Tag Archive for: diversity

Home | diversity

Recent headlines suggest that there may be a ‘big return to the office’, whilst others promote the success of flexible working schemes, such as the successful outcome of the four day working week trial.

Since the pandemic there have been changes in working practices, attitudes and expectations for many and the conversation around hybrid working continues.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) suggest that 28% of working adults are working on a hybrid basis in 2023 and that 16% work solely from home. Home or hybrid workers are more likely to be in professional roles, degree educated or above and be in the highest income band.

Why Offer Hybrid or Flexible Working?

According to the ONS:

  • 78% of hybrid workers say they have an improved work life balance
  • 52% say they complete work more quickly at home
  • 53% say there are fewer distractions at home
  • 47% report improved wellbeing

Research also suggests that job applicants and employees are motivated by flexibility, which is considered the most important motivator in keeping employees in their jobs – valued even more so than salary.

How Can Employers Manage Requests for Hybrid or Flexible Working?

The right to request flexible working is of course well established, and is set to widen as a result of the Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Bill. Alternatively, employers may decide that a formal request under their flexible working policy is not required, and there can be some advantages to dealing with requests outside the formal regime. Some employers have introduced hybrid working policies, allowing them to consider how their approach to hybrid working can meet their commercial needs. However employers decide to deal with requests for flexible or hybrid working, they should be mindful of any risks associated with how they deal with the request, particularly around possible discrimination risks if they decide to reject a request.

What Are the Potential Challenges?

Is hybrid working offered equally across the organisation? What are the consequences for different protected characteristics ie are there more women working in a hybrid capacity than men?

There can be challenges around how to effectively manage and supervise staff who are working remotely, and a different approach may be required to measuring performance. Employers need to be aware of the risk of ‘proximity bias’ – the idea that managers may perceive those employees who they see onsite as working more effectively than those who are working remotely.

There may be practical issues around the working environments of those staff working at home, around the need to ensure confidentiality and manage data protection effectively and around health and safety requirements.

There may also be some challenges around staff who need to balance caring responsibilities and working remotely, or those who request to work abroad. Finally, there can be a divide between groups of staff who can work remotely and those who can’t.

Don’t Forget Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

Research suggest that hybrid/flexible working is popular amongst underrepresented groups, with research suggesting that:

  • employees with disabilities were 11% more likely to opt for hybrid working than those without disabilities
  • those who identify as non-binary were 14% more likely to prefer hybrid working and LGBTQ+
  • employees were 13% more likely to choose hybrid working over their heterosexual colleagues

Employers should also be mindful not to unintentionally exclude particular groups where hybrid/remote working is imposed, such as those without suitable home working space or those who would benefit from working alongside colleagues in order to aid their development.

How Can Narrow Quay HR Support You and Your Organisation?

Narrow Quay HR can work with you to review your hybrid and flexible working arrangements, work with you to implement hybrid working policies and provide training for managers on managing and engaging remote/hybrid teams.

For more information on managing staff who are working remotely or dealing with hybrid/remote working requests, please contact Caitlin Anniss in our team on 07909 683 938.

Home | diversity

Having celebrated International Women’s Day (IWD) on 8 March, we want to consider how employers maintain momentum and have a continuous focus on equity, diversity and inclusion all year round.

Not Just a One-Off Event

Whilst IWD has become the significant focus for celebration, March has, for many years, been recognised as ‘Women’s History Month’ with individuals and organisations using this time to pay particular attention to women’s achievements and to continue raising awareness of work still to be done.

This year, the IWD campaign theme was #EmbraceEquity, aimed at getting the world talking about why equal opportunities aren’t enough – that although used interchangeably, equality and equity are not the same.

One definition the campaign uses really helps to provide that distinction:

  • Equality is giving everyone a shoe.
  • Equity is giving everyone a shoe that fits.

What Actions Can You Take?

The following are ideas that can be part of your celebrations for IWD itself, can be organised throughout March and beyond:

  • Celebrate the accomplishments of women in your workplace to inspire further women to achieve their full potential.
  • Showcase women throughout history to remind staff of the importance of their contribution and to encourage internal recognition of your own staff’s achievements.
  • Fundraise for a female-focused charity or organisation.
  • Create an equity, diversity and inclusion forum of staff and managers to provide regular discussion on key EDI topics and create momentum for actionable change.

International Women’s Day provides a key moment to celebrate women’s achievements in the workplace and showcase employer initiatives and support.

Using this month as the impetus, you can review your recruitment practices, promotion and development opportunities, to consider how equitable they really are. View them through the lens of the IWD example definition above.

