With National Inclusion Week upon us this week, it’s time for us to reflect and take a step back to think about what part we are playing as individuals to progress diversity and inclusion in our workplace and society.  My role as CEO is ensuring that as a business we stay faithful to our values.

Being an ally is one of the most influential acts we can do as leaders.  As CEO, it give me the opportunity to make a positive impact.  In order to lift the burden of marginalised groups, it’s my responsibility along with our executive management team to demonstrate allyship; to inspire positive actions and behaviors from our employees who witness their senior leaders doing the right thing.

Of course, there’s more to being an ally than just letting people know that you’re an ally.    I look for opportunities to speak up when I see something I don’t like.  I ensure that everyone round the table has a voice and their ideas are heard.  I spend time visiting our sites, talking and listening to our employees about their observations.  For me, it is about being committed to progress.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Being an ally is a significant part of my role in Gi Group.  Having responsibility for over 300 staff members the probability of having underrepresented groups within that are highly likely.  Therefore, it is important that I self-educate as much as I possibly can in order that I can understand their challenges and empathise with some of the issues that they face.

In the age of the Internet and Social Media there are many ways of keeping up to date with the latest thinking and feeling on just about every topic that impacts just about everyone.  In addition, at Gi Group we have another ‘tool in the box’ to help, we run a series of Webinar’s called “Let’s talk…” on different topics that are open to all and involve people within our business who are affected by the subject – real life stories that we can relate to, because they impact people we know.  I have not missed a single one, and I cannot over emphasise the value in these, I have learned and continue to learn so much from these sessions.  I encourage everyone to attend the series.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I believe that everyone has the ability to add value to any debate, however, I also believe that it is often those that are the quietest or least likely to be vocal who often have the best ideas. Part of my responsibility of being an effective ally is trying, wherever possible, to ensure that during any meeting I am involved in, that all voices are heard and recognition given to all, and not just those that are more gregarious or opinionated. I do this through inviting questions, making sure I go back to someone that may have been talked over or monitoring delegates body language or facial expressions that would indicate a view that may not be expressed during the meeting. I feel that this has become even more relevant in this post-Covid world where ‘Teams’ meetings are the norm and those that are less confident are even less likely to give their view.  It’s so important that everyone is included.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m passionate about being an ally because I strongly believe in levelling the playing field and providing an equal opportunity for everyone to grow and succeed with our business.  This will ensure we have the best talent to take our business forward, but also that we are leading the way in our industry in creating an inclusive society where people feel they belong.  In the People Department, we have worked hard to put D&I at the heart of our business, such as including an inclusive leadership module within our Leadership Development programme which is delivered by an external D&I expert to ensure all our managers understand and support inclusion and diversity.

We’ve recently launched an excellent inclusive benefits package with D&I front and centre, including things such as, flexible working, financial support around menopause & IVF and recognising different bank holidays for different cultures.

Our big focus at the moment is championing the conversation around neurodiversity in the workplace and we’re keen to encourage a sense of belonging for everyone throughout our organisation.  As the UK & Ireland People Director of a global HR services business, I am honoured to hold a privileged position that allows me to steer our organisation and influence our clients in providing an inclusive working environment for our candidates, temporary workers and employees.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Being an ally is important to me for many different reasons, ranging from my own personal experiences, to my view that we should all treat those around us in a way that we would want them to behave towards us. I felt that it was important for me to be a member of our Group D&I Committee to help shape the direction we are going in as a business.

It’s also essential that I continue to educate myself by attending our Company awareness webinars and Let’s Talk sessions.

I know that the things I do on a daily basis display to my team the good qualities of an effective ally.  My aim is to inspire those around me to also be effective allies to enable us to create a welcoming and engaging working environment in which everybody can thrive

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In Marketing, the best decisions happen when everyone is fully engaged and involved. Different ideas and points of view are absolutely key to ensuring that we deliver for our internal and external clients in the best way possible. Having worked in departments in the past where only certain voices were listened to (with quieter people or those from different backgrounds simply ignored or side-lined) I saw for myself how brilliant, promising people were never given a chance and never allowed to flourish.

That doesn’t happen in my team. I make it my business to ensure that everyone has a voice, and that everyone is included. All members of my team—no matter who they are, what they do, or what their background is—know that they are always going to be actively supported and championed to flourish in their careers, and can come to the table with ideas and be heard.