Cnect Wales has been driving the Diversity & Inclusion Agenda for its members for the last 5/6 years, running quarterly round table discussion meetings to ensure best practice is shared between its members and that the bar is constantly being raised.
The WCCF is passionate about the Industry offering opportunities to all segments of the population in addition to encouraging progression whether its Gender, Race, Religion or Sexuality.
In the most recent round table meeting, the focus was on LBGTQ+. Sandra Busby, Managing Director of the WCCF spoke to Adam Case, who has been overseeing the recruitment of the European Funded Graduate Programme.
Adam spoke about what Pride meant to him and shared his thoughts on whether he thought workplace attitudes had changed over the years.
Why is National Pride Month important to you on a personal level?
I see Pride month as both a time for reflection and celebration. It’s a great opportunity to see how far we’ve come as a community, thinking back to the Stonewall riots in the sixties when people would be arrested simply for being gay and people within the community didn’t have any rights.
In the UK we’ve made great progress around equal rights for example around marriage and adoption and so it’s good to reflect on this and to remind the younger generations what it’s taken to get to this point. Pride Month provides an opportunity to start these conversations and educate people whether that’s in the workplace, social groups, families or in the media.
I also think it’s a good reason to get the community and it’s allies together and celebrate in whatever way they see fit.
Why do you believe Inclusion is important for businesses?
It’s been proven that diverse teams are more successful for a number of reasons. They’re more well-rounded so can connect better with customers, they are more creative because ideas are generated from different perspectives and they’re more knowledgeable because there is a more diverse group of voices at the table.
When people feel included, they’re more likely to perform better and so the business gets results and the employees have more job satisfaction. Being an inclusive employer is also a great way to attract the top talent.
Do you think businesses are doing enough to encourage Inclusivity?
From an LGBTQ+ perspective, I think businesses need to be careful not to be seen to only promote their allyship during pride month. it’s all well and good changing their social media banner to the pride month and donating something to a charity but what are they doing for the rest of the year?
For me, inclusion and diversity are a transient thing, it should be a constant issue that businesses are looking at ways to build and improve on and should address all minority groups whether that’s religion, sexuality, race, mental health challenges or even being a new mum.
It’s also interesting when you look at the stats, because there is still huge under representation of LGBTQ+, women, Black, Asian and minority ethnic people in senior roles. Representation needs to come from the top so why aren’t’ these people being promoted?
What can and should businesses be doing?
I think all businesses should have active diversity and inclusion teams whose responsibility is to open dialogue among the workforce and make continuous improvement.
Social media sometimes has a negative impact on these topics because people (including senior figures and business accounts) are so afraid of facing backlash for saying the wrong thing that they avoid the topics all together. I’d much rather someone asked me how they should broach a subject and show that they’re willing to learn, than it continue to be taboo.
All employees should feel confident, comfortable and safe in the workplace to be able to be themselves and they should know who they can reach out to within an organisation if they’re struggling.
If employees feel they can be themselves, they’re more likely to thrive in their role and everyone benefits.
How have your celebrated Pride during Covid?
Most of the larger organised event have been cancelled but I’ve still been able to celebrate in my own way. Lots of my friends within the community send each other messages of love, positivity and really build each other up.
I have friends in the community who are spread across the UK, so we try and meet up for a meal or drinks and just get together.
I think it’s important to remember that diversity and inclusion is more than just about Pride Month but if that helps to inform and educate people on a single topic