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Diversity Always Wins

Promoting and delivering Equity, Diversity & Inclusion (ED&I) in the workplace is an essential component of good people management. Creating working environments and cultures where every individual can feel safe, have a self-sense of belonging and be empowered to achieve their full potential is monumental in cultivating a successful business.

Leaders today understand that diversity is more than just checking boxes. Studies have proven that diverse teams drive innovation, increase revenue and produce smarter business decisions, to name just a few. We’re conscious that much is spoken regarding ‘why’ this is important, but less is spoken around the ‘how’ we achieve it.

In our recent Green Room episode, we discussed strategies and initiatives companies can incorporate in their hiring, onboarding and retention phases to ensure ED&I is a foundational component of their scaling business. Our panelists were:

  • Padmaja Ayyagari – Director of Talent, DE&I Strategist and Panel Host
  • Hilliary Turnipseed – Senior Director of Talent at Kapor Capital
  • Kayalin Akens-Irby – Head of Growth at Planet FWD

Here’s what we learned:

  1. Hiring Starts with Authentic Signalling

Attracting a talented pool of diverse candidates to your next role starts before you begin the hiring process. The signals from your existing team are crucial to setting the environment, energy and clarity about who you are as a company, who you are as individuals and what you value in the people you’re looking to bring onto your team.

Kayalin Akens-Irby explains how signalling attracts the best talent on the market; “You will not read an article about Julia which doesn’t touch on her innovative approach to leadership. You also won’t hear me talk about climate without talking about justice being an extremely important lens. It even boils down to how you show up, how you interact and how you dress to signal this is a safe space for people to join.”

  1. Enneagram Tests Should Be A Key Part Of Any Onboarding Process

Hilliary Turnipseed praises the use of Enneagram tests as part of any onboarding process. Understanding your workforce in a more intentional, strengths-based way is not only a great team building exercise, but allows new hires to be set up in the fold a lot easier if you already have the test as part of your onboarding. “Most company’s onboarding is focused around the new hire getting to know the company and how the company operates. Using the Enneagram test allows the team and hiring manager to understand their new hire too.”

  1. Authentic Leadership Is Key To Having A Strong Retention Rate

Kayalin Akens-Irby believes one of the key foundations to ensure strong retention within your company is authentic leadership. She detailed how people can see through leaders if they are not being honest and not being themselves. “I say authentic very intentionally. It’s not about signalling that this type of person is accepted, wanted and amplified. It’s about people showing up as themselves are accepted, wanted and amplified. And that’s why being authentic to who you are as a leader is extremely important because that signals to others that who they are is the right fit.”


This is just a snippet of what was discussed in this ED&I Green Room episode. To find out more about initiatives to implement in the talent roadmap and where to begin in your ED&I journey, tune in to watch the full episode below:

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