Diversity & Inclusion

#inpursuit: Everyday Inspiration

Aimed at inspiring organisations to champion diversity and inclusion among their stakeholder communities, Enterprise Rent-A-Car’s fourth In Pursuit of Everyday Inclusion event attracted more than 250 delegates from 160 businesses, all eager to listen, learn and share best practice.

Any “At Enterprise, we believe in providing a work environment where employees feel valued and free to be themselves,” said Mike Nigro, SVP European Operations, Enterprise Holdings. “The very notion of diversity and inclusion forms part of our cultural compass, and we pride ourselves on championing and promoting our values at every level throughout the organisation.”

This year, the event focused on “Equal Lives”, an indepth research programme conducted by Business in the Community (BITC).

BITC’s Gender Equality Director, Chloe Chambraud, explained that the research reveals the disparity in the role women and men play in caregiving and showed that men are looking for change and want to do more. Organisations that enable men to play a more active caregiving role will unlock greater engagement and loyalty and create more fulfilled and productive employees.

BITC Diversity Advisor, Hayley Bennett, presided over an interactive discussion that enabled delegates to reflect on how their organisation supports carers and parents.

Throughout the day business leaders shared their learnings on how to drive change, especially during a panel led by delegates from Shell UK, Aviva and Santander UK.

Short, powerful talks explored many aspects of workplace diversity and inclusion. Speakers included Theresa Farrenson (Aon – Link network), Debbie Cannon (Action 365) and Diane Lightfoot (Business Disability Forum).

During one session, MPs Jo Swinson and Dawn Butler were joined by London Assembly member Andrew Boff to power a discussion on the vital role that the government plays in creating an inclusive society. It emphasised how businesses can work more effectively with government to navigate change.

Jo Swinson urged businesses to “embrace the benefits of flexible working” and “to remember that shared parental leave is not optional.” She said, “In the same way that an employer cannot refuse maternity leave to a pregnant woman, you cannot refuse to let a new dad take an extended period of leave in his child’s first year.”

Comedian and pioneer of the comedy podcast “The Guilty Feminist”, Deborah Frances-White, explained that the real question business leaders need to ask is whether they have created a space that enables genuine inclusion.

The real question business leaders need to ask is whether they have created a space that enables genuine inclusion.

“Ask yourself, who makes you feel like you belong? When and where do people make you feel like you belong? How do people make you feel that you belong? That doesn’t mean that you do exactly those things, as some people wouldn’t like what you like. You will need to start observing who is feeling comfortable in your presence and how you may need to adjust for others.”

In Pursuit of Everyday Inclusion was developed and organised by the Enterprising Women Network at EU99.

The Enterprising Women Network supports, develops and empowers current and future female leaders at Enterprise and beyond through a range of initiatives, events and programmes. It acts as a conduit for promoting diversity and inclusion among all the people and organisations that interact with Enterprise every day, including the supply chain, business partners and customers.

Watch the video from the event at http://indigoblueproductions.vzaar.me/20669255.

by Ayshee Akhtar

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