Telling stories for inclusion

Many coloured heart shapes with black eyes and smiles indicate diversity. Telling stories for inclusion.When it comes to diversity and inclusion, economic arguments tend to fall flat.  For many, economic arguments are academic – just information. Storytelling on the other hand is personal and connects with people. It makes the situation real. Telling stories is also the way to learn from each other. An article in the Harvard Business Review tackles the topic of telling stories for inclusion.

Measuring the number of different categories of person in a company is also an academic pursuit. Scorecards, targets and business cases can measure numbers, but what do those numbers actually mean? Inclusion by mathematics is not likely to create empathy and understanding – the real game changers. But whose stories get told?

Stories from leaders are good, but stories from peers are better. The article gives examples where the workforce might be diverse, but it’s not inclusive. This is where nuanced conversations are needed. Leaders need to hear about the impact bias and exclusion actually has on employees. 

Creating safe spaces for storytelling is one way to find out how inclusive a workplace is. The article, How Sharing Our Stories Builds Inclusion gives more detail on this. 

Summary of article

“It’s time for the conversation around inclusion and diversity to take a human-centric approach. It’s not just about the numbers — it’s about the people. Storytelling, one of the most universal human experiences, gives us a rare chance to look through new lenses. And perspective-taking is a life skill, not just a workplace one.

Companies that prioritize inclusion will emerge from crisis stronger, and stories are one major vehicle to help them get there. Inclusion consultants Selena Rezvani and Stacey A. Gordon offer steps to implement a story-based approach to DEI where employees are encouraged to tell their stories, own them, and consider how they impact their day-to-day experiences at work.