The manufacturing company that I work for has recently gone through an ownership transition, from African-Indian to African-Indian-American. As a result, many Ugandans have been appointed to leadership positions. I am a female engineer who diversified professionally into the Human Resources field. I was appointed as head of human capital. The leadership pointed out that I was the best candidate and that the organisation wanted to recogniae diversity and inclusion (D&I). I have been in the role for 10 months, and of late, my experience has had me question my organisation’s commitment to inclusion or whether they are just ticking the box. I am demotivated but I love my job. How do I address this?
Hello Stella, this is a tough one, more so because you are qualified and experienced. I believe you are dealing with several cross-cultural issues that include, among many, gender.
While many organisations strive to demonstrate diversity practices, it is more complex to embed it in your culture. You may want to spend some time with your HR and leadership team to understand what D&I means for your organisation and what it is committed to doing.
In your case, you need to be aware that your organisation is also going through a leadership transition which can take a significant amount of time. While some aspects may be challenging to change, working with your Human Capital team, you may want to revisit some of the governance and HR policies and check that they speak to the ethos of D&I.
You may need to educate staff and managers on what D&I is, why its important, and how it can impact the success of the organisation.
For D&I to have any impact, it must come from the top, beyond the CEO, it starts with your board chairperson. In addressing this matter, you may want to consider and investigate how other manufacturing firms are addressing the same issue, if at all. Remember your approach and solutions must apply to your context while maintaining best practices.
Take your time, influence mindset and then bring everyone on board.
Managing Director, The Leadership Team (U)