A woman in a yellow textured jumper uses a microphone to talk to a mixed group of people in a lecture theatre. They are all wearing lanyards and standing in a wide circle around her.
Nimisha Overton

Written by Nimisha Overton

EMEA Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Lead

Colleagues, customers, Kyosei and the journey to DE&I

I marvel every day at the amazing people who, like me, have chosen to make Canon their work home. Would it be cheesy to admit that playing my part to create a sense of belonging for everyone here is my ‘why’? Probably, but I make no apology for it. Our community is as inspiring as it is diverse.

In numbers, that diversity looks like 13,500 employees of over 102 nationalities, working across 120 markets. But numbers don’t really tell you what it’s like to be working with a Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DE&I) champion in France one day and then South Africa the next. Nor give you a sense of the breadth of lived experience, viewpoints, skills and expertise that over thirteen thousand people can bring. What I do know for certain is that this is the foundation of a successful organisation, one that values creativity and innovation – and while that might sound like it’s come straight from the pages of any DE&I policybook, it doesn’t make it any less true.

It means that Canon, like all organisations, must be attentive to the needs of its people; learning, understanding and growing in knowledge, building trust and enhancing everyone’s experience of being at work. So, we have a DE&I Council and our amazing local champions who give us, and our leadership teams, a big picture of all the excellent initiatives happening across the region. We’re then able to share this wealth of activities information and special events with the wider Canon EMEA community, allowing them to feel confident, valued, respected, and empowered. Co-ordinating the important work of dozens of DE&I champions across our markets and offering plenty of guidance and support can certainly be a challenge, but when I bring it all together in one place, seeing the greater impact is definitely an exercise in watching our corporate philosophy of ‘Kyosei’ come to life.

This philosophy of ‘living and working together for the common good’ is our North Star. It has guided the way that we do business for nearly forty years, encouraging us to be mindful of how our work impacts our customers, colleagues, partners and the world around us. In this respect, it could be argued that our values as an organisation already perfectly align with a need for a compassionate and thoughtful global community.

As a woman of colour and a mother, I too bring my own life experiences with me to work every day and have largely worked in predominantly male environments throughout my career. As you might imagine, this has been a driving factor in my wanting to bring DE&I to the forefront of my career, become an ally and recognise and celebrate all my colleagues for the expertise they bring to the table. Joining Canon has given me the opportunity to do this every day, to be open, give people my time and learn from their experiences – how fortunate am I to be in a position where I can do that? And how fortunate that I can then drive that strategy into the organisation?

Of course, I cannot talk about the work we do at Canon without mentioning the most important people of all – our customers. Why is DE&I within Canon of any importance to our customers, you might ask? My answer? It’s not just important, it’s absolutely essential. After all, the happiness and satisfaction of our customers is the focus shared not just by our teams at Canon, but by our entire network and community. From the suppliers and services we work with every day to our partners and distributors who we rely on to help us meet our customers’ expectations.

Every day when we fire up our laptops, head out on visits, attend training, share brainstorms, create inspiring content, conceive new ideas and work on ways to do things better, we are doing it so that our customers have the very best possible experience of our brand. But to work more effectively for them, we must understand each other as well as we possibly can. We must share values and understanding, every voice in the room must be respected and everyone should have a shared sense of belonging. This is where we truly see the power of diverse communities to create a successful business, full of happy, motivated and productive people.

And like the human experience itself, DE&I isn’t a project, or a single action, or even many actions. It’s a journey that we’re all on together. We want to create a workplace that truly reflects the diverse communities in which we operate and the customers we serve across EMEA. This means learning and sharing every day, and forging a sense of belonging where everyone can thrive – professionally, yes, but personally too.

You can find out more about our DE&I strategy and initiatives here.