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Nurturing Inclusivity and Diversity in times of Crisis

White water rafting

In times of crisis, Inclusive leadership isn't just an aspiration; it's a necessity for the well-being and productivity of everyone involved, including for the resilience of the business.

On Oct 7th, Saturday morning, at 6:30 AM, a tragic attack resulting in the death of civilians, including elders, infants, healthy and sick individuals, unfolded in Israel. Appalling acts of horror, over 1,200 fatalities in a day, and around 200 citizens abducted to Gaza that are still kept hostage. There's hardly anyone in Israel who doesn't know someone affected or whose loved ones were harmed.

Numerous crises have unfolded globally, some significant and traumatic: 9/11, COVID-19, the conflict in Ukraine, just to name a few that we all remember.

Amidst all this, maintaining business continuity is crucial; preserving business resilience is essential. This applies to any prolonged crisis, anywhere in the world. We think about the day after and aim to continue providing excellent service to our customers worldwide.

During such times, diversity initiatives often pause, new recruitments slow down or stall, and if any, they are sourced from the majority groups, as it is relatively easier. However, these are times when inclusion matters significantly—for everyone! Your role becomes pivotal in fostering a supportive environment for all your employees and adapting your DEI Strategy to the changing environment.

In the short term, our inclusive behavior as leaders and colleagues profoundly impacts our employees' performance. In the long term, our inclusive leadership significantly affects employees' sense of belonging and connection - to us and to the organization.

We should not act as if it's 'business as usual’. Different, conscious inclusive leadership and allyship, are required.

Crisis affects everyone. Often, “everyone” isn't genuinely considerate when discussing diversity and inclusion. However, it can affect employees from minority communities differently. For example, women left at home with small children while the spouse has been called up for active military duty struggle more. Employees with anxieties might struggle more at such times.

So, what can be done? Here are 4 main areas to focus on, based on Inclusive leadership models:


The essence: Enabling direct reports to develop and excel


  • Promote Inclusivity in Decision-Making: Ensure diverse voices are represented in decision-making processes about company policies, crisis response strategies, and community initiatives.

  • Acknowledge varied work capacities: Most employees are juggling constantly between home and work, between their and others’ well-being and work commitments. Seek to understand what is possible and reasonable for each employee and make any effort to support this.


The essence: Acknowledging and seeking contributions of others to overcome one’s limitations. Learning from criticism and different points of view.


  • Open Communication and Active Listening: Create safe spaces to share concerns, fears, and experiences. Actively listen without judgment. Understand that people may have diverse perspectives; acknowledge these differences. Keep communicating consistently as the situation evolve.

  • Prioritize mental health resources: Every emotion is valid, every need that is expressed should be considered seriously. Offer counseling services and resources for coping with stress, anxiety, and trauma. Normalizing mental health support reduces stigma and promotes overall well-being.

  • Support Affected Communities: Engage with and support communities affected by the crisis. Encourage employees to contribute to relief efforts or volunteer. Demonstrating solidarity fosters a sense of community both within and outside the workplace.


The essence: Putting personal interests aside to achieve what needs to be done. Acting on convictions and principles even when it requires personal risk-taking.


  • Prevent Discrimination and Bias: In confrontational situations, there's a tendency to create an 'us’ vs. ‘them' narrative. Address and acknowledge inherent tensions between groups. Reiterate the company's commitment to a discrimination-free workplace.

  • Encourage reporting mechanisms: This will allow employees to voice concerns confidentially. Address any incidents reported promptly and transparently. When employees violate others, or the organization's values, consider letting them go.

  • Engage relevant ERG leaders: This will allow you to understand the needs of the community and encourage empathy and understanding among employees.


The essence: Demonstrating confidence in direct reports by holding them responsible for performance they can control.


  • Focus on Priorities: Zero in on the most critical tasks. Clearly mark what needs to be done and explain it.

  • Set short-term goals for individuals and teams.

  • Allow flexibility: in working hours and deadlines as much as possible. Find solutions in a collaborative way for those who currently can't work. Cut down on non essential meetings.

Remember, in times of crisis, Inclusive Leadership isn't just an ideal; it's a necessity for the well-being and productivity of everyone involved, for the resilience of the business. By implementing these guidelines, you can create a workplace where everyone feels valued, supported, and empowered, even amidst the challenges of war and conflict.


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