Crossing Bridges: Socializing inclusiveness throughout your organization

By Nicole Fracasso, OSCPA communications intern 

When it comes down to being successful in an organization, DE&I needs to be viewed as a business imperative, said LaFern Batie, MBA, SHRM-SCP, owner of The Batie Group. 

“We don’t talk about finance or customer satisfaction as initiatives,” she said. “We talk about these as business imperatives.” 

Batie spoke at the Nov. 17 session of OSCPA’s Crossing Bridges program, where she led the conversation around diversity, equity and inclusion – specifically, why it’s important, where to begin and what the key elements are. 

“When people feel included, they feel safer to contribute their talent and perspectives,” she said. “That really does shape our work.” 

Companies who make DE&I a part of their mission, also embed it throughout the organization, she said. For example, to move forward with DE&I, Batie said it’s important to discuss branding. 

“All of us, whether individually or collectively, we all have brands, the emotional promise of an experience,” she said. “We individually become known for characteristics, traits and ways of being.” 

Everything from relationships, accepted behaviors, ways of thinking and the way that thinking is embraced can make up an organization’s brand. 

“Think about your differentiators – what makes you different,” Batie said. 

A major part of branding is “brand evolution.” 

“(That) plants the seed that regardless of who you are or where you are in an organization, you have an opportunity to evolve,” she said. “As a matter of fact, if you’re not evolving in an organization you could be stagnant.” 

In order to begin, Batie said it’s important to get comfortable being uncomfortable. 

“Anything that’s new, that’s different that’s challenging is going to be uncomfortable,” she said. 

Part of doing so is examining the organization’s mindset around DE&I. For instance, Batie views diversity through composition and demographics, while inclusion is about being appreciated, valued and accepted. 

Batie also discussed the many key elements for socializing inclusiveness. These elements include, making a visible commitment, humility, self-awareness, taking an interest in others, having courageous conversations, collaborating and being an effective communicator. 

“These are all traits of inclusive leaders, she said. “It’s not easy, if it were easy everyone would do it. But communication is critical.” 

One way to get to a place of inclusiveness is recognizing what the challenges are, talk about them and then determine how to overcome them. 

“In the end you want to look at effectiveness, you can measure and track and still ask questions and still have conversations and make adjustments where needed,” Batie said. “So, what’s your strategy? Know this for your organization, talk about where you’re challenged, come up with a roadmap and do it over and over and over again. This is how you begin to integrate it into the fiber of your organization.” 

Crossing Bridges continues with LaFern Batie on Dec. 8. Learn more