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The authority on gender empowerment in business for nearly 20 years.

Success stems from embracing diverse perspectives

Written by Editor

June 11, 2024

Supplied content

By Dolly Nqonji, Vice President of Culture, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Massmart

A dynamic leader and passionate advocate of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), Dolly Nqonji believes it’s not just about policy implementation but about fostering a culture that celebrates and harnesses diversity in all its forms. Her journey began with a profound realisation that true innovation and success stem from embracing diverse perspectives. 

A journey of transformation

Developing DEI strategies is not a one-size-fits-all endeavour. Every organisation has its unique culture and challenges. Emphasising the importance of comprehensive assessments to understand the specific needs and areas for improvement within a company. This data-driven approach ensures particular initiatives are tailored and impactful.

One of Dolly’s most notable projects involved partnering with a multinational organisation struggling with a homogenous workforce by implementing a series of workshops, leadership training, and mentorship programmes that helped the company foster an inclusive culture. . Within two years, the organisation saw an increase in diversity hires at the executive and senior management levels as well an increase in key engagement and belonging index’s. 

Learnings along the way

  • Leadership buy-in is crucial: Sustainable change starts at the top. Engaging leadership and securing their commitment is vital for initiatives to thrive.
  • Continuous education and training: Regular workshops, seminars, and open dialogues are essential to keep the momentum going.
  • Creating safe spaces: Employees need to feel safe to express their concerns and experiences. Establishing forums for open communication fosters trust and inclusion.
  • Measuring progress: It’s important to track the effectiveness of initiatives through metrics and feedback. This helps in refining strategies and demonstrating tangible progress.

Navigating your business journey

  • Start with self-reflection: Understand your own biases and areas for growth. Self-awareness is the first step toward fostering a more inclusive environment.
  • Engage diverse voices: Include diverse perspectives in decision-making processes. This not only enriches the dialogue but also leads to more innovative solutions.
  • Implement inclusive policies: Ensure that company policies reflect a commitment including equitable hiring practices, promotion opportunities, and accessible grievance procedures.
  • Foster allyship: Encourage employees to act as allies for their colleagues. This can be achieved through training programs that teach how to support and advocate for others.

Encompassing broader societal impacts

  • Support community initiatives: Engage with and support local organisations that promote organisations. This can have a ripple effect, fostering inclusion at a grassroot level.
  • Encourage policy reform: Advocate for policies that promote equity and inclusion in all sectors.
  • Lead by example: Individuals can lead by example in their daily lives by challenging discriminatory behaviours and promoting inclusive practices.

Read more about diversity, equity and inclusion in Top Empowerment:

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