I’m still feeling very inspired after my last event with 50:50 Future on ‘Demystifying Diversity’.
Co-founders Lyndsey and Lynsey delivered an amazing session with tons of takeaways for the room. They covered so much, but I’m going to try and condense it down and highlight the best bits for those that missed it!
One thing that was obvious from the session is that Diversity and Inclusion encompasses everything in your business. It starts even before a potential employee walks through the door at interview.
It’s so much more than ‘having a policy in place’. Here are just a few of the top tips that the 50:50 Future team shared during the session…
The phrase ‘you don’t know what you don’t know’ came up a couple of times throughout the morning. And it’s so true!
If you’ve got to a place where you’ve acknowledged the fact that there’s a diversity or inclusion issue in your business, you can take steps to solve it. But where do you start? Well, education and knowledge sharing, for one.
Tip: Something as simple as trying to take yourself out of your own situation and understanding what other peoples’ issues or perspectives might be is a good exercise to practice. If you don’t feel that anyone in your team is equipped with the knowledge to deal with the issues you’re facing, organisations like 50:50 Future are there to help. They can assess the situation and create recommendations for you to follow to get to a better place.
First impressions count. Especially when it comes to recruiting a diverse workforce.
If you put a job ad out and are only getting applications from the same people every time, it might be time to look at how you’re being perceived from an outside perspective.
Take some time to look at your website and social media channels. Is the imagery depicting a certain type of person? Are you using language that appeals to specific candidates?
Tip: There are some great tools out there to help you assess your job descriptions and understand the hidden implications of the language used in them. A great example is ‘The Gender Bias Decoder’ by Totaljobs.
It’s so important that any diversity and inclusion activity or plan has buy-in from the leadership team. And I’m not talking about getting them to do some box-ticking here.
Diversity and Inclusion needs to be engrained in the culture of the business.
Tip: Think about which holidays you celebrate in the office. And what team building activities do you do? These are all things that should be inclusive and enjoyable for everyone in the team, so before you suggest something, ask what your team actually want to do. Which brings me onto my next point…
Facilitating ways for people to get together in an honest, open and safe environment to talk about the challenges and barriers they’re facing is important. Affinity groups are fantastic for bringing people together, but be careful not to create silos.
More often than not it’s the people that don’t join in with these discussions who are the ones that need to be there the most. So how are you going to engage them?
Tip: Find ways to share the discussions in your affinity groups with the wider workforce. Will you put a blog in the staff newsletter? Will you organise smaller group meetings with people from various groups to share their experiences? Whatever you do, open up the conversation. But most importantly, encourage people to really listen to each other.
“You can’t be what you can’t see”… So how do you combat this? The 50:50 Future team gave us a few good tips:
Sponsors – A more senior staff member being the ‘voice’ for someone in the organisation who may not otherwise feel they’re heard. The aim being to help push them forward in the business.
Role modelling – This is a less formal one and more of a cultural one. But we talked about the importance of seeing various role models in organisations, and how it helps with breaking down barriers and avoiding negative stereotypes around certain groups.
Mentors – we all know what a mentor is. But the conversation we had in the session was about having a range of mentors that can offer different perspectives on situations.
Reverse mentoring – never heard of this before? Essentially it’s how it sounds. A junior team member and senior team member get together to exchange their knowledge and understanding, rather than the usual dynamic of senior member giving junior member their advice.
I hope you’ll agree that there’s some great stuff in there, so thanks again to Lynsey and Lyndsey of 50:50 Future for delivering such a fantastic session on Diversity and Inclusion.
We only scratched the surface, so if you’d like to find out more about what they do, check out their website: 5050future.co.uk/.
And if you’d like to come along to my next networking event, keep an eye on the Networking & Events page and my social channels for updates.