Diversity and inclusion are vital ideas during this time of coronavirus. Lock down provides a chance to reflect and self-examine, and e-learning is an excellent way to deepen our understanding.
Understanding diversity during this period of coronavirus is more important than ever. Lock down gives us new opportunities to explore the idea fully.
- The Need for Diversity
First, we can realise just how much we need others. “No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the Continent, a part of the main”, as John Dunne said. It is precisely through the absence of others that we realise how important diversity is in our lives. The absence of others creates a void, absent the life, richness and vibrancy that diversity brings.
Experiences in the workshops which Diversi-T facilitates suggest that we often shun same-status and other contact with colleagues. “When fishermen cannot go to sea, they repair their nets”. What are our biases? Where do they come from? What are our prejudices? How can we overcome them? How do we relate to others? How can we improve that? Do we often take the opportunity to relate to others beyond our own small social circles? Are we inclusive in our relationships? If not, why not? Above all, how can we turn our diversity into a strength? All of these questions are important to consider in the process of “repairing our nets”. The coronavirus gifts us time to turn inwards.
In South Africa, the coronavirus has revealed glaring inequalities. While some of us can turn on a tap to drink or wash our hands, others walk many kilometres to riverbeds to dig for water; while some of us are locked down with Wi-Fi, TVs and full fridges, able to order groceries online and connect with family and friends through social media, the majority of our compatriots struggle to find food. Physical distancing is impossible in informal settlements, where multi-generational families and communities are jammed in tight spaces. How much do we know about colleagues who live under such circumstances, and how are we, as organisations, addressing such inequalities? These are important considerations at this time.
Learning about diversity and inclusion can continue at this time. Indeed, the lock down provides the ideal time for e-learning. Our e-learning programme, “Diversity in the Workplace”, has piqued the interest of South African organisations, looking for ways to keep employees connected and engaged. E-learning provides the opportunity to delve into the idea of diversity, especially from a South African perspective, even if the interactive aspect of building inclusion is not possible. Employees can learn at their own pace and in their own time with e-learning, and time is something many of us find in abundance during this lock down. Employees from many organisations have commented on how interactive the e-learning programme is, and how much they have gained from the experience.
Diversity and inclusion are the drivers of creativity and innovation. Surely, after the time of coronavirus, nothing will be quite the same and organisations will be considering new ways of working. Diversity and inclusion will be more important than ever in thinking unconventionally and preparing organisations to return to business in innovative ways. In lock down, time spent learning about diversity and inclusion, and reflecting on our own ability to embrace and appreciate difference, will surely pay dividends.
Learn more about Diversi-T’s e-learning programmes, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org