Unified through diversity and inclusion: overcoming biases with education.

how diversity and inclusion make a workplace better

Diversity and inclusion are essential components of an accepting and collaborative environment where ideas and employees can thrive.

When people with different experiences and perspectives come together in an inclusive workplace, they are motivated to work harder and help others. This leads to the creation of innovative solutions that can help to improve businesses, homes, and communities.

As an employee of 3M since 2006, I have seen firsthand the power that a collaborative culture can have. Teamwork gradually leads to positive changes that make people excited about and confident in where they come from and where they’re going.

Empowered by diversity and inclusion.

In fact, 3M has made building a diverse and collaborative workforce part of its Sustainability Plan with the goal of doubling the pipeline of diverse talent in management roles by 2025.

To help achieve this, the Diversity & Inclusion Council works to nurture collaboration across cultures, lifestyles, and genders and to recruit, engage, and retain diverse talent. It also instituted four Employee Resource Groups (ERGs): the Multicultural Network, Women’s Leadership Forum, Pride, and Abilities First. Their purpose is to work with us to unlock the power of an inclusive workplace, where we are united by our diversity.

As the Chair of the Multicultural Network, I truly believe that our strengths lie in our differences. These ERGs not only highlight and educate people about what these differences can look like, but they also celebrate the qualities that make each of us unique.  

Advocating for change: 3M’s Multicultural Network.

The Multicultural Network recognises how essential it is to advocate for the acceptance and appreciation of diverse backgrounds and perspectives. Multicultural segments go far beyond race and gender – they encompass things like geography, religion, culture, and even language.

My parents came to Canada as immigrants from Grenada in the late 1960s and they worked tirelessly to provide a better life for me and my three siblings. While they were wonderful parents, they were also firm in their beliefs and sometimes resistant to letting go of their biases. It took me a long time to discover the impact that these biases had on the way that I interact with others.

Whether we realise it or not, our upbringing and past experiences create subconscious biases that can affect how we communicate. These biases can lead to stereotyping and exclusion, without us really noticing that we’re doing it. Therefore, it’s important that we learn to acknowledge the power that can come from our differences, and then use these differences to make positive change. This is why I joined the Multicultural Network.

“The objective of 3M’s Multicultural Network is to help provide 3Mers with the knowledge, skills, ethics, courage, and convictions they need to value and promote cultural and ethnic diversity. To do this, we must learn about different ethnic identities, cultural heritages, and experiences.”

 

3M employees at hockey event

Eliminating biases through open conversation and education.

One way that we can begin to eliminate biases that block collaboration is to raise awareness and offer resources for education. This way, we can learn more about our colleagues and create a trusting, communicative relationship. After all, communication is key if we want to work together effectively and avoid conflict and/or misunderstanding. We should never feel isolated or left out, and the Multicultural Network really connects its employees. It helps us improve how we interact each other, while also teaching us how to relate and listen to our customers around the world.

 “I am excited to have a seat at the table where decisions are made about the corporate diversity and inclusion strategies at 3M. These will spread awareness and reinforce the importance of acceptance and inclusion.”

Diverse minds inspire.

Ultimately, we need to create a space where everyone feels comfortable and safe to self identify. Providing resources for employees to broaden their perspectives will help us interpret our unconscious biases and learn how to better approach people that are “different” from us. This will not only ensure that a team has a well-rounded representation of skills and the creativity needed to achieve its goals more efficiently, but it will also help to develop new business and opportunities.

“I always feel supported at 3M. Whether I need advice or just need someone to listen, I know my fellow 3Mers have my best interests at heart. This motivates me to give my all and encourage my team to do the same.”

Be a part of a culture that advocates for change.

Learn how you can be a part of an inclusive culture that provides fair and equal opportunities for everyone. Visit our page and sign up for our newsletter by filling out the form below.

 

About the Author

Donna Tomicevic

[enBio=Donna graduated from Western University in 2006 with a degree in Business Management and Organizational Behaviour, specializing in Finance. Since then, she has supported a variety of portfolios in 3M’s Health Care and Oral Care division. Donna is currently the Brand Design and Operations Manager in Corporate Affairs, where she manages the brand design team, the creative agency roster, and the tradeshow team. She has been an active member of the Multicultural Network since 2019 and currently acts as its Chair.],[enJob=Chair, 3M Canada Multicultural Network],[frBio=En 2006, Donna a obtenu un diplôme en gestion des affaires et en comportement organisationnel spécialisé en finances de l’Université Western. Depuis, elle a soutenu divers portfolios au sein de Soins de santé de 3M et de la Division des solutions de soin oral. Elle est actuellement la directrice de la conception de la marque et des activités dans les affaires générales où elle dirige l’équipe de conception de la marque, la liste des agences de création et l’équipe des salons commerciaux. Elle est une membre active du Réseau multiculturel depuis 2019 et elle en est présentement la présidente.],[frJob=Présidente, Réseau multiculturel de 3M Canada]

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Be accepted. Be heard. Be valued.