Blog Archive

ByJoanne Lockwood

Driving the message that inclusion is a cold-nosed business priority

Neil, the CEO of the REC, talks about his belief that responsible and conscious capitalism can be inclusive and be able to realise the benefits to their business

Inclusion is more than a buzz word in 2021, it is a critical business priority. The main message Neil shares with the Business leaders he works with is ‘don’t leave it to your HR Director’. Inclusion needs to be companywide and often a fundamental shift to ensure that employees feel comfortable within the environment you have created and can therefore perform to the best of their ability.

 
Published Published: 08.04.2021 Recorded Recorded: 19.03.2021 Episode Length Duration: 1:04:07 Downloads Downloads: 2233
 

Neil is a proud capitalist and feels priorities around inclusion and diversity can be associated with the political left. Businesses need to understand that they work hand in hand with society, they are not separate and instead are given a license to operate by the society in which they exist. They should reflect and serve the society in which they operate. Their customer base and potential employee base is more diverse than ever, and people perform at work when they are able to be their authentic selves. Neil believes, post-lockdown we will see the concept of responsible capitalism become more pronounced, allowing businesses to state their purpose more clearly and why their success is beneficial to not only their shareholders, but also the wider community. Businesses need to think long term how to stay competitive and this includes aligning what their employees want to achieve with what the business wants to achieve, and unless they can manage this, Neil predicts they will become progressively less relevant.

Our understanding of leadership within businesses is changing, welcoming a more authentic approach where leaders act with more humanity, actively using their influence to challenge any negative aspects of company culture and work towards making the problem go away. Neil believes the real art for leaders is to make the link to corporate reputation, understanding that by allowing people to bring their whole selves to work no one loses. Often this is missed, using flexible working as an example, which was originally brought in for working mothers, but was quickly realised that that level of inclusion benefit everyone and potentially allows a new route to open up disability employment. People planning needs to factor into business planning, and not human capital.  If recruitment is done well it opens up a huge amount of productivity upsides each year.

Post Lockdown different groups of the workforce will have varying priorities; with some keen to get back to the office whilst others will continue to prefer working from home. This poses a real challenge for businesses as they need to balance the two and engage both. This will make it harder, especially for bigger firms to ensure employees have a consistency of experience. The pandemic has made leaders more aware of employee’s home lives and mental health and we need to find a way to integrate this when the return to work begins. Neil says that if businesses are interested in driving a more inclusive economy now is a good time as the canvas is blank. We need to actively promote a society that works for everyone.

Quite often the experience required for a role is just ensuring that businesses are getting ‘more of the same’ and missing out on groups of people who have not had access to the same capital as others. We should look at a person’s lived experiences and what they would be able to bring to the role. Recruiters have a big role part to play in this and need to start having more in-depth discussions with their clients; finding out what they really want from their ideal candidate and ensuring they have effective diversity and inclusion within their processes. This is something they will have to get better at as an industry, changing the ‘pond’ they use to search for candidates and instead following the phrase ‘for hard-to-reach people, reach harder.’ Similarly, companies need to take the time for long term succession planning, starting the recruitment process early to stop decisions being made purely based on time pressures. All of this requires leaders willing to change the rules that went before.


Please connect with our hosts and guests, why not make contact..?


Brought to you by your host
Joanne Lockwood Joanne Lockwood
SEE Change Happen

A huge thank you to our wonderful guest
Neil Carberry Neil Carberry
The Recruitment & Employment Confederation
ByJoanne Lockwood

None of us are included fully in the world until all of us are!

Stacy is a parent, actor, feminist and member of the Women's Equality Party who is passionate about intersectional feminism

Until we are free of the discrimination that comes from not looking like or being like someone else then none of us are safe and none of us are really free. The same is true for inclusion, if the world that you are in does not include everyone then it isn’t the full world, it’s a bit of the world that isn’t fully representative or a safe, happy and fair environment for everyone.

