Blog, news & updates

Pursuing a more diverse & inclusive workplace: An ongoing journey

A stitched rainbow coloured circle for equality, diversity and inclusion

June is internationally known as Pride month. Across the globe there are many events to recognise the LGBTQ+ community, including parades and festivals. This year many events have gone online as a result of the pandemic, and some have been scheduled for later in the year. However, it still provides the opportunity to promote open discussions surrounding equal treatment, raising awareness and celebrating the LGBTQ+ community.

The 28th June marks Pride Day, which commemorates the Stonewall riots. These protests were the catalyst which helped change gay rights for those in America and further afield as many gay rights movements formed to fight for equality. 

While pride month is only an annual occurrence, it is important for workplaces to demonstrate their support to LGBTQ+ employees all year round. Awareness days are a good start, but companies should use them as a platform to begin conversations, as part of an ongoing journey.

Concerning statistics

Research conducted by Stonewall, a charity supporting LGBTQ+ rights, found that over the course of a year almost one in five employees received negative comments or conduct from work colleagues simply because they’re part of the LGBTQ+ community. And one in ten Asian and minority ethnic LGBTQ+ employees have been physically attacked by customers or colleagues. 

The Human Rights Campaign Foundation found that 46% of LGBTQ+ workers say they are closeted at work. The reasons for not coming out may include, fear of discrimination and bullying, lack of job opportunities or negative reactions. For LGBTQ+ employees, having to keep their true selves from their colleagues, or have any discriminatory behaviour towards them be too easily dismissed, is an incredibly stressful and draining situation to be in.

LGBTQ+ workers need to feel accepted but these statistics show there is still some way to go. Workplace bullying should not be tolerated, and organisations need to send clear messages that bullying and discrimination is not okay. Part of having a diverse workforce is creating a workplace where everyone can feel comfortable turning up as their true self. 

Overall, there is still a huge lack of diversity in the workplace, whether it's a racial or gender imbalance, lack of opportunities for disabled people or those who are not neurotypical, for example. Our infographic in our recent blog highlights this. 

Slow progress

We all have the right to equal treatment, irrespective of our backgrounds and individual differences. Unfortunately, even though some progress has been made towards celebrating diversity, the stark reality is that there is still a long way to go. We know that discriminatory behaviour in the workplace is unlawful, but the Equality Act doesn’t fully break down the barriers to workplace equality. However, society is becoming more aware and accepting of differences and many organisations are recognising the importance of a diverse workforce. But to make a real difference, businesses need to consciously focus on how they can become a more inclusive workplace.

The importance of raising awareness

Once an organisation is committed to raising awareness of diversity, and chooses to take a step back and honestly look at where they are at, only then can they start their journey to pursue a more diverse and inclusive workplace.

A good place to start is surrounding the education of employees. This can be done through organising seminars, guest speakers, training courses and encouraging employees to share stories and experiences. It’s really important to remember that awareness needs to be ongoing. 

Providing training to every employee can help build a more accepting and open workplace culture. We have several online courses which provide employers the opportunity to introduce their workforce to these important areas, which include:

Employers can also download our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion guide for more information about equality and diversity in the workplace, as well as its benefits.

Whilst commitment to Equality, Diversity and Inclusion needs to come from the top down, it is vitally important to take your employees on this journey too, which is why raising awareness is a necessary stage of the process.

If you are further interested in why equality, diversity and inclusion is important in the workplace, read our article which featured on the BBP website here.

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at iHASCO

After launching our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion training course last month, it gave the team at iHASCO a lot to think about. At present, we cannot claim to be a fully diverse company, but recognising that we want to be more inclusive is a positive step in the right direction. We have started our journey and are dedicated to making improvements. Here’s what some of the management team had to say about Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at iHASCO.

We want everyone to turn up to work as their true self and feel comfortable and valued as an individual. We wouldn’t be where we are today without the great group of individuals that make up iHASCO and we believe we have a culture that not only accepts individual differences but celebrates them. We also recognise that striving to improve diversity is a continuous journey, and why as a management team we are currently looking at ways to be more inclusive from our recruitment processes, to our course production reviews.

Alex Morris, Director at iHASCO

There’s so much more to be done when it comes to creating a truly diverse workplace for many organisations, and due to its sensitive nature many companies can shy away from addressing it. Companies that are open and transparent will help others start the conversation around diversity and inclusion - so I am incredibly passionate about making progress here at iHASCO. For me it’s about starting to make some small changes and getting feedback from our employees to see how we can build on these changes and further improve. We have an incredible open culture and treat each other as family, which is a great start for building and accepting a more diverse team.

Chloe Holland, HR Manager at iHASCO