Many employers in the South West are reconsidering their approach to inclusion, with equality and diversity now considered a business priority and sound investment proposition. Jane Forrest, Employer Inclusion Lead at Seetec Pluss, explains.
The rise in demand for a more inclusive workplace has been driven by challenging external economic and social factors which has determined the need to attract a more diverse candidate pool.
Developing workplace diversity and inclusion initiatives brings a wealth of benefits to an organisation from enhancing brand reputation to expanding a customer base. Doing things differently and embedding inclusion into core values and everyday activity, can also help alleviate the ‘great resignation’, stabilising employees who are less likely to look for another job.
Employers choosing inclusion as a new way of working will connect instantaneously with the diversity of the outside business world and its community. Ultimately, this will ensure a more transparent, authentic, and diverse hiring process. And that is one of the most important initial steps to becoming more inclusive in a highly competitive world of work.
We were excited to attend this year’s South West Business Show during National Inclusion Week and we asked exhibiting employers what it means to them to be inclusive? and how inclusion in the workplace can be improved?
What employers are saying…
“As a Disability Confident Employer (level 2) we consistently apply the core Disability Confident principles which yield a multitude of inclusion benefits to everyone in their organisation”
“Inclusion is about getting the right applicant based on their values and attitude and not requiring skills or experience or completing application forms. Coupled with offering flexibility on working hours to overcome recruitment barriers such as public transport timetables/childcare issues.”
“I think having different ages is really important. It nice to have some more younger parts of the team and some older people in the team”
“I would continue to push the message of openness; there’s different strokes for different folks. So just being open and honest and supportive of people’s individual needs, personalities and preferences”
“I think it’s important that the one thing we should do is to stop and take time to understand one another. So, I would like to maybe stop the clocks, give people time to stop and talk to one another and really spend the time that’s necessary to understand, learn more about each other. And in that way, I believe we can truly find and seek inclusion.
“I think I’d like to see more people be more appreciative of everybody’s differences rather than seeing them as a problem.”
“Obviously, cricket being a worldwide sport, we have a lot of interest from people from different countries, different backgrounds. Now we have refugees that want to play here. And it is fantastic to me to be able to offer our facilities to all these different people, which is making us very much feel we’re doing our bit for inclusiveness.”
“We offer candidates an interview, but we also give them the chance that they can do a trial shift, even if it’s only for an hour or a couple of hours, because it might suit us and they’re perfect, but they might not actually like it either. So, they don’t feel the pressure that they’ve got to actually stay or come employed with us.”
“I would like to see more dialogue. So, it’s not something that sits on a shelf as an action plan, but it’s something that is actually alive, real, happening and making a difference.”
“I think being open, asking questions, unlearning and finding out what we need to do to be more inclusive is important.”
“When it comes to inclusion, the thing I’d like to see most is for people to listen. I think we hear an awful lot of talk about representation and people being able to see things happening in the world. And whilst I think that’s important, I think that’s going to be followed up by people actively listening to what’s being asked of them as well. That’s what it is for me.”
Great poignant feedback from employers celebrating difference and championing positive action in the workplace, so why not jump on board and be part of the generation that puts people first no matter their race, gender, background or disability.