In this latest LEAN IN Equity & Sustainability instalment, we speak with Jean-Michel Monnot, Founder and Consultant of All Inclusive!, France, a free-spirited consultancy firm which guides its clients on the road to inclusion.
Jean-Michel, tell us about your background and what you do today.
I created All Inclusive! in 2016 to positively impact the business world. My activity is 100% dedicated to inclusion because that is where we must act to bring our diversity to life. For this, I advise management committees, design and lead tailor-made training workshops, and give conferences. Previously, I spent 25 years at Sodexo, including nine years as VP of Group Diversity & Inclusion.
What do diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) mean to you as a man and a professional in this space?
For me, these words are, first and foremost, synonymous with justice: I cannot understand inequalities nor accept injustice. I’m not sure this feeling is related to my gender; it’s more something epidermal, natural. It is impossible for me to ignore it, and I have really suffered from the few injustices I have been the object of when they are nothing compared to what many live. When I turn to the business world, it seems evident to me that a human group is smarter and more efficient when it knows how to include everyone. Can we imagine successful women and men without them feeling included?
Why did you write and produce a theatre play (Coups de Torchons) about Diversity in France? Can it be adapted into another language?
This show was written by five actresses and a director in my city of Gaillon, Normandy. I co-produced the show with the local association I co-created, whose objective is to make the city more inclusive. Funny and moving, the show tackled sexism at home, on the street, at work, in politics, and wherever it does damage.
It seems to me to be universal in its intention and could very well be adapted into other languages, knowing that it would obviously have to be adapted to the local culture: that is also what being inclusive is all about!
Can you share examples of situations, comments or statistics still shocking you today?
The figures are scary; here are a few: 94% of women in Europe say they have been victims of sexist behaviour. Every three days, a woman dies under the blows of a man. Of the top 20 French companies, only three are run by women. I could go on with a long and desperate litany, and it is always useful to recall these figures so that denying the problem is impossible. I too often have a feeling of shame, telling myself that I have the privilege of being born on the side of the dominants. But knowing this gives me a responsibility: to use this privilege to advance equality.
In 2022, how can we engage more men in DE&I?
Men represent 50% of the mix but are too little present in the actions. There is a big educational effort to be made for those who, in all sincerity, do not understand the problem. But you also have to know how to show a certain firmness so as not to accept bogus objections and even less sexist or inappropriate behaviour. We need role models at all levels and in all generations. Sexism is still very present in the younger generations, and it starts in families and at school: that’s why our show “Coups de Torchons” was played in colleges and high schools.
How can we (individually) promote DE&I in the workplace?
The slogan of my company is “sowing inclusion seeds” because it is a long-term work composed of many small steps. I believe everything is about behaviours, and we need to develop inclusive behaviours. I advise my clients to engage their teams in writing behaviours that will make us fulfilled and efficient. Inclusion is an intention; it must be translated operationally.
This is how we can individually promote the subject: by talking about it out loud and visibly, but above all, by behaving in an inclusive way.
How can we boost performance through inclusion?
“People perform better when they can be themselves.”
Creating an inclusive culture allows you to feel recognised and valued and thus makes you want to give your best. This is, of course, common sense, but research has proven it time and time again.
Any DE&I quick wins to share with us?
Accountability without guilt. It is essential to help those who remain spectators to understand what it is all about and to measure the interest and the importance for their company. You have to raise awareness and train, then set concrete and measurable objectives: you can measure diversity by counting people, and you can measure inclusion by asking people for their opinion. Measuring the impact of our actions is absolutely essential.