We held our third Diversity Conference in partnership with The Herald yesterday in Glasgow. It was another inspiring day with many organisations talking about the progress that has been achieved but also some challenging conversations about the issues that many individuals across our workplaces still face. You can find out more about the event from our video.
In just under two weeks time we will host Scotland’s third diversity conference with our partners at The Herald. We’ll be hearing from and engaging with speakers from all sectors of the economy and from all backgrounds. Everyone has a story to tell and a message that emphasises that diversity is not an add on – that diversity is vital to economic growth. We can’t be complacent on diversity or pause for a moment thinking that we’ve made enough progress. Diversity needs to stay on the business agenda.
We are delighted to welcome our first guest blogger to GenAnalytics.
Dr Julie McElroy epitomises drive, motivation and passion. This Scotswoman has an impressive CV, including being awarded her PhD from the University of the West of Scotland in 2017. Over the years she has become an advocate of equality, inclusion, accessibility. More recently, her work has covered looking at improving equalities practices in workplaces. She shares some of her personal experiences of the challenges she has encountered when securing employment.
Together we can go further and create an inclusive HR Process for all
I believe that a new innovative approach is required to ensure people with impairments are welcomed and respected by employers across the private, public and third sectors. It requires forward-thinking organisations who are looking for ways to improve their business confidence and capability in meeting the needs of accessibility. There are business benefits for attracting people with impairments who have talents. It is also about cultivating the mind-set of all employees within organisations to what they can do to welcome people with impairment in an accessible, cost-saving and inclusive way.
Inclusive leadership leads to positive impacts:
Inclusive Leadership is about treating people and groups fairly based on their unique characteristics, rather than acting on biases derived from stereotypes. Different backgrounds and perspectives lead to a variety of ideas, knowledge, and new ways of doing things. By ensuring that your team includes staff from a range of social and cultural backgrounds, you will widen the range of perspectives, knowledge, and approaches from which decisions are made.
My own most recent employment success was supported and informed by inclusive leadership. This influential senior manager demonstrated that with his leadership style and authority he could make an impact in creating, changing or managing a very traditional workplace culture. His actions and my experience show that in an inclusive setting, leaders can shape the organisation behaviours, attitudes towards hiring and working with people with disabilities. The key to engaging employees with a disability is to understand the individual’s needs and acknowledge decisions taken by individuals followed by being open-minded about situation and assess each part as they come. The cornerstone of success of ‘people’ leadership skills is based on feeling adept to dealing with others, we are individually different at the end of the day. But we all want to feel valued and to make a contribution to those organisations that we work for.
Organisational culture, why it matters:
Organisations who embrace diversity, equality and inclusivity can ignite harmony. From my experiences, I have experienced many “toxic” cultural environments. I can sense them as soon as I go into organisations and I believe it is created by the values, beliefs and behaviours of the people who work there and its leadership. All these elements shape how a potential candidate is likely to be welcomed and the experience they are likely to have.
I believe greater openness will ensure that more individuals with impairments will be allowed to fulfil their aspirations. Increasing the profile and opportunities for individuals with impairment in the organisation will ensure the stigma and assumptions are addressed. Therefore, it is time to start thinking about values based cultures. By sharing common principles of inclusive workplaces it becomes ‘automatic’ to embed these values into everyday operation and that includes in your recruitment practices..
I believe we can make that change in Scotland. Let’s now take the opportunity to implement an inclusive ethos where a diverse workforce can be celebrated with an array of a talents shared by everyone.
It takes time, effort and energy to complete award applications. You might need to speak to different departments to get all the relevant information, you might need to get a sign off from managers before submitting an entry, so perhaps when you get an email or see an alert on another awards event you file it into the ‘nice-to-do but not essential’ pile of work.
Here’s why we think that Scotland’s Diversity Awards are different and that, regardless of your business, your company size, if you are in the third sector or the public or the private, or if you are an individual then you should be applying today.
Diversity in our economy and our workplaces seriously matters.
Workplaces that are not inclusive and that don’t embrace diversity will be outperformed by those who do.
Organisations who take diversity and inclusion seriously, who recognise that there is a long road ahead but who are on the journey, and who recognise that diversity of talent and thought are crucial to their ongoing success have the opportunity to shine at Scotland’s Diversity Awards.
Now in its third year, we are inviting entries from individuals and from organisations who are standing up to be counted as we continue to drive forward on the diversity and inclusion journey.
We have recognised companies large and small, charities, campaigns, and inspiring individuals in the first two years of these awards. We want to build on this and grow our network of Scotland’s Diversity Champions.
We know you are out there. We see the great work being done to close the gender pay gap, to break down barriers to inclusive recruitment, to overcome outdated perceptions, and to stamp out dated practices.
It’s time for you to get the recognition that your organisation deserves and we can truly build momentum towards the creation of an inclusive and diverse economy and society.
Now is the time to enter Scotland’s Diversity Awards. It’s not a nice to do – it’s essential.
There is growing recognition that to make real progress and deliver real change within our society, our economy and in our workplaces to achieve inclusion everyone has to take responsibility. It is not the Government’s sole responsibility, nor is it the public sector, nor is it the private sector.
The Scottish economy would benefit by additional billions if we achieved gender pay parity – £6.5bn to be exact.
A 5% rise in the employment rate of adults with a disability would see an extra £6bn contribution to the UK economy by 2030.
Full representation of ethnic minorities in the workplace would benefit the economy by £24bn per annum.
Fear of discrimination and exclusion keeps many LGBT employees closeted at work – this is a loss of talent and potential to thousands of workplaces up and down the country.
In 2018, facing the continued economic challenges that we hear about daily, can a business afford not to be Diverse and Inclusive?
When we launched Scotland’s Diversity Conference in May 2017 with The Herald we knew that there was great work going on across Scotland and that there were inspiring individuals working tirelessly to achieve change. At our conference we welcomed over 200 individuals who were all committed to finding out more about what they could do to support their organisation to move forward.
Fast forward into a new year and whilst we are making progress we still face a long road ahead.
Gender Pay Gap legislation, introduced last April requiring all organisations with more than 250 employees to report their pay gap, is still to capture a true reflection of pay across our industries. Just over 10% of 8,000 organisations have reported so far – yet the deadline to report is less than 8 weeks away… We have to seriously ask why this is the case when this is a statutory requirement?
Despite the challenges, we are excited to launch the 2018 Conference to be held in May. Inclusion must be everyone’s business. It must be a standard agenda item on FTSE 100 company boards and on senior management teams in our small to medium sized enterprises. And it must spread across an entire organisation – rhetoric from the top won’t change the behaviours of an entire workforce unless everyone buys in to truly embracing inclusion.
Our 2018 conference will focus on Action and sharing lessons and experiences from organisations on their diversity journey, even if that is just taking the first few steps to developing a strategy and understanding where challenges begin. We will also hear from inspiring individuals who prove that there is no limit to what we can achieve.
It’s 2018 and it is time for action. This is everyone’s collective responsibility. Join us.
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