 
Published Published: 25.03.2021 Recorded Recorded: 17.03.2021 Episode Length Duration: 1:01:58 Downloads Downloads: 1168
 

Stacy is aware she has an intolerance of the intolerant and struggles to understand the opposing point of view on inclusion. To her, as well as it being the right thing to do to from a self-interest point of view, she feels it is more interesting, easier and for businesses more successful to have a diverse workforce.

Freedom of speech is protected by law up to the point where it veers into hate speech, although these checks are not perfect as neither misogyny or catcalling are currently classed as a hate crime. Freedom of speech is not about bullying, hounding people or being blatantly biased, which is a huge problem within our media and those feeding off this make up part of the problem. This bias can be seen in the way women are portrayed and the stories that make headlines; with Sarah Everard an attractive white female making the news but not black females who had disappeared around the same time. It needs to become socially unacceptable that women are vilified and often blamed for unsolicited advances and sexual assaults. We are still basing a woman’s value purely on looks and the attention they receive and the cumulative impact of being demeaned, belittled, and judged impacts on pay, work life and mental/physical health.

Many of us when challenged on our privilege try to defend ourselves but forget how fortunate we were to be born with it, having had opportunity from birth. It can be uncomfortable to realise the things you have benefited from over the years and can be hard to break down as no one is saying you didn’t work hard for them, but instead that doors others may have struggled through, would have opened immediately for you. Stacy says provided you are committed to breaking down those barriers that made others’ lives so much harder than your own, then no one is accusing you of anything and you do not need to feel defensive. Often the difference of privilege can be down to networking, learning about opportunities via the people you know, whereas others would not have known these opportunities existed, let along where to find them – something that keeps the divide constantly active.

Many people have a belief in a meritocracy and that they are the ones that did the best within it, so it can be really painful for them to be told the world they think they live in does not exist. Stacy uses UK politics as an example, asking ‘are the best people in our government and ruling the country always middle aged, wealthy white males? The voices we hear, representations in our politics are overwhelmingly the same voice and same class we have always heard.   Breaking the meritocracy undermines the society we thought we lived in and some people’s self-worth, which can be tied up in a feeling of nationalism. Our biases become almost self-fulfilling, with societies conditioning affecting us all and requiring a lot of unpicking as this starts from childhood often with stereotypical boys’ and girls’ toys/colours.


Please connect with our hosts and guests, why not make contact..?


Brought to you by your host
Joanne Lockwood Joanne Lockwood
SEE Change Happen

A huge thank you to our wonderful guest
Stacy Hart Stacy Hart
Women's Equality Party
ByJoanne Lockwood

Standing in the middle and feeling excluded

Tom is the youngest of 4 boys and always struggled to find a role for himself within the family dynamic.

Tom was naturally artistic, something that was encouraged by his mother and led to him becoming a vocal harmony facilitator. He had chosen this career path, in part due to a belief that this would finally see him be part of a group and feel included – standing in the middle of the circle with everyone looking at him. But it was during this time he realised that he could not engineer being in a group, this would naturally happen and only by being his authentic self.

 
Published Published: 18.03.2021 Recorded Recorded: 04.03.2021 Episode Length Duration: 00:00 Downloads Downloads: 557
 

Tom identifies as a rebel, a term he associates as a person who is trying to move away from the mediocracy of life. It was only when he went to Leeds college that he met a cohort he could fully associate with and had his creativity encouraged. He has suffered 3 nervous breakdowns, 10 years apart and it was after hitting the bottom and being able to come back he realised that it was harmony and the groove in music that saved him. They became his main purpose with everything else background noise. One of Tom’s concerns for artists now is with the closures of science and art projects due to Brexit and COVID, they will lose local facilities and potential support networks and the chance to create their own ‘gangs’.

