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Seeking Inclusion #IWD2023

International Women’s Day is taking place on 8th March. On the build to the event, we have taken the idea of #EmbracingEquality and split it into various topics. So far we have discussed: challenging stereotypes, calling out discrimination, and drawing attention to bias. In our fourth and final blog of the series, we will review the topic of ‘seeking inclusion’.

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) define inclusion as ‘the practice of including people in a way that is fair for all, values everyone’s differences, and empowers and enables each person to be themselves and achieve their full potential and thrive at work’ (CIPD, 2022). The CIPD also noted in their ‘Building inclusive workplaces: assessing the evidence’ report that: ‘At an individual level, workplace inclusion relates to feelings of belonging, having a voice and being valued for your unique and authentic individual skills and abilities’ (CIPD, 2019).

As a nation, the demographics of the United Kingdom are relatively diverse. Research conducted by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) found that according to the 2021 Census:

  • the total population of England and Wales was 59.6 million, and 81.7% of the population was white.
  • people from Asian ethnic groups made up the second largest percentage of the population (9.3%), followed by black (4.0%), mixed (2.9%) and other (2.1%) ethnic groups. 
  • 21% of the overall population of England and Wales was aged under 18 years, 29% was aged 18 to 39 years, 27% was aged 40 to 59 years, and 22% was aged 60 years and over
  • women and girls made up 51% of the population of England and Wales, and men and boys made up 49%
  • less than half of the population (46.2%, 27.5 million people) described themselves as “Christian,” “No religion” was the second most common response
  • there were increases in the number of people who described themselves as “Muslim” (3.9 million) and “Hindu” (1.0 million).

(Office of National Statistics, 2022).

The statistics presented above by the ONS provide a limited overview of the demographics of the nation; however, the data suggests that the UK is diverse and thus employers should be keen to provide an inclusive workplace for all members of society.

What can employers do to seek inclusion in the workplace?

Promote diversity: Employers can promote diversity by actively recruiting, within the confines of the Equality Act, and supporting employees from a range of backgrounds, cultures, genders, ages, and abilities. This can create a more diverse workforce and bring a variety of perspectives to the workplace. Posting vacancies in various locations can be helpful with this matter.

Establish inclusive policies and practices: Employers can establish inclusive policies and practices that support diversity and inclusion, such as flexible working arrangements, parental leave, and mentoring and coaching programs. Genuinely supporting all employees will create that sense of belonging required by staff. 

Provide training and education: Employers can provide training and education to employees on diversity and inclusion, unconscious bias, and appropriate workplace behaviour. This can help to raise awareness, challenge stereotypes, and create a more inclusive culture.

Foster a culture of respect and inclusivity: Employers can foster a culture of respect and inclusivity by encouraging open communication, actively listening to employee feedback, and recognising and celebrating differences.

Remove barriers to inclusion: Employers can remove barriers to inclusion by ensuring that the workplace is accessible to all employees.

Encourage employee engagement and participation: Employers can encourage employee engagement and participation by involving employees in decision-making, seeking feedback on policies and practices, and recognising and rewarding contributions.

By taking these steps, employers can create an inclusive workplace that values and respects all employees, regardless of their background, culture, gender, age, or ability, which can lead to a more productive, engaged, and satisfied workforce.

In this four part series we have examined how employers and businesses can #EmbraceEquailty by challenging stereotypes, calling out discrimination, drawing attention to bias and seeking inclusion. Throughout the series one of the main ways of championing equality, diversity and inclusion is through training and education. ViewHR would be happy to help train managers and/or employees on this topic – please get in touch if you would like to know more information.