Hi Luca, could you introduce yourself for those that don’t know you?
Hi, everyone! I am a Talent & Diversity Partner here at Hidden; I’ve been working in the Talent Acquisition space for just shy of 6 years now and within D&I for 2. A huge part of my work and knowledge focuses on Queer Identities & Histories and I look at DE&I in the workplace from an anthropological lens to dissect structures of inequity in businesses.
Let’s start close to home. Why did you choose to work at Hidden and what part of the mission are you most focused on?
I was immediately drawn in by the inclusive nature they hold and their mission to spearhead changes in other businesses around diversity and inclusion. They have an amazing roster of clients to work with and it’s incredible being able to o both hire for these companies as well as consult on their culture, brand, policies and future.
What do you see as the key issues within agencies right now that need immediate attention?
It’s not just agencies, but organisations, in general, do none of the groundwork before implementing a hyper-drive for talent into the business, particularly when they are focused on bringing in talent from underrepresented backgrounds. It’s all well and good to have the best intentions, but unless you have already reviewed your onboarding, culture, accessibility, pay gaps and so on, you’re feeding a bucket with a hole at the bottom.
What are the typical barriers companies face when starting on their DE&I journey?
Hiring DE&I specialists to help them overhaul their current processes and cultures and then u-turning if they feel it’s ‘too difficult’, or ‘too complicated’ or ‘too long’ - anything that seems to require time, or especially money, they seize up. The process of reevaluating inequities in the business and rectifying them is an arduous process and not one that can be done overnight.
One enormous barrier is taking on a DE&I specialist and not giving them access to the data make-up of the organisation, or making it a quagmire to get hold of existing policies and review them. Inclusive changes can happen at 50% of the speed if the specialists were trusted to do their job and there weren’t so many layers of bureaucracy.
For those keen on making changes but need leadership buy-in, what are the most effective ways to make the case for DE&I?
To put it bluntly, your company will be left in the past and you’ll be seen like a total arse. I don’t think there is ‘a case’ for DE&I anymore: you are either for the inclusion and equal treatment of all people, or you’re not; if you’re not, just be honest, the talent won’t lose out to you, you’ll lose out to them. A huge portion of Gen Z and Millennials will not work for a company that doesn’t clearly exhibit a diverse workforce, have measurable goals to tackle topics like anti-racism, that don’t have a culture of inclusive celebration.
You’ve been advocating for Trans rights for a long time. What key stats do you think show the real scope of the problem?
It’s funny because there’s a huge media obsession, particularly in the UK around Trans* identities, particularly Trans Women and yet the statistics show that over the last 6 years acceptance of Trans identities has increased; the whole debate about ‘letting’ Trans* people compete in sport, which is de rigueur at the moment, is total bull. Trans people have been allowed to compete in the Olympics since 2004, and not ONE Trans woman has won in their event.
This is categorically not to say Trans people do not have their strife and battles, they absolutely do, but if people are really wanting to understand these identities, pick up a book, read articles on Stonewall, GALOP - do not read the bloody Daily Mail. We’re being fed hatred through the media without pausing to ask who is writing this, what is their identity, what is their agenda - blind submission without challenge is dangerous.
Luca, thank you for sitting down with me for this interview, some really great insights into ED&I. Anything you’d like to plug before we go?
Yes! Please consider signing the petition to ensure Trans people are fully protected under any conversion therapy ban. For some extra reading on this subject, I have written an article for my partner TMW about the Trans and non-binary community in the workplace.