Consider how your culture is reflective of this ambition – is equity role-modelled by senior leaders and line managers? Are your values in line with this?

Celebrating IWD is a great way for you to demonstrate the value all of your staff play in your organisation. Taking it beyond that day (and month) to promote further action – progressive policies, practices, benefits, and support mechanisms so women’s careers can thrive – will drive higher engagement and can lead to increased production and retention in your workplace – something every employer can get behind.

For specialist HR support with any issues regarding equity in the workplace, please contact Sue Meehan Boyes in our team on 07384 468797.

Home | diversity

There is a vast pool of neurodiverse candidates seeking employment in the UK. However, many organisations are missing out on talented individuals due to stigma, or by not maximising opportunities with their recruitment strategy.

There is a long history of negative stigma around employing neurodiverse people, as many employers fear that those with neurological differences, such as Autism and Dyslexia, would not be able to do the job as well as other neurotypical employees.

This stigma can leave neurodivergent colleagues feeling misjudged. According to recent research, 6 out of 10 neurodivergent individuals have experienced stigma or felt misunderstood during their careers. This could be due to feeling unsupported at work, or feeling judged by their diagnosis and any accommodations they have in the workplace.

Thankfully, this is changing. Today, many organisations now understand that this isn’t the case and there has been an uptake of training in the topic and increasing engagement to learn more. However, we’ve still got a long way to go to reduce the impact of these negative misconceptions.

Why Is It Important to Attract Neurodiverse Talent?

By identifying ideal roles for neurodivergent staff and limiting potential barriers, organisations can create a neurodiverse workplace with increased creativity, new ideas and fresh perspectives.

As well as their individual strengths, neurodivergent employees often possess highly desirable skills and attributes, such as:

  • reliability, conscientiousness and persistence
  • high levels of concentration
  • detailed factual knowledge and an excellent memory
  • attention to detail and the ability to identify errors
  • strong technical abilities in their specialist areas
  • creativity, especially in visual or spatial or process activities
  • high levels of intellect
  • the ability to look at the bigger picture and think laterally

Top Tips for Attracting Neurodiverse Talent

When considering your recruitment strategy for attracting a more neurodiverse workforce we suggest you implement these top tips:

Promote Disclosure

Make sure you offer candidates the opportunity to disclose any conditions that they may have, throughout the recruitment process. This may be by using open questions in your application forms for example. Ensure any disclosures are met with a supportive response, with a discussion around adjustments and support they would need in order to give the best account of themselves.

Make an Informed Recruitment Decision

By offering multiple opportunities for candidates to demonstrate their competence and being flexible in the ways you gather information you can make an informed recruitment decision.

Be Objective 

Ensure you have a panel of interviewers or have multiple stages in the recruitment process to reduce any unconscious bias and ensure decision making is fair and objective. 

Consider Language

Questions asked during interviews may be interpreted differently between candidates. Ensure that your questions are clear and re-phrase them if there is any confusion to ensure a level playing field. You may need to adapt your communication style for candidates, as a manager would in any team environment. 

Increase Knowledge

Training is helpful for all staff, but particularly for those involved in recruitment, neurodiversity awareness training we can highlight the strengths that come from different thinking, and reduce the impact of stigma in the workplace. It also helps those with line management responsibilities to understand how to better support neurodivergent staff, and what support they can offer to make the workplace more inclusive for all.

If you would like to discuss neurodiversity awareness training for your organisation feel free to contact Helen Couchman in our team on 07799 901669. 

Home | diversity

As we come together to celebrate Black History Month in October 2022 we should take time to consider the theme this year: ‘Time for Action: Not words’.

Black History Month celebrates the continued achievements and contributions of black people to the UK and around the world. The focus now is on the present and future by shining a spotlight on those using the platform to push for change.

The Black History Month website stated when launching the theme for 2022, ‘whilst we can acknowledge and learn from the past, we need to strive to protect the future through taking action by coming together around a shared common goal, to achieve a better world for everyone.’

What’s happening in your workplace?

There are lots of ideas and initiatives that employers can implement. Below we have collated a few ideas.

Volunteer with Black-Led Charities

Consider team volunteering for Black-led charities and non-profit organisations. This is a great way to help the Black community while also making a significant difference.

Reflect on Your Internal Diversity & Inclusion Efforts

Reflect on your own D&I efforts. Are you promoting diversity as an organisation? How are you fostering inclusivity in your workplace? Are there areas of your business that can be made more inclusive such as your recruitment process or your management staff? Speak to your employees and see if they’re willing to share how they think you could improve as an organisation.

Celebrate Black Literature

You can promote classic and contemporary Black authors and their remarkable works. You could perhaps select some books written by Black authors and host a company-wide book reading event.

