Universiteit Leiden

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Organisation

Review of the first Discussion Group on Diversity and Inclusivity

24 November 2020

By Emre Sener (member Taskforce FGGA)

We recently organised a discussion group with a number of colleagues to informally talk as colleagues about diversity and inclusivity at the level of the faculty office. The immediate cause for this conversation was the lack of clarity about what exactly the experiences of colleagues are in these areas. The ultimate goal of this first meeting was to test whether the chosen approach was the right one in order to organize such conversations for all colleagues at the faculty office. Due to the strongly hierarchical nature of the faculty office, when organizing these conversations, a conscious choice will be made not to invite members of the management team in the first instance. It is suspected that the presence of a manager will limit the freedom, openness and / or fairness of colleagues during this discussion. For that reason, the most important findings and most widely shared opinions will be fed back to the members of the management team afterwards.

'One of the most widely shared opinions that emerged during this discussion was the underestimation of the value of diversity in the workplace and the insufficient consideration of the many benefits of diversity during application processes.'

Prior to the interview, the interviewees completed a questionnaire with statements about their experiences of inclusivity and inclusive leadership in the workplace. During the discussion we went through these statements, in which the rough distribution of the anonymised answers per statement was discussed. Discussing the rough distribution per statement is important because if just one person indicates that he / she does not feel that they are being treated equally by the rest of his / her colleagues, that is a very worrying and serious signal. This is not immediately recognizable from an average and standard deviation alone and it also makes it less human.

The conversation itself went well and I personally felt that everyone felt safe enough to express their views. It was nice to see that these colleagues attached great value to the importance of the conversation. Discussing the results of the propositions helped because it kept the conversation going and new topics / themes / situations were constantly being discussed. One of the most widely shared opinions that emerged during this process was the underestimation of the value of diversity in the workplace and the insufficient consideration of the many benefits of diversity during application processes.

All in all, the meeting was a success for me personally and we will therefore shortly be organizing such conversations for all colleagues at the faculty office!

Questions? Contact us via diversityoffice@fgga.leidenuniv.nl

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