Vicky Garratt, Marketing and Communications Manager
In celebration of an incredible year for diversity and inclusion within business, we are keen to shine the spotlight on how the membership sector is fairing, both in terms of creating more diversification in the workplace as well as how to acquire a more diverse member population.
We spoke to Becky Brooks, UK Membership’s Director for the Employers Network for Equality and Inclusion (enei).
In your own words, what does diversity and inclusion mean to you?
“It’s about making sure that those that are viewed as different in society for whatever reason that might be, are treated equal in the workplace. It’s about making sure people are treated from an equal perspective, ensuring we have diverse works forces but more importantly that we include those people. Inclusion is the main part of it!”
What are some of the stand out experiences you had during your HR career that stood out to you in terms of employees not being included or treated equally in the workplace?
“Where would I start. I’ve worked in so many sectors so there’s literally hundreds of examples I could draw upon. Some of the most shocking ones I could mention include:
An employee who was suffering with mental health issues, was locked in a room after they had threatened to attempt suicide. The managers didn’t want them to do it and couldn’t think of another way to prevent it. There was another incident where a lady who suffered with anorexia was made to eat lunch in front of her superiors to prove that she wasn’t anorexic. And another incident I witnessed was when one of the best performing employees within an organisation was fired because the manager couldn’t understand the person’s accent!”
What would you say are the most notable improvements within diversity and inclusion in business, from when you started your career in HR 30 years ago, compared to how things are today in 2019?
“People never used to talk about it at all and they do now. It wasn’t even recognised as a thing and it was acceptable to behave that way. Whereas now we have the Equality Act 2010. Now organisations are starting to realise that, diversification gives them a real competitive advantage”.
Having a diverse workforce is great and stats show that these organisations tend to outperform businesses with less diversification. But to bolster performance even more an inclusive culture is what really drive’s results. Workplace Innovator at Accenture Boudewijn Hamersma sums this up perfectly and says: Inclusion and diversity are fundamental to our culture and core values, fostering an innovative, collaborative and high-energy work environment. We recognize that each person has unique strengths. And by embracing those strengths, we all deliver high performance—together.
For membership organisations, the third layer to the diversity and inclusion cake is about diversification within membership population. In our next article, we discuss how to implement a digital marketing and analytics strategy that will enable membership associations to start acquiring, retaining and engaging with a more diverse range of members.
Your Favourite Story are a strategic analytics consultancy and have worked with some of the world’s biggest brands. They help companies find value and growth opportunities from their data, analysing and optimising key customer journeys both on-site and off-site through campaigns.