Employee Development

In pursuit 2017: The challenge of everyday inclusion

Over 250 delegates from 150 different organisations, including all of Enterprise’s business lines and subsidiaries met in London for In Pursuit 2017, a landmark in Enterprise’s diversity calendar organised by the Enterprise Women Board. The theme of this year’s event was everyday inclusion.

What does this mean?

“This theme challenges us to think about inclusion every day,” said Enterprise SVP Mike Nigro. “Not just when it’s convenient, not as a tick box exercise, but as something that’s a consideration in everything we do. It’s about the little things that deliver a big impact to those we work with.”

Sounds easy? Not so

During one of several illuminating panel sessions speakers including Diane Lightfoot (Business Disability Forum), Sandra Kerr (BITC Race Equality), Ami Taylor (LEVEL Women) and Vicky Hayden (Stonewall) shared their learnings on how to drive change:

  • Make it easy to discuss diverse requirements at every career stage.
  • Talk to experts: the new £10 note was developed in consultation with RNIB to make it easier for people with visual impairment.
  • Challenge ingrained beliefs: for example, companies in listed buildings are often told they can’t adapt them, this is not true!
  • Engage with hidden diversities – build a culture where people feel able to tell you what they need.
  • Support line managers to be champions: line managers need to have the confidence in company policies, and employees need to have the trust in managers to ensure diversity happens in practice.
  • Having a conversation is a great step forward even around areas you may find difficult or not immediately have an answer to.
  • Ensure diversity on selection panels if you want more diverse and inclusive recruitment.
  • Ensure businesses that want to procure from you have diverse/inclusive practices.
  • Encourage reverse or two way mentoring.
  • Create forums that give people the opportunity to share without blame.

Keynote speaker John Amaechi OBE, psychologist and best-selling author, focused the audience on the precise meaning of the word inclusion. “Diversity is inevitable in society while inclusion is a choice, an everyday choice,” he said.

Keynote speaker John Amaechi

Keynote speaker John Amaechi

Manager behaviour is key to encouraging peak performance. They need the Jedi-like power that his mother possessed and which had given Amaechi confidence to succeed: “We can all be Jedis. When people look at us we can reflect exactly what they need to see in order to perform at their highest level. “

Finally, he gave advice on how to handle the inner voice that speaks harshly and stops each one of us so often from including ourselves.

“When that voice speaks ask yourself, is it true? And if it is, can you pull that truth out and use it? Then ask, is it useful? Is that voice telling you something that you can use? Finally, ask is it intentionally cruel? And if the answer is yes, then reject it.”

Check out #inpursuit2017 on Twitter for more insights and comments from this year’s conference.

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