Tag Archive for: inclusion

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We take a look at recent developments and guidance that has emerged to support employers navigating this important topic.

We previously published an article about the Workplace Fertility Pledge, an entirely voluntary scheme that employers could sign up to in which they pledged to offer support to individuals and couples going through fertility treatment.

Now the CIPD, the professional body for HR and people development, has launched a guide to employers on how to offer workplace support.

The guidance draws together the work of others, such as Manchester Metropolitan University and Fertility Matters at Work.

What Support Can Employers Put in Place?

Fertility treatment varies and so do the needs and wishes of those going through it, but for those looking at what they can do in their organisation, it’s a useful starting point to review Manchester Metropolitan University’s list of various factors that those undergoing fertility treatment may be dealing with:

  • attending multiple (sometimes daily) clinic appointments – often arranged with little notice
  • finding the time and privacy to take sensitive phone calls from the clinic during the working day, coupled with the anxiety of waiting for, and potentially missing, important updates
  • storing medication (which may require refrigeration) at work and finding a clean and private place to inject medication
  • ‘cycles of hope and grief’- the challenge of receiving difficult news at work and managing the significant emotional transition if treatment is unsuccessful
  • potential strain on relationships both inside and outside work
  • financial pressures if funding treatment privately

As an employer, this list is really pause for thought. Supporting employees through this journey makes good sense, not only because it’s the right thing to do from a human, compassionate perspective but also because you can work with that employee to help them to continue to be effective in their role in a planned way, rather than them staying silent and trying to muddle through.

There’s lots an organisation can do, from educating managers and employees, introducing a policy and allowing flexibility for those undergoing treatment.


The CIPD has helpfully included their Fertility Journey Policy, which is worth a read for those thinking of implementing their own policy.

Fertility Matters at Work is also a great resource for employers who are searching for information on how they better equip their organisation to support employees who are on a complex fertility journey.

For further information on this topic, please contact Sarah Martin in our team on 07799 136091.

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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. 

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From matches during working hours, to potential tension between employees, we review some of the possible issues employers should be aware of as the World Cup 2022 approaches.  

The Football World Cup starts on Sunday 20 November and continues until the final on 18 December – but is your organisation prepared for the challenges it could bring?

Should Employees Get Time Off to Watch a Match?

Due to the time difference with Qatar (they are three hours ahead of the UK) a lot of the games will take place during the working day. For example, England’s game against Iran takes place at 1pm on Monday 21 November and Wales’ game against Iran takes place on Friday 25 November at 10am. 

Due to the number of teams involved in this World Cup, there will be four games a day for many of the group stages. They will be played at 10am, 1pm, 4pm and 7pm UK time, every day. 

As an organisation you should think about the approach you will take with regard to colleagues who want to watch the games. For example, there is a risk that if you only allow England and Wales fans to watch games you may get complaints from say a Moroccan colleague who wants to watch their team play at 10am on Wednesday 23 November. 

The best approach is to be even handed, so if you will allow England fans time off to watch any England games you should consider allowing other teams fans time off to watch their team’s games. You need to think whether you will allow employees to work flexibly or whether they will need to take annual leave to watch the games. 

Could There Be Workplace Tension?

The next thing is to consider possible workplace tensions arising. For example, an employer might think it’s a good idea to set a TV up in an open plan office and allow staff to have an alcoholic drink if it’s a big late afternoon game. But be mindful of how this might make others feel. Some colleagues may not want to watch and might not want to be around alcohol for a number of different reasons. This could lead to tensions between staff, especially when alcohol is involved.  Plan ahead, consider those employees who do not want to watch and remind colleagues of their obligations under any Dignity at Work policies.

Promoting Equality and Inclusivity

The other live issue at this World Cup is LBGTQ+ rights. In Qatar homosexuality is illegal with punishments for being homosexual including prison sentences for up to seven years, or death. A few days ago a Qatar World Cup Ambassador said that homosexuality is ‘damage in the mind’. There is a good chance that there will be protests by some players and fans about the Qatari approach in this regard and it remains to be seen how the Qatari authorities will react. 

This issue is almost certainly going to be addressed during the coverage of the World Cup. If you are going to be showing the games it may be worth reminding your staff of your own organisation’s approach regarding Equality, Dignity at Work and so on and ensuring that any discussions about the matter are moderate, reasonable and respectful. This is not just to try to avoid grievances and Tribunal claims but also to let staff know that they are working in an inclusive, tolerant organisation. 

The World Cup may well give organisations a lot to address and so it may be helpful to give some thought to how you will approach these matters in advance. If there are any issues you would like to discuss please contact Simon Martin in our team on 07384 813076

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.