  • Beloved by Toni Morrison
  • The Color Purple by Alice Walker
  • I Know Why The Caged Birds Sing by Maya Angelou (Autobiography)
  • Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
  • Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

Bring In Speakers and Create a Space for People to Listen and Share

Many companies celebrate Black History Month by bringing in speakers to share stories and experiences around race and Black identity. Promoting diverse voices creates a space for inclusion, understanding, and empathy. Involve people and open up the conversation to anyone who wants to participate by sending out a company-wide email asking for speaker and topic suggestions.

This kind of programming can take on many formats, from panel discussions to round tables to workshops. Choose the topic beforehand, and let people know what to expect so they can feel prepared to share and ask questions.

Other Useful Resources

Check out the below blogs for some further ideas on how you can celebrate this month:

For any further support or guidance, please get in touch with Helen Couchman in our team on 07799 901 669.

Home | diversity

This year National Inclusion Week 2022 is from 26 September to 2 October. What are you doing to champion inclusion and diversity in your workplace?

National Inclusion Week (NIW) is a week dedicated to celebrating inclusion and taking action to create inclusive workplaces and to celebrate, share and inspire inclusion practices.

Founded by Inclusive Employers and celebrated annually, National Inclusion Week is now in its tenth year and this year’s theme is ‘Time to Act: The Power of Now’.

Building on from last year’s them #UnitedForInclusion, which connected 60 million employers and employees to celebrate diversity and inclusion, this year’s theme is about maintaining momentum and moving that unity into action.

Why Is It Important?

Annual events such as NIW are timely reminders that creating an inclusive workplace that values diversity remains a continuing priority for all organisations. There are financial benefits too. Research by Deloitte found that diverse companies enjoy 2.3 times higher cash flow per employee.

People want to work for employers with good employment practice, with open and inclusive workplace cultures where everyone feels valued, respects colleagues, and where their contribution is recognised.

To maintain a competitive edge, businesses need everyone who works for them to give their best contribution and that means ensuring recruitment and retention practices prioritise inclusion and diversity so employers have the skills and talent they need.

What Positive Actions Can You Take?

Celebrating an annual event is a great start and can provide a real focus for your activities, but it’s important to turn that commitment and celebration into ongoing action.

Conduct an Audit

Do you know how diverse your organisation is? Conducting an audit of your employees’ demographics will identify underrepresented groups of people and highlight potential unconscious bias within your business practices.

Review Your Recruitment Process

If your audit has highlighted underrepresented groups, review your hiring processes to remove any opportunities for bias in selection.

Create an Employee Diversity and Inclusion Forum

Engaging with your employees to both inform and direct actions for change can be really powerful. Use this group to sense check actions for change to ensure they are tangible and meaningful for your company. Employees will feel involved in subjects that are important for them and it reinforces a commitment for ongoing dialogue with your workforce.

Organise Inclusion Training

Inclusion is not a quantifiable achievement, but an ongoing commitment to equality. It underpins all employment practices so that means it’s important to educate all employees so they understand what it means for them and their own responsibilities to achieving it.

Document Your Approach

Building on any training, it is important to document your approach via policy documents, such as a code of conduct and ensure these can be accessed by employees easily.

Volunteering or Fundraising for an Inclusion Charity

Volunteering is a powerful way to give back to your community. It allows organisations to continue supporting people most at risk, and pioneer inclusivity within society.

Volunteering and fundraising often encourages open, productive conversation surrounding a sensitive topic in a relaxed environment, with employees united under a common goal. To encourage your employees to take part, consider offering paid volunteering days.

Create an Inclusive Annual Calendar

Your workplace may celebrate Christmas and Easter, but what about Diwali and Hanukkah? Do you recognise International Women’s Day, LGBTQ+ Pride Month and Black History Month? Each of these celebrations is equally important and should be recognised in your business.

By creating an inclusive calendar, this will allow your team to easily identify any upcoming dates that you should acknowledge both publicly and within your company, to ensure all employees feel a sense of belonging.

Lead by Example

A business is only as progressive as its senior figures, so if you do not pioneer inclusivity, neither will your company. Along with your policies, it is critical that your senior managers reflect the commitment you’ve made to valuing diversity and inclusion in how they engage with and manage their people.

Consider Your working Environment

It is important to recognise that your staff each require different environments to succeed, so while some thrive in a busy open office, others would benefit from a calmer room where they can focus. Consider what opportunities you have for creating a workplace that is an inclusive place for all employees to belong.

Narrow Quay HR have a wealth of experience to support in this areas – from running training on unconscious bias to helping with your policy documents.

