At first glance, being part of an inclusion initiative can appear to be self-serving.
After all, I want to progress, why would I not want to be part of removing barriers for women?
But the reality is that the impact of such schemes has much bigger and far-reaching benefits for an organisation.
From creating a culture of inclusion that allows everyone to be themselves, to building empathy for team leaders, to making tangible difference to a company’s policies and processes, to attracting more diverse candidates, to creating a sense of belonging, to creating feedback loops and listening opportunities for leadership, to creating understanding for managers. . . all the way to introducing whole businesses of employees to new leadership styles and perspectives.
In short, the work done by Employee Networks, ERG (Employee Resource Groups) and inclusion initiatives such as PeopleScout’s own DFT (Developing Female Talent) work stream is good for a whole organisation and is for the benefit of all.
I spoke to some of my brilliant colleagues that I work with on the DFT work stream to bring this to life through their own words.
The power of inclusion initiatives – benefits for everyone:
1. They set a standard for which the whole organisation can be held to account
“It is important for the whole business to engage in things like EDI training because by raising awareness to the existence of diversity and the importance of inclusion in the workplace, we help individuals by providing them with tools to make everyone around them feel more valued, respected and fulfilled.Ultimately EDI will not only lead to happier employees, but also better company results, because diversity leads to better ideas.”
Monica Goncalves, Senior Finance Manager + DFT member
2. When employees feel included, businesses thrive.
“At PeopleScout we want all employees to feel valued and to be ready to share their ideas and make their contribution to our strategy, solutions and delivery. Being both diverse and inclusive is essential for the business to thrive and succeed.”
Andrew Wilkinson, Executive Leader, Group Managing Director of EMEA & APAC + DFT Executive Sponsor
3. They provide a platform for role models so that they can inspire others.
“Internal role models are vital for the growth and development of PeopleScout and the people within them. Our role models live and breathe the organisation’s values and culture. They evidence how to meet business objectives within a framework of positive actions that inspire others to replicate it. They are the people we compare ourselves to and respect.Within PeopleScout there are a number of role models that I watch and learn from. They are friends, colleagues and leaders but they have one thing in common - setting a standard that I strive for and then giving me the motivation to succeed.”
Rachel Harris, EMEA Head of Marketing + DFT member
4. They increase awareness of, and normalise, different lifestyles. And in doing so, encourage people to be open about their own situation.
“Flexibility and diverse working is key for employees to feel both valued in role and empowered to work part-time hours doing so, whilst remaining equal to PeopleScout colleagues and customers. It shouldn’t be seen as a weakness. Whether as a Carer, a parent, studying outside of the workplace, or other, hearing stories of success helps others to feel supported in making lifestyle changes that will improve their work/life balance, whilst maintaining their career aspirations, motivations, and goals.”
Emma Tuson, Senior Project Lead + DFT member
5. They can help organisations better serve their customers
“Gender inclusion from a leadership perspective means that the business benefits from the different points of view and approaches that come from different life experiences.A multiplicity of perspectives minimises ‘status quo thinking’, can spark creativity and innovation - plus provide organisations with a more rounded view of client challenges and perceptions.”
Robert Peasnell, Deputy UK Managing Director + DFT Executive Sponsor
6. For managers, understanding more about the experience of different demographics helps them to lead effectively
“The difference it makes when managers are aware of the obstacles that their teams face is hugely important. Having been a member of the team that I now manage, it gives me the experience and insight into the daily challenges that the team face. Knowing this means I can prepare and resolve what inevitably comes our way. It ensures that our work and targets are realistic and beneficial to the business and to the team. It also creates a mutual respect between the manager and the employees knowing that they have each other’s backs.”
Lauren Bailey, Client Service Manager + DFT member
7. Inclusion is what unlocks the true power of diversity.
“We believe that the more diverse a team is the more innovative and impactful the results will be. However, the desire for diversity doesn’t guarantee inclusion. Without inclusion, companies leave the potential energy of diversity unused. At PeopleScout we do this through empowerment and greater access to information.”
David Walden, EMEA Head of HR
8. They connect employees in a hybrid working world and ensure everyone feels part of one business
“Diversity and Inclusion in the workplace is not something that just happens, organisations must develop and build a culture of inclusivity where diversity can flourish. The Covid 19 pandemic has changed the way many companies operate, and remote working opportunities are now more widely available.As a remote worker myself, knowing that PeopleScout has strong diversity and inclusion initiatives is extremely important to me as I want to feel both included and connected to the business and my colleagues. Initiatives such as ‘Developing Female Talent’ supports me in my remote role as I know I’ll have equal opportunities to progress and develop.”
Jennifer Scott, Recruiter + DFT Comms Lead
9. They expose whole businesses to new experiences, leadership styles, and perspectives that might not be represented elsewhere in the organisation.
“It’s vital for all staff members, regardless of gender, to hear from female leaders – not only does this normalise female leadership, it helps provide insight into different takes on topics, on different styles, on different experiences. It also helps reinforce the idea that inclusion is for everybody, and is everybody’s responsibility, the same way men and senior male leaders need to be drivers in these programmes too.”
Jess Child, Client Manager + DFT Workstream Lead for Attraction
10. They create a supportive environment in which entry level talent can thrive and feel supported.
“Creating an inclusive environment is important for entry level talent because at PeopleScout we want to create a culture where all team members feel they have a sense of belonging and have the opportunity to succeed whilst being treated equally. Our team members should have opportunities for growth and development which can be enabled by creating an environment which allows them to learn from one another, learn from experiences and backgrounds.”
Jade Stivala, Recruitment Business Partner + DFT member
11. Finally, they remind us that we can always ask more questions, and that we can always learn from each other.
“There can be no more important question to a Senior Leader than optimising talent. Whether that is the talent you want to join the business or the talent already part of it. The Developing Female Talent initiative has been a catalyst for change.It has asked questions of the business and driven a transformational programme of work. On a personal level I’ve found being an Exec Sponsor within the Group a privilege. I’ve been able to share my perspective but have learnt far more around the challenges faced by groups across our business and the boundless opportunities available if only we engaged with them, listened to their concerns and actioned their recommendations.”
Jon Porter, UK Managing Director & Head of EMEA Operational Delivery + DFT Executive Sponsor