He started life wanting everyone to love him, but realised this is a fool’s game, which is unwinnable. Advertising will suggest that buying a product or into a brand makes this dream possible and can be exhausting to try. We often get stuck in a deadlock feeling that we have to include everyone, but we need to recognise that not everyone can be included, and as long as you are fair, giving people equal opportunities there is not much else you can do. It is completely fair for a brand to cater to a certain type of person and state that it is not suitable for others, similarly an artist will not appeal to everyone, which is where authenticity plays a role. Western culture is based on deliberate exclusion so that we feel the need to buy products, divide and rule. Being a rebel, in Tom’s view is to try and move away from the manipulation, to say no and create your own group. Although he does believe that every rebel can become commercialised eventually.

COVID changed the way that Tom ran his music sessions as without being able to physically be together it was impossible to get everyone harmonised and in tune. This meant that he started playing music, drums to people and allowing them to connect with the music, play along and dance, creating a safe space where everyone can be out of time together. He finds this very exciting to facilitate and it is a model that can be transmitted universally. Tom notices there is quite a bit of anxiety around the easing of lockdown as we emerge into a world where everything is different but also the same. He is working on exercises people can do when back in the office, concentrating on reintegration back into the workplace. He questions how long will we feel cautious for; we have got used to having personal space around us when out, how long will it take for us to shake this off? Tom’s tip for when we return to work is to create a circle, which emulates zoom meetings where there is no hierarchy and share authentically how you are feeling, creates support and trust for the group. We should use this an opportunity for change. Need to continue to value what everyone brings to the table, valuing different attributes and skills and allowing people to be their authentic selves, without worrying about gender biases.

Tom says we should not rush back into old habits when we have built such a great community during lockdown. He has found during his sessions they have become inclusive events, with the whole family getting involved and people letting go of their inhibitions as they are in the safety of their home.


Please connect with our hosts and guests, why not make contact..?


Brought to you by your host
Joanne Lockwood Joanne Lockwood
SEE Change Happen

A huge thank you to our wonderful guest
Tom Morley Tom Morley
Instant Teamwork
ByJoanne Lockwood

Will Diversity and Inclusion “Just Happen”?

We are drawn to people that are like us, it is human conditioning and causes an ‘other group’. As William says, it is about difference not about being better or worse.

There has been a lot of legislation to ensure that we are treating everyone as equals, but this has made some people believe D&I has happened, or that we don’t need to do any more. If we take that stance, to let things run as they are, change will still happen but too slowly.

 
Published Published: 11.03.2021 Recorded Recorded: 01.03.2021 Episode Length Duration: 0:58:44 Downloads Downloads: 621
 

William believes, as a white male he has had an unfair advantage all his life, something he says he was not always aware of, because it is invisible. He has seen others struggle to overcome the disadvantages the world has thrown at them and realised that he would not necessarily have faced the same obstacles. He believes those with a position of privilege need to consciously act and step away from it to level the playing field. He argues that legislation intended to level the playing field has merely disadvantaged traditionally privileged groups, rather than address the route cause of the imbalance, causing a perpetuating cycle of discrimination and resistance to change.

We are drawn to people that are like us, it is human conditioning and naturally causes an ‘other group’. However, this is about difference not about being better or worse, although it is often interpreted as that. When asked for recommendations on speakers, William realised that he would only suggest people he knew and could vouch for, and at that time these would all be predominantly white males. Noticing this he made the conscious effort to extend his circle and become professionally acquainted with people from a wider variety of backgrounds. William says instead of concentrating on our differences we should be celebrating them and what they can teach out, he wants everyone to look at where they may have an unintentional bias or a less inclusive group and what they can do about it, because that is how change will happen.

Lockdown has allowed for more exclusivity, something that William has noticed especially with networking events. The move online has opened these events up to a wider audience who may have not been able to attend physical events due to childcare, mobility issues etc. People are just people, and everyone can bring value, irrelevant of their history or background and we need to break down the fear of ‘other’, and of anyone not like us. Fear is not based on anything systemic; we just need to build familiarity and trust and the lockdown medium of technology has really helped with this. William hopes this continues when we move back to a more open society, can we continue to be as inclusive?

