The world is moving quickly and changes are happening in the way we live and work fueled by technology combined with a new awareness. We are more conscious of other types of people and lifestyles of fellow citizens not just in the US but on earth. Our responsibilities as business leaders and HR is to create workplaces that are inclusive and many of us struggle with how to get started as well as how to get the executive support to make that happen.
This podcast is sponsored by ClearCompany and is part of our Future of Work series in partnership with PEAT, the Partnership on Employment & Accessible Technology.
Episode 190: Creating Authentic & Inclusive Experiences for Your Workforce with Frances West (@fwest34)
Today, I’m joined by Frances West. Frances West is an internationally recognized thought leader, keynote speaker, strategy advisor and women-in-technology executive. Frances has held many global executive positions from marketing, sales to business development and strategic partner management. She was IBM’s first Chief Accessibility Officer and received an Honorary Doctor of Science degree from the University of Massachusetts in Boston for her work in accessibility research and digital inclusion.
What Is Authentic Inclusion?
Authentic inclusion is the title of Frances’s book, and also a framework helping to drive disruption and innovation in the workplace. Frances says here book was written especially the senior leaders at any institution to understand that diversity is really the core of driving disruptive innovation. Authentic inclusion first is about diversity with organizations being human first focused with organizational values in alignment with humanizing processes for employees, customers, and other supporting cast members. Diversity and inclusion is at the center of this and while companies are focused on pursuing profitability, D&I is the central and starting point from which they build from. business.I think every CEO and board of directors should think about innovation as one of their top priorities. Innovation is what differentiates the business. It helps to acquire new marketshare & employee participation. - @fwest34 #inclusion #hr Click To Tweet
Frances says also at the heart of authentic inclusion is technology. This might seem contradictory to some because there is a focus on humanizing and empathy, however, she explains that technology elevates our inclusive efforts to She encourages businesses to quit fighting and start embracing tech as a way to personalize employee engagement and relationship . Frances’s work at IBM as the Chief Accessibility Officer really opened her eyes to this new inclusive-first world. Technology is very personal that is unique to the individual. Different experiences and capabilities require different technology to support their goals, lives, and efforts.
How Artificial Intelligence Plays in Workplace Inclusion
Frances sees artificial intelligence plays a larger role in not only how we communicate, work, and engage. Our AI is only as good as the data we input into our technologies and algorithms when it comes to artificial intelligence which is why Frances is encouraging everyone to take an active role in the development, design, and implementation. Otherwise, she says we really risk the what we call the bias. It’s all our responsibility to support these efforts by becoming more involved because the more diverse points of views and information, the less likely AI will have bias and prejudice.
Celebrating the 29th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act
This week happens to be the 29th anniversary of the American’s with Disabilities Act. Frances shared her insights thinking about how far we’ve come. On the 20th anniversary, she celebrated on the White House lawn as part of an event where she said the focus on was on making the internet and websites more accessible. Now, the focus is on technology and that HR professionals have a great opportunity by collaborating with business leaders, executives, and technologists in pushing forward these changes.
There was so much packed into this interview which is why I encourage you to listen in it’s entirity. Frances has so much knowledge and insights on the future state of inclusion. She also shares insights into new legislation that is coming for HR and business leaders in the U.S.. You also must hear about her work with the United Nations.
We need to start with an inclusion first mindset serving all employees. Technology as Frances talked about is an important part of that. I love her focus on educating executives and board members on the importance of having an inclusive business combined with the fact that it was two HR leaders who helped inspire her in her work on inclusion and accessibility. I will link to Frances Twitter, LinkedIn and website FrancesWest.co on the transcript of this Podcast on Workology.com .
Connect with Frances West.
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