For specialist HR support with any of these issues, please contact Sue Meehan Boyes in our team on 07384 468797.

Home | diversity

International Women’s Day, one of the world’s biggest employee engagement days, takes place on 8 March 2022. It is a global opportunity to celebrate and acknowledge the achievements of women across the world. 

It also provides a chance to raise awareness of female inequality and discuss what can be done to create gender parity. 

#BreakThe Bias

This year, the theme for the day is focused around #breakthebias. The International Women’s Day Website states that, “Whether deliberate or unconscious, bias makes it difficult for women to move ahead. Knowing that bias exists isn’t enough. Action is needed to level the playing field.” Find out more about International Women’s Day

Still More to Be Done

Each year, more and more employers take part in the celebrations by marking the contributions of their female employees. However, the day also acts as a timely reminder to employers about gender equality and what still needs to be done to address the gender imbalance in the workplace.

Following on from the data published by the Office for National Statistics in October 2021, while the gender pay gap has been declining slowly, there is still significant disparity with regards to equal pay. In addition, women are still more likely to be subjected to sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace and are also largely underrepresented within executive roles.

It is evident then that more needs to be done to address gender parity and employers should continue to analyse their working practices to ensure that that they are alive to any blind spots and are doing everything they can do create an equal workforce. 

If you think you would like to offer you staff some training around unconscious bias, we would be very happy to speak to you about the training we offer. Please contact Sarah Martin in our team on 07799 136 091.

Home | diversity

Could certain words in your job adverts be preventing people from applying for your vacancy? We consider what to look out for when writing a job advert to ensure you’re attracting a wide and diverse range of applicants.

Considering Word Choice

The Phoenix Group, which owns Standard Life, is reported to have dropped the word ‘energetic’ from its job adverts because it was concerned that it may put off older people from applying. It is also apparently planning to replace the word ‘innovative’ and replace it with ‘contributing new ideas’ or ‘problem solving’.

Why Has It Made That Decision?

There are two reasons, both related to the pandemic. The first is that there are a substantial number of employers seeking to fill vacancies, the number of job vacancies is currently at a record high as employers are trying to keep up with increased demand as the economy re-opens.

The other reason is explained by Phoenix Group chief executive Andy Briggs, who is the Government’s ‘business champion’ for older workers. He warned in February 2021 that older workers had been disproportionately hit by the pandemic. It was felt that words such as ‘innovative’ may put off older applicants.

What About The Effect on the Gender of Applicants?

A survey conducted in 2019 on behalf of LinkedIn found that 52% of UK women would be put off applying for a job if the workplace was described as ‘aggressive’, compared to just 32% of men. 24% of women surveyed also said they would be put off by the term ‘born leader’ being used in a job advert, compared to just 17% of men.

Despite this, the survey, which polled 1,008 employees and more than 250 hiring managers in the UK, found that two in five (40%) employers never considered gender when writing job adverts, and 44% do not track or measure the gender of those registering interest in job postings.

What Do Your Job Adverts Say?

Reflect very carefully on the wording in your job adverts. You need to be deliberate with the words you are using in job adverts, interviews, social media and in the workplace itself if you wish to attract, build and retain a diverse team.

You could consider testing the job advert wording you propose to use on a range of current staff as a focus group. Also consider whether you are just using your job advert wording because you have used it previously – is that a good enough reason?  

It’s also worth getting help from outside your organisation. We have recently run some very well received training courses on recruitment which cover, amongst other things, unconscious bias. Please get in touch if you’d like to discuss that training with us, or how else we can assist you.  

If you would like to discuss any way that we can help you with any questions you have about recruitment, please contact Sarah Martin in our team on 07799 136091.

Home | diversity

Recent statistics released by the Department for Work and Pensions show that the employment rate for disabled people was 52.7% vs 81% for non-disabled people, there has been a lack of progress made on gender pay gaps, and there is potential introduction of mandatory ethnicity pay reporting.

So it’s completely understandable that businesses will want to focus on their diversity and inclusion practices this year.

Diversity starts at the recruitment stage – yet a recent poll by the Chartered Management Institute found that just under half of managers said their organisations were actively taking steps during the recruitment process to increase the proportion of employees from diverse ethnic groups. Is this enough?

It is useful to remember that diversity and inclusion practises are not simply a tick box exercise, and that encouraging diversity in the workplace has such a positive impact on any business, including greater success, improved performance, ability to share new ideas and motivated employees!

Businesses should not underestimate the advantages that prioritising inclusivity and equality bring.

For support with improving your diversity and inclusion practices, please contact Sue Meehan Boyes on 07384 468797.