What have we learned from Global Inclusion Week 2023?

What we have learned from our first Global Inclusion Week

Matheus Carvalho, Director of Global Services, reflects on key learnings from our first Inclusive Employers Global Inclusion Week, and on the challenges and opportunities facing global organisations and leaders.

From 12-16th June we celebrated our first ever Global Inclusion Week, a week of events focused on global inclusion, hosted by Inclusive Employers and sponsored by Warner Bros Discovery.

Over the course of the week, we came together with partners, members and other organisations to discuss challenges and opportunities facing organisations operating in a global and multicultural landscape. With sessions and resources focused on cultural awareness, inclusive leadership, global strategies and staff networks, we expanded the conversation beyond the borders of the UK. I found it particularly inspirational having conversations with our guest speakers, who are finding brave and creative ways to address inclusion issues in very complex, volatile and unpredictable environments.

One key message I found from the week is that, while there’s no “one size fits all” – there is “one size fits one” – there are foundational learns everyone can take to navigate a global landscape.

Here are some of our key learns from Global Inclusion Week 2023.

Without true inclusion, global structures can reinforce power inequality (despite best efforts!)

One of the concepts much used (and sometimes overused) in the conversation around globalisation is the concept of ‘glocal’.  Originating from the Japanese term dochakuka, the merging of the words ‘global + local’ means that something is reflected or characterised by both local and global considerations. This can be translated to the concept of “think globally, act locally”, and is usually used in the business strategies of companies that are expanding overseas. It’s a very useful strategy for organisations wanting to localise strategy and products while still having an overarching and foundational sense of identity. However, as we discussed in the Global Strategies webinar, if misused it can also risk enhancing power inequalities by creating a hierarchy of up vs down, where the ‘local’ element and voices are still minimised by the global power structure.

For example, a ‘glocalised’ campaign that encourages the acceptance of foreign products among a local audience, when that product has not always been designed in a true collaborative way with local talent. Organisations and leaders operating in this space should seek true collaboration and ask themselves how strategies can be truly authentic and culturally sensitive by having the diversity of voices needed involved in their creation.

For more information and tips on how to globalise your Inclusion & Diversity strategy, download our Global Inclusion Strategies – A Foundational Guide toolkit.

Leaders are increasingly being expected to lead with equity

In our Global Leadership session, we discussed the concept of “equitable intelligence”. That is the development of knowledge, understanding and skills needed for leaders to create more equitable business, structures and societies. A younger workforce more aware of global inclusion needs is one of the trends we observe across the globe. As a result, leaders are increasingly expected to be aware of the historical power dynamics that have shaped the world as we know it today, and consider how that continues to contribute to inequalities experienced by different countries and communities across the globe. 

Besides developing their own learning in their own space and constantly challenging their biases and checking their privilege, leaders looking to develop their equitable intelligence should look to follow the path of cultural humility.  They could be asking themselves questions such as:

  • Would I make a different decision if the team were based somewhere else?
  • Whose voice/what country have I not listened to in this project?
  • Are the leaders working in this project representative of the societies they operate in?
  • What are the power dynamics at play and how do I position myself in relation to that?
  • How accepting am I of different leadership styles?

For an in-depth understanding of the skills, values and behaviours leaders should develop to succeed in a global environment, download our Inclusive Leadership Toolkit.

Staff networks can have the power to influence globally

In our Global Staff Networks event, we discussed different ways that staff networks/employee resource groups can look to expand their global footprint. And it’s particularly inspiring to hear how networks can turn challenges into opportunities to engage with marginalised groups across the globe. We discussed how networks can use different governance frameworks to help them in that expansion. This could be a ‘global expansion’ standpoint, where the network is managed centrally through one location with a central hub of resources and relying on local allies. A network could also take a ‘global consultancy’ approach, where a network acts as a consultant and support for other networks to be formed in different locations. For support of networks operating globally, download our Global Staff Networks Toolkit.

What’s next for Global Inclusion at Inclusive Employers?

While our first Global Inclusion Week was an exciting new step for us, the conversation about global inclusion is not new for us at Inclusive Employers. We have been supporting global organisations and members for years, developing bespoke training and strategies while working with international teams.

We are committed to continue to grow and expand our knowledge and support in this area, so watch this space for updates on new resources and exciting member opportunities, and speak to your account manager for more information.

You can still get the Global Inclusion Week Resources

Global Inclusion Week resources include:

  • Interactive webinars focussed on global inclusion matters (recordings now available, if registered)
  • The latest global inclusion resources from Inclusive Employers, focused on Cultural Awareness, Global Inclusion Strategies, Global Staff Networks and Global Leadership

If you have already registered and took part in Global Inclusion Week 2023, don’t forget to download your Global Toolkit

If you missed out and want to gain access to the content, including our recorded webinars, please register here

If you would like any of the Global Inclusion Week sessions to be delivered in-house at your organisation as a workshop or webinar, get in touch with your account manager or contact us

If you would like to become a member of Inclusive Employers, click here for information.