We have equal pay legislation for men and women and have had it for a long time but there is still an imbalance. We need to start looking at these problems from a different viewpoint. Rather than try to fix the world as it is, what world do we want to build for tomorrow? Within workplaces a hiring managers unconscious biases will see them favour a certain type of employee. Similarly, with roles requiring a certain amount of experience, which increases with the seniority of the position. If to become a Board member at a firm requires 10/15+ years’ experience you need to have been able to get into a senior position that many years ago, at a time where these roles were predominantly filled with white males, making them the only candidates likely to meet the experience requirements. In this way we are perpetuating the problem without realising it. What does this requirement for hiring mean we will get from the available candidate pool? What are we trying to achieve by asking for this and can people have the right skillset with less experience? People need to be able to see how much more they can achieve with an inclusive and diverse workforce or customer base. William believes people often do not know where to start. It is a big undertaking, especially within organisations as it needs a whole office attitude change, investment in training and development and even a look at the infrastructure, so you have to be fully invested in the outcome.


Please connect with our hosts and guests, why not make contact..?


Brought to you by your host
Joanne Lockwood Joanne Lockwood
SEE Change Happen

A huge thank you to our wonderful guest
William Buist William Buist
ByJoanne Lockwood

Personal is Political and How Silence Speaks

Laura read "Women’s Room" when aged 7. Re-reading the story aged 17, she realised her own experiences, especially around inclusion, is what politics is about.

Politics in a social sense is distribution of services, who gets what, who counts, whose experience is promoted and whose is vilified. Our own personal experiences are a political point and are what count, what happens to us is a reflection of how and where we live. The statement ‘Personal is political’ comes from a book that Laura first read when she was 7, called Women’s Room. Re-reading the story aged 17, she realised her own experiences, especially around inclusion, feeling left out and not being given an equal chance are what politics are about.

 
Published Published: 04.03.2021 Recorded Recorded: 10.02.2021 Episode Length Duration: 1:00:59 Downloads Downloads: 582
 

Politics in a social sense is distribution of services, who gets what, who counts, whose experience is promoted and whose is vilified. Our own personal experiences are a political point and are what count, what happens to us is a reflection of how and where we live.

Laura states that we are the experts on our own lives, other people can comment and even influence, but only we are the experts. Our lived experiences, perceptions and those closest to us, all impact our views, which is why eyewitness reports are always slightly different. We all have our own reactions even to the same experience, thus generating varying outcomes. Tied into this we also often have group beliefs rather than individualistic, which can reinforce our biases and perspectives.

When you visibly occupy a minority position, people often assume that every conversation relating to this needs to be something you are part of. Laura says, for her the challenge comes when she may not be personally offended but she knows the topic is offensive, who has the right of responsibility to raise if a topic is politically offensive? People often feel the need to be a role model for whatever characteristics they represent, which can be exhausting and comes with a huge sense of responsibility. It means they often need to have disruptive and challenging conversations and this forms part of the political balance, as is something they must learn to live with. Laura says we need to change the balance, so instead of just focusing on the minority group, we look at the general population and living/working with inclusion and diversity issues every day. We want to help everyone to be their whole selves. Often diversity and inclusion topics cause people to feel uncomfortable or concerned as they do not want to get something wrong. As part of a minority group Laura says she respects people’s curiosity, it means they are comfortable enough to ask questions. She says there is no shame in not knowing the answer, only shame is not asking the question with the right intent or waiting and listening to the answer. The way we communicate helps people understand our intent.

Many workplaces have Diversity and Inclusion on their agenda, but to be implemented it has to have a business benefit. Often people are recruited to tick a D&I box, but if systems are not in place to support this individual within their role then it will never be successful. Similarly, employees get tired of engaging with work that does them no good. We want to know the outcome and that our contributions are valued.

Laura has recently started to write poetry, something she originally did purely for relaxation purposes and is in the process of turning this into a book. She says poetry has always been her inner story, our experiences and stories of self are all silent stories until we decide to share them. We act as our own protectors and chose which stories to share and how edited we make the versions. There is power in these untold stories and in the silence. We live in such a fast past world; we need to allow ourselves time to listen to the stories that are already there within our space.


