When I think about what it means to create a workplace culture that attracts and retains the brightest and the best talent, two words come to mind:
Equity and opportunity.
Unlike equality, which is centred on providing all employees with access to the same resources, equity offers employees access to specific resources and support based on their individual needs.
The goal here is to give everyone the chance to grow and succeed, regardless of where they started.
So, how do we achieve this?
By asking the right questions to provide the right opportunities.
If I reflect on my own career journey, the opportunities I had were instrumental in my professional growth. Some of the opportunities I seized for myself through hard work and relentless curiosity, while others were aided by strong mentors.
I ask a lot of questions because I’m curious by nature. I always have been. And while some may think I ask too many questions, I’d question that opinion (but of course, I would).
For me, asking questions has worked.
With new clients, I ask questions about them, their business, and their goals. I never limit it to just business because you never know what you will uncover. With colleagues, I ask more questions. I ask about their likes, dislikes, and career and personal aspirations because again, what you love about your work and what propels you to move, creates opportunity.
And opportunity creates inclusion, inclusion creates equity, and equity is what we want to embrace.
To do this, we need more people of all backgrounds with varying likes, dislikes, and approaches. We need people with different aspirations and goals. If we want to create an equal-opportunity environment, we need everyone at the table.
I have had the best mentors and influences – female, male, BIPOC, LGBTQ2S+ as well as those in the Deaf community – who gave me a seat at the table early in my career and have shown me the value of inclusive discussions, community considerations, and challenging norms.
Across our network, MSL, North, Notch, MSL Studios, and within Publicis, I try and do that too, every day.
I do this by…
- Being curious about the team. I ask the right questions now to know where they want to go on all sorts of different projects where new perspectives will help propel better more inclusive opportunities for them and beyond.
- Being available to chat through the “what ifs,” “what about,” “could we try,” and more.
- Trusting my team and bringing smart people to the table, regardless of their title, and instead based on their curiosity and lived experiences.
- Opening doors for others, so that everyone knows they are welcome.
Today and every day, let’s ask more questions, open more doors, and welcome more perspectives so that we can give everyone the opportunity to grow and thrive in the workplace, no matter where they started.