Inclusion & diversity
In the multi-cultural, global and dynamic world we live in, inclusion
& diversity matter more than ever.
If approached correctly, inclusion and diversity support growth, differentiation and innovation – of products, to customers and for employees. If left without ambition or direction, they can be a chore, or even worse, a barrier to performance.
At The Red Plate, we are experienced in creating ambitious and business-led diversity strategies. From race and ethnicity, to sexual orientation, gender, enabling parents, individuals with a disability, and everyone in between, we know how to connect diversity delivery with your organisational ambitions, moving diversity from an HR issue to a competitive advantage.
Looking for inspiration? Check out this video on three bold trends in Inclusion & Diversity which are driving results for companies forging the way
▼ Race & Ethnicity
Quite often our own anxieties as leaders around saying or doing the wrong thing with race can be one of the biggest barriers to progress. It can leave an organisation and its leaders unsure of where to begin. It can slow down and even paralyse employers and employees. Will I say the wrong thing? How can I get my employees to trust me if I too am part of the white majority? Instead of moving forward, race if often moved to the ‘too hard bucket’.
Talking about race is hard – and talking to people about their own race, culture, identity and experiences, is often harder. It takes careful consideration and willingness to listen, learn and be transported out of your own experiences to create the trust required for successful ethnicity programmes.
At The Red Plate, we have experience in creating confident conversations and achieving a trusted starting place for you and your ethnic minority employees. We have worked with
to rebuild, refocus and energise employee networks, to orchestrate workshops and conversations which allow senior leaders to understand what it is like for ethnic minority employees in a business world which is predominantly white. And perhaps most importantly, to deliver value and a purpose for existence which supports your business agenda.
I taught my black kids that their elite upbringing...
After a startling event leaves his son extremely vulnerable, an African American father explores the harsh realities of race and parenting.
Adichie tells a beautiful and powerful story which doesn’t shy away from the hard-hitting issues. This novel is guaranteed to stretch your thinking about race, racism and modern society.
▼ Sexual Orientation
It’s easy to wonder why sexual orientation has anything to do
with business. After all, it’s a private matter and should remain ‘private’ – right?
The reality in the heterosexual world it is rare that one has to consider the implication of sharing stories about our families, loved ones, and private life outside of work without fear.
The heterosexual norm, is a constant state of ‘out’. Individuals are able to just be themselves. Walking into work, the supermarket, the movies or the bank – without the slightest hesitation or urge to edit behaviour, stories and natural feelings in public.
For a lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) employee,
‘out’ is not something that happens once, it is an on-going state of decision making. In every meeting, new client, team, or interaction, an LGBT employee has to decide if it’s ok to be themselves. The range of emotions can be anything from concern, awkwardness, unease, embarrassment, discomfort, shame or even fear. It can be time consuming and emotionally draining.
For LGBT people to feel fully included in an organisation
it is critical there are strong, visible heterosexual employees
(allies) demonstrating their support of the LGBT agenda. An ‘Allies’ programme provides a framework in which to achieve inclusion by signalling to LGBT staff that whilst some of their colleagues can’t
be ‘out’ in the same way, they can certainly be ‘in’ – in terms of creating an environment which is inclusive and supportive. Allies remove ambiguity and speed up an organisation’s ambition to be move beyond a place of tolerance to creating an environment for LGBT employees to be themselves, and to flourish.
After realising that being silent
about who she is has had personal, professional & societal consequences, Morgana Bailey speaks up.
Every multi-national organisation must understand the impact of operating in world where LGBT employees still
Women’s programmes have been around for decades, but the attention and importance placed on gender diversity has rapidly increased since the issue of the Davies report in 2011. Suddenly, new groups, events, collaborations and bodies emerged – all with the aim of getting more women into, and to the top of, business, sport, science, and politics.
After significant progress at the board level, progress seems to have stalled in many areas and for many organisations. Even worse, there is a growing apathy toward the focus on women only, as male employees wonder ‘what about me’.
Whether you are just getting started with your gender focus, or you find yourself with progress stalled, wondering whereto go next, we can help you build business relevant programmes and move beyond “almost equal
Three simple steps to supercharge your gender progress.
Ask the most basic of questions
Understand the data and
focus, focus, focus
Many organisations and individuals skip the step of getting leaders across the organisation to ask themselves the most basic question of gender. Are men inherently smarter or better
It’s an important question to address as it sets the foundation for even the most hardened leaders. And if the answer is no, then it begs the most immediate next question – why are women not thriving within our organisation in the same way men are? This simple question is a critical step to every individual and organisation’s journey about why gender matters.
It seems like such a simple idea. Does your organisation, and do your leaders know whether recruiting, promotions or attrition are affecting your gender balance most? Or are they managing women’s programmes on long-held assumptions about women and men? If you reviewed your gender actions today, how well would the activities in your women’s network and central diversity programmes focus time and energy on what matters most to achieving gender progress.
This third, and most common mistake is to disengage, half (or more) of an organisations population by pitting women against men. This is not a gender tug of war. Organisations and institutions which openly and proactively engage men in the debate and work with both sexes to create a culture and set of programmes which benefit women and men alike will attract and retain new types of diverse talent. What’s your organisational equivalent to #heforshe and #sheforhe? "Learn more about how to effectively engage men."
For decades, parenting groups within the business world have been predominantly led by women. Whilst it has been a helpful connection to drive action, and harness employee passion – making parenting a “women’s issue” has had significant downsides. It often has meant women’s networks end up talking about parenting, and parenting networks end up talking about women’s issues. Whilst the two can be connected, it automatically leaves out half of the world’s parents –the fathers.
By embracing parenting as a joint endeavour, with equal importance placed support systems and economic support (e.g. paid time off) for both women and men, organisations can drive inclusion and uncouple the parenting weight which has been unequally placed on women at work.
When only women in an organisation take time off to be parents – whether it be maternity leave, a child’s illness, childcare disruption, daily drop-offs, pick ups, school runs or school plays – it sets a tone within an organisation that parenting is a woman’s role. When organisations do not support men in equal measure, the implicit message is that it’s not okay for men to do the same. Unequal focus on parenting goes largely unnoticed and is an invisible tradition which holds both women and men back.
The tone set by progressive parenting organisations is not only a win for diversity, it’s a win for modern talent models and employee engagement – of parents and non-parents alike. By enabling flexible working and equal participation of both sexes in parenting to become more “normal”, it sets a tone for all employees that life passions and interests, whatever they may be, are encouraged.
▼ Mental Health
The scope of an organisation’s focus on enabling employees with disabilities to flourish in their role, and within the company, can be
vast. Organisations need to understand beyond the law, to the array of challenges across HR processes (recruiting, performance management), IT support, operations needs and even physical facilities. Once the right policies and support systems in place, the process of individual “reasonable adjustments” for each employee begins -from hearing, sight, physiological impairments through to dyslexia and mental illness – anxiety, depression and bi-polar disorder.
Where do you start? And what, in this myriad of things you could do, will have the biggest impact – on your employees and to your bottom line? The challenge lies not only in what an organisation can and should do, but in finding the path that works best for who they are and the business they deliver to clients. It takes consideration for what effects an organisation the most, and a strong focus on helping empower employees to speak up and share not only what they can deliver for an organisation, but the adjustments they need to perform at their best. Whether it be creating a reasonable adjustments strategy or building a mental health allies and training programme, at The Red Plate, we have experience in developing market leading disability and mental health strategies which help employees thrive.
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