As a Director, Diversity, Inclusion and People Insights, Randall Sellar brings in a unique combination of business acumen and technical understanding with a focus on organizational transformation and process improvement. His goal is to work with businesses to develop strategic, long-term solutions which will result in improved and sustainable efficiency and effectiveness.
As Director, Diversity, Inclusion and People Insights, Shaw Communications, what are some of your key roles and responsibilities that you have on a daily basis?
My accountabilities are anchored in two pieces: one focused on building Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging. I lead a team that supports Shaw's broader approach and strategy regarding Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging. This is done by working with Shaw’s employee resource groups to help create a sense of community within the organization. The team and I also ensure that we meet Shaw’s regulatory requirements for Employment Equity. Most importantly, helping the organization leverage Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging as a tool to help support overall business results.
“To fully benefit from increased racial and gender diversity, organizations must adopt a learning mindset and be willing to invest in an inclusive culture that values diversity at all levels.”
The other accountability is focused on People Insights. We are leveraging different data sources to understand the employee experience and trends in our workforce. We look for opportunities to improve the employee experience and use that as a strategic tool to help attract and retain talent.
What are some of the challenges existing for the leaders looking to establish Diversity and Inclusion in their organizations?
Technology, Socioeconomics, and the way people work continue to change and transform the landscape in every industry. The social consciousness of an organization is something that potential employees and customers look at and make choices based on more and more. That means it's critical to focus on the employee experience and support the unique communities within an organization and its customers. Helping your people and prioritizing Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging is now a critical element of the employer brand proposition and essential to the communities a business serves.
So based on my experience, there are a few challenges; First is helping the organization reconcile the importance of investing in a broad Diversity and inclusion program not just as a moral or regulatory initiative but as part of a critical business strategy. Second is making inclusive leadership a critical element for people; Diversity, Equity and Inclusion needs to be part of everyone’s DNA at all leadership levels. The other piece is understanding the current culture within the organization and what needs to be improved, supplemented, and adjusted to support a fulsome program that puts just as much weight on creating an inclusive and equitable culture as it puts on diversity. Ultimately, North America is becoming more diverse, regardless of anything an organization does. Intelligent companies see this and are investing in the right things to benefit from a diverse organization and understand how to effectively support talent as it comes in and moves up the organization.
2022 will see a new wave of support, with organizations moving beyond setting the foundation to actively supporting gender identity and expression. These will include the Use of Gender-inclusive language and communication. Your views on this trend?
In my opinion, it reinforces the broader move of society in valuing the creation of safe spaces for people, helping everybody feel a sense of belonging and creating psychological safety. To fully benefit from increased racial and gender diversity, organizations must adopt a learning mindset and be willing to invest in an inclusive culture that values diversity at all levels. To this end, by building trust and creating a workplace where people feel free to bring their whole selves to work, you have the right ingredients for people to realize their full potential. So organizations need to have an environment where people feel comfortable being their authentic selves. Things like Gender Inclusive language matter and are one of many steps required for a genuinely inclusive company.
What would be your piece of advice for your fellow peers and leaders?
My advice to colleagues in the industry is to spend as much time as possible trying to build an understanding of the lived experience of people. Work towards a better understanding of where there might be barriers to equity, inclusion and success. This means reading as much as possible, talking to as many people as possible and looking for the companies that are finding success in this space. It's also critical that you spend as much time as possible with people within your organization that might be part of equity-seeking groups and understand their experiences and perspective. For instance, where do they see the challenges or roadblocks' in terms of society and success in your organization? In my opinion, continuing to educate yourself and learning from your colleagues' experiences as to what it's like to be an employee in the organization so you can find those opportunities to make it better for them.