operating efficiently; they also must be more thoughtful about those they lead.
“It’s about understanding each employee’s situation, such as stressors due to unexpected isolation, home schooling, working from home, a partner losing a job, changing job demands or lack of a support network,” says Osmond.
In doing so, leaders must recognize that their behaviours and perceptions are influenced by their own experiences. This awareness is key when negotiating topics such as equity, diversity and inclusion, not only in the workplace but also externally with clients, key stakeholders, etc.
Leaders are being challenged to recognize the uniqueness in people and create a fair and accessible opportunity for all. This allows the organization to reflect the communities in which they work.
“Inclusion is about making sure everyone feels their opinion is heard and respected, and that they can truly show up as their authentic self,” says Osmond.
And it’s not just Boyden’s forward-looking clients embracing these ideas. The company practises what it preaches.
“Boyden has been on its own journey to build a diverse and inclusive culture,” says Kevin Gregor, a long-time partner at the firm.
Organizations sometimes feel it is overwhelming, so creating a safe place for people to start talking is a great way to start, Osmond adds.
“Research shows a purposeful, driven organization with a strong culture of inclusion and diversity is much more innovative,” she says. “But it also turns out these organizations have better financial returns.”
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