Author: Ranjit Tamhankar
It wasn’t all that long ago that I experienced feelings of exclusion in the workplace. Prior to CGI, in the late 90s and early 2000s I worked at organisations that still felt very ‘white’. Today however, as globalisation brings the world closer, we’re all exposed to many different cultures in our working lives. Day to day, we interact with people from diverse backgrounds and ethnicities, and certainly here at CGI Australia, such diversity is welcomed and celebrated.
Without diversity, an organisation tends to stagnate. CGI really recognises that. Our culture is also inclusive to the core, even to the extent of calling us ‘members’ not ‘employees’. We all have a sense of ownership in the company, get ample space to contribute and be heard, and are responsible for our own growth as well as CGI’s. It doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from at CGI. We’re all treated the same.
CGI’s DE&I Council
CGI’s DE&I Council came to fruition with a simple goal of ingraining diversity, equity and inclusion across our organisation. I joined as a volunteer the very first month I was here.
We all take turns chairing the meetings, which occur quarterly. The kick-off agenda is flexible and the member in charge can decide what to add. The structure is to go over events and activities we have planned, get opinions and suggestions from everyone and confirm responsibilities. Based on the scheduled monthly activities, members are assigned to events and initiatives depending on their interests. We also bring in external speakers to talk about various topics, from health and nutrition, to neurodiversity.
Early on, I suggested we introduce ‘icebreakers’ to start things off, which has been really great for ramping up engagement. I made mine a ‘Truth or Lie’ game where everyone listed two facts and one lie about themselves and the group had to guess which were true.
But while the meetings are fun and a great opportunity to network with members from all over CGI, we do take them very seriously. DE&I is an important issue for CGI and a CGI VP always attends every one of our meetings.
Great initiatives we’re involved in
Just some of the events and initiatives we work on are Oxygen programs, International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT), International Women's Day and other days of cultural or religious significance that take place over the year.
We run a Pride Month throughout June, celebrate NAIDOC Week in July, orchestrate awareness events on neurodiversity in September and plan activities around festivals like Easter, Eid and Diwali in their respective months.
Furthermore, articles are published to raise awareness for those who are new to these events, thus bringing diversified members together.
How to recognise genuine inclusion
Many companies say they are inclusive, but this can be quite a superficial claim. I always suggest researching a company properly because things like their website, their mission and their vision can tell you a lot about how genuine their inclusivity is.
Like many large organisations, CGI publishes biographical information about our leaders on our website. These people shape our organisation, so it’s a good indication of our values. You’ll also find articles on CGI’s website like 'Building a Culture of Inclusiveness', 'Women in Technology’ and ‘Fostering DE&I Through an Empowerment Scholarship’ to name a few. These articles give great insights into how CGI defines and manages diversity and inclusion.
Last but not least, LinkedIn is another great resource. Candidates can connect with former or present members of CGI and find out a lot more about the company from first-hand sources. I have no doubt that anyone who has experienced CGI can certainly paint a true picture of how diverse and inclusive this company really is.