Practicing inclusion in the profession isn’t only your company’s responsibility, it’s also your own.
“Implementing diversity and inclusion in the workplace means we have to look at our own biases and admit we have those and be willing to change,” said Mitsu Narui, the associate director for institutional effectiveness at Capital University. “And that goes beyond talking about D&I.”
In the most recent episode of our podcast, The State of Business with the Ohio Society of CPAs, Narui explains what practicing inclusion means for the accounting profession. She teaches courses on diversity and inclusion and has also presented at various OSCPA learning events. A point she emphasizes is the importance of looking inward when considering how you can better practice D&I.
It can be uncomfortable to confront your own biases, Narui said. It also can be uncomfortable to have someone point out your own biases to you. But self-reflection and positive intent is essential to growth in this area.
“I think it’s a skill,” she said. “It’s hard for people to be introspective, but it’s often the first step toward creating an inclusive environment within the workplace – not just with coworkers but also with clients. People utilizing services want someone who understands them and their whole experience. And that includes their social identities.”
Being mindful of the way you speak is a crucial part of this, Narui said. Your intent in a statement might be positive, but the impact and the way the individual receives it could be negative. She said it’s important to be open to the fact that even if you have the best intentions it doesn’t always have the impact that you meant.
Emotional intelligence plays a key part in this and is an important business skill to hone. Narui said your focus should be less on having “perfect emotional intelligence” and more on a growth mindset.
Listen to the episode to hear more from Narui on diversity and inclusion, microaggressions, empathy and more.