How promoting inclusion moves the needle

Written on Jul 09, 2020

By Jessica Salerno, OSCPA senior content manager

Inclusion in the working world can often be overlooked in a focus on meeting deadlines and hitting revenue targets, but a D+I expert says it’s a vital part of moving any business forward.

Margaret Finley 150_200 HS JRMarch 2020“We need to shift the conversation to the perspective of, ‘What does it feel like to be included?’ and ‘What does it feel like to be excluded?” said Margaret Finley, OSCPA diversity and inclusion strategist.

Finley’s presentation “A Culture of Inclusion: Promoting Workplace Diversity and Belonging,” at the upcoming Dayton Accounting Show will cover identifying and honing the behaviors associated with an inclusive culture, deepening understanding of an inclusive culture and strengthening cultural competencies to increase team engagement and performance.

Inclusion and exclusion in the workplace can come from a variety of factors, including age, race, gender, sexual orientation and more. Although OSCPA has continued to offer comprehensive D+I content for years, this presentation – which will be at all four accounting shows this fall – comes at a fitting time given the events of the past two months around racism and social injustice.

When considering inclusion and exclusion, you first must confront your own biases, Finley said.

“Because we all have biases but think about what impact your bias has on someone else,” she said. “And especially in the work world where your bias can have great impact on whether someone is promoted or whether someone is given an opportunity.”

A crucial part of doing this work is having an open mind, she said, and being able to acknowledge and own your bias, despite how uncomfortable it might feel.

Accountability is key here, Finley said, because when people are not held accountable these efforts are often forgotten or pushed aside in favor of more urgent projects. Talking about wanting a more inclusive workforce will not make an impact in the long run, but setting goals and targets for these initiatives and following up on them will.

“We must move from words to action,” Finley said. “A lot of companies have a strategy and a plan, but the months later they haven’t done anything to move the needle.”

This time is unlike any other that Finley has experienced in her years of D+I work, she said. The momentum is encouraging and is an opportunity to dig into critical conversations.

“I feel and I see a new type of shift right now,” Finley said. “I believe that one year from now, we will see more progress. I'm really optimistic about that.”

Join us virtually Aug. 19-20 at the Dayton Accounting Show!

We’re bringing the same great thought leaders to the virtual stage. Join us online to ask your questions and forge new and meaningful connections! We’ve amped up the virtual experience, so commute to your living room, connect to WiFi and earn the CPE you need to satisfy your professional standards. Learn more!

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