Leading with diversity: A conversation with Pearl Chu

February 13, 2024

    The image shows white text on a dark blue background with the title of the podcast episode

    In this week's episode of AI to Z, our guest Pearl Chu, Director of Technical Domains and University Relations at Schlumberger (now SLB) and host Anna Frazzetto discuss the importance of creating an inclusive environment that attracts and retains talent, leveraging diverse perspectives for innovation, and the significance of belonging and authenticity in the workplace.

    In today's global business environment, fostering an inclusive and diverse workplace is a crucial aspect of successful leadership. Leaders who embrace and value the various perspectives and ideas brought by a diverse range of employees are more likely to cultivate an environment that nurtures innovation and collaboration.

    Diversity encompasses various factors, such as age, education, socio-economic background, and personal experiences. By recognising the importance of all these different aspects, leaders can make more informed decisions regarding hiring, promoting, and valuing their employees.

    Pearl stresses the need for leadership in driving cultural change and the importance of self-awareness and open-mindedness in fostering an inclusive culture.

    Listen to the full episode below:

    Understanding inclusivity and diversity in the workplace

    Leveraging the power of our diversity, we're heavily focused on our culture of inclusion going forward.

    Inclusivity and diversity are essential aspects of effective leadership in modern workplaces. These concepts focus on creating an environment where employees of different backgrounds, beliefs, and perspectives can feel valued and included.

    Inclusivity refers to the practice of fostering a work environment where everyone feels involved, respected, and supported.

    The benefits of embracing inclusivity and diversity in the workplace include enhanced creativity, collaboration, and problem-solving; improved employee satisfaction and retention; and the potential for a stronger brand and reputation among clients, customers, and potential recruits.

    Pearl highlights SLB's commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), and the challenges of implementing these initiatives.

    The role of leadership in fostering diversity

    What I love about SLB is that we're pushing that open-minded dialogue with our leadership, the intent is to have that trickle down.

    Effective leadership is crucial for creating an inclusive and diverse workplace. This involves promoting understanding and respect amongst employees, as well as implementing strategies that encourage diversity in all its forms.

    Leaders must first demonstrate a genuine commitment to diversity and inclusion. This starts by acknowledging and addressing any potential biases within themselves and in the organisation. They can achieve this by:

    • Undertaking diversity and inclusion training to identify unconscious biases and learn inclusive behaviours.
    • Communicating a clear diversity and inclusion policy that outlines expectations and consequences for non-compliance.
    • Encouraging open dialogue around the challenges and opportunities related to diversity and inclusion.

    Strategies for developing an inclusive leadership style

    One of the most crucial strategies for developing an inclusive leadership style is promoting open communication. This involves creating a safe space for employees to share their thoughts, ideas, and concerns without fear of backlash. Establishing multiple communication channels, such as team meetings, one-on-one sessions, and anonymous feedback platforms, can ensure that employees feel heard and respected.

    Additionally, leaders should actively listen to employees' perspectives, while also being open to new ways of thinking. Empathy and understanding are essential components in fostering an inclusive environment that values diverse viewpoints.

    Creating and implementing inclusive policies and procedures

    It's about being cautious with metrics and seeing how culture, dialogue and true behaviours are driving inclusion in your organisation.

    To create a diverse and inclusive workplace, it is crucial to develop and implement strong anti-discrimination policies. Employers should begin by establishing a clear, written policy that addresses discrimination based on race, gender, disability, age, religion, sexual orientation, and other protected characteristics.

    Creating an inclusive and diverse workplace involves fostering a sense of belonging and engagement among employees. Managers and leaders are crucial in promoting inclusivity and diversity within their teams. 

    Pearl discusses the ways in which leadership can play a key role in setting the standard for inclusivity.

    Key takeaways

    • Rebranding and innovation: The conversation highlights SLB's efforts to rebrand itself as a global technology company focused on driving energy innovation for a balanced planet. This theme underscores the company's commitment to being at the forefront of technological advancements in the energy sector.

    • Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI): Pearl Chu discusses the importance of DEI initiatives. She shares insights into the challenges of implementing these initiatives and the importance of creating a culture that values and promotes diversity.

    • Leadership and cultural change: Discover how the role of leadership is vital in driving cultural change within an organisation. Pearl Chu underscores the necessity of having engaged leadership to successfully implement DEI initiatives and achieve a cultural transformation that embraces diversity and inclusion.

    • Belonging and authenticity: This episode touches on the importance of creating a workplace where employees feel a sense of belonging and are encouraged to be authentic.

    • Global workforce and collaboration: Learn more about the benefits and challenges of having a diverse and global workforce. Understand the competitive advantages it offers, such as a broad range of perspectives and cultural insights, while also acknowledging the potential difficulties in collaboration that can arise from cultural differences.

    Article and quotes have been edited for brevity and clarity

    This post was written by: Matthew Hearfield, Marketing & Content Coordinator