Pioneering Diversity: Priya Bates and Advita Patel on Building a Culture of Inclusivity

Priya Bates and Advita Patel have authored a pivotal guide, Building a Culture of Inclusivity; a practical manifesto for embedding inclusivity into the core of organizations

Pioneering Diversity: Priya Bates and Advita Patel on Building a Culture of Inclusivity

In Building a Culture of Inclusivity, Bates and Patel offer not just a reflection on where we stand in terms of workplace diversity but a clear path forward for those ready to embrace change and foster an environment where everyone can thrive.

Bates and Patel explain how the inspiration for writing Building a Culture of Inclusivity came following the movement towards more inclusive corporate environments gaining unprecedented momentum following the tragic events of May 2020, with the murder of George Floyd serving as a watershed moment. This, combined with the amplifying power of social media and shifting demographics, has spurred a significant re-evaluation of workplace cultures across North America. This introspection is timely, as younger generations enter the workforce with heightened expectations for social consciousness from their employers.

Bates and Patel challenge the superficial treatment of DEI in many organizations, where it is often relegated to celebratory months or as an afterthought in corporate strategies. Instead, they argue for DEI to be seen as a fundamental component of business success, critical for driving innovation and engagement. They critique the common approach of reducing DEI efforts to "flags, food, and fun," advocating for a more substantive integration into everyday business practices.

“Our mantra is progress, not perfect. The DEI space is and has been evolving, and we are learning more every day, both from a personal and professional perspective.”

Both authors bring a wealth of personal and professional experience to the discussion and upon initial research, were both surprised to see so little diversity among the authors of DEI books currently available. During her time at Loblaw Companies Limited, Bates spearheaded initiatives that leveraged demographic data to tailor product offerings to diverse community needs.

“Many books on the market tell you why being more inclusive is essential, but not many tell you how to build inclusion.”

The book is peppered with case studies that illustrate both the successes and learning opportunities in the realm of DEI. Notable among them is the inclusion of Nike and Lululemon, companies that have faced their share of challenges but have shown commitment to evolving their DEI strategies. These narratives are accompanied by actionable frameworks like the SPARK and ALLMe 4A, designed to foster an inclusive culture that is cognizant of the individual needs and biases of all employees.

Success for Bates and Patel goes beyond book sales or academic accolades; it is measured by the real-world application of their strategies. They aim to empower HR leaders, DEI practitioners, and business leaders to take confident steps towards more inclusive practices. The authors are actively engaged in bringing their insights to life through workshops, culture assessments, and consulting, contributing to a global shift towards more inclusive workplaces.

As Bates and Patel continue to explore the depths of cultural intelligence and its impact on multinational teams, they are looking at future projects that will delve even deeper into these crucial issues. Their work is a testament to the ongoing need for dialogue, education, and action in building workplaces that not only accommodate but celebrate diversity in all its forms.

Building a Culture of Inclusivity is available from Kogan Page.

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