Please connect with our hosts and guests, why not make contact..?


Brought to you by your host
Joanne Lockwood Joanne Lockwood
SEE Change Happen

A huge thank you to our wonderful guest
Professor Laura Serrant OBE Professor Laura Serrant OBE
ByJoanne Lockwood

Giving Yourself a Gold Star

Pam helps organisations by providing them with stress management techniques and works with their teams to help them build their own coping toolkits.

At the end of ‘live’ Conferences, Pam gives each attendee a gold star, as a reminder that they are a star – someone truly amazing, with the ‘r’ standing for, yes really. These sessions are designed to help people realise what they bring to the world, to identify and stop denying it, to celebrate it.

 
Published Published: 25.02.2021 Recorded Recorded: 07.01.2021 Episode Length Duration: 1:06:20 Downloads Downloads: 619
 

Research shows positive thinking and recognising our own strengths plays a huge part in our ability to thrive. We tend to focus on the negatives and get fixated on these. Using visual props or relating content to people’s emotions helps them remember positive changes they wish to make and stick with them. Even now with online Conferences, Pam gets her clients join in the sessions, take part in breathing exercises as once they see the positive impact of this, they are more likely to carry it on.

Before Pam begins working with organisations, she works closely with the management teams to ensure they have policies and strategies in place to make sure each employee can bring their whole self to work. Without this structure being in place at an organisation, her stress reduction sessions will only be teaching people how to tolerate an unsafe situation.

Pam has a book that outlines the 33 red flags that you are heading for burnout and what to do about it. One of the warning signs is constantly saying, ‘I’m fine’, especially if your loved ones are questioning you on this, and you are responding negatively to their concern. People who finally succumb are not weak people, they are people that have been too strong for too long. If you are checking in with someone, the question needs to be ‘how are you really?’ and organisations need a culture of trust for people to be secure enough to answer this honestly, and strategies to deal with whatever the answer may be. Often stress is unconscious, we are not aware of it, and this has been made more so during the current pandemic, so it is about understanding the warning signs and making sure we focus on what we need to stay healthy. Currently we are all coping with the same ‘thing’, even though we are experiencing it differently – so people are finding it easier to talk and be honest about how they are feeling.

The background hum of stress is triggered when we are on medium alert all of the time. It keeps us switched on constantly and stops us switching off to let our body do its maintenance. Pam has a ‘care model’, the a in care being acknowledge. If we try to acknowledge the positives in the day, however small the wins may be and write these down we are able to fall asleep easier, sleep better and wake more refreshened. Without this acknowledgement we can get stuck on things we can’t control and become stressed, often no longer paying attention to the things we can control. Pam advises to not underestimate the small things and the big difference they can have to your stress levels, often shifting the mood and your state, she asks you to look at your life through the eyes of someone who would love to have what you have, not about recognising your privilege and feeling bad about it. It is about learning to appreciate what you have.

Workplaces need to be proactive, letting colleagues know that they are not expected to perform at 100% during lockdown, whilst trying to home school, support family etc. They need to be aware that home responsibilities may be disproportionate for some people. For many people not being present in the office sparks concerns they may be made redundant or placed on furlough. With this concern many employees try to over perform, to show themselves as invaluable. The problem with functioning under this constant state of adrenaline and stress, is that it is addictive, so when you do stop it feels unnatural and makes you feel guilty, that you should always be busy. Pam advises introducing a structure to your day, habits for the morning and evening before and after work to allow you to switch off. We should try to set realistic targets for the day and celebrate achieving them, rather than trying to achieve too much and feeling a sense of failure.


Please connect with our hosts and guests, why not make contact..?


Brought to you by your host
Joanne Lockwood Joanne Lockwood
SEE Change Happen

A huge thank you to our wonderful guest
Pam Burrows Pam Burrows
People Booster