106 Communications

6th Sense

106 Breakfast Series: mainstreaming diversity & inclusion

December 2015 | 106 Breakfast Series, Diversity

Our last 106 Breakfast Series of 2015.  Once again in the private dining room of the Wolseley.  The subject?  Making D&I mainstream in your organisation.  And it was probably one of the best discussions we have had.  A great way to end the year.

Here are some of the key themes we discussed.

The business case – each business is different and it’s not just a question of saying we need to be more diverse and inclusive.  It’s about understanding where the challenges are – be it from a recruitment or engagement perspective – and how to make it sustainable rather than a rush for targets and representation.

Education and the talent pipeline – for many technical disciplines, the talent pipeline can pose a problem.  For example, there’s just not enough women studying engineering at university.  But it’s also dependent on employers to go out and do something about it – whether working with schools or universities to actively engage people in key disciplines.  It’s not enough simply to go into high-performing schools and reel off a corporate ppt.

Inclusive workplaces – it’s one thing to build a more diverse workforce; it’s another to create an environment where they can thrive and their skills and experience can be maximised.  Another challenge for the ‘squeezed middle’ managers?  Yes, but a challenge for all of us to embrace a more inclusive way of working.

Generations – we know that Millennials will make up more than 75% of the workplace by 2025 – and we’ve got Gen Z knocking on the door too.  Are they really that different from previous generations?  Yes and no.  Perhaps not in some key values.  But they have lived through tough economic times; many do care more about the environment and the purpose of organisations; and of course, they have grown up with technology.  It’s important to see this as an opportunity rather than a challenge.  Can your new generation of talent help to (reverse) mentor and educate other generations, and provide a buzz, ideas and energy that you can harness effectively?

Flexibility in the workplace – still a problem for many organisations, albeit significant strides are being made.  One of our number talked about how flexibility was good for her, but not for many others in the team – and therefore can be resented.  Other organisations, such as law firms, have struggled to make the workplace more flexible because of client demands – or is it simply of long-held views about the workplace?

Lots of food for thought.  Most telling was a discussion around making this something that is part of the culture, rather than being a peripheral programme.  Should it simply be part of the new management way of working?

Thanks to everyone who came along on 8th December and to everyone else who came to one of our events throughout the year.  We are already planning more for next year.  Please do let Henry know if you’d like to come along.

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