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Academics weigh benefits of workplace diversity, inclusion

A typical office boardroom

A typical office boardroom

The benefits of recruiting and retaining a diverse and inclusive workplace team are innumerable.

This was emphasized at a ‘Diversity and inclusion in leadership and training workshop for senior administrators’ held at Grand Global Hotel, Kampala on May 5, 2022.

The workshop reported on the objectives of a joint research project of Michigan State University, Makerere University and Michigan Fellows Agribusiness Initiative (MFAI), and the progress of the research so far.

The objectives included identifying who is involved in decision-making, how diverse and inclusive the workplace is, how diverse and inclusive are recruitment procedures, trainings and programmes, and how written-down policies match with or fall short of the reality.

The research is also supposed to identify the gaps and recommend rectification measures. Key among the benefits of deliberately employing and retaining a diverse and inclusive workforce are elimination of discrimination, accommodation of people with special needs and disabilities, cultivation of feeling at home, loved and appreciated, sense of belonging and ownership, and generally safe and secure.

The workshop noted that quite often, there is disconnect among the personal, the institutional and the national (or international) aspirations and contexts, leading to failure to guarantee inclusion and accommodate diversity.

These three contexts always interact, reinforcing one another and sometimes contradicting. Hence there is need to regularly review and revise the institutional and national policies and programmes so as to bring them closer to reality.

Participants also concurred that exclusion is not limited to the feminine gender; in fact recent overemphasis of the girl child has left the boy child helpless and incapable of growing into a responsible mature person.

jmusinguzi@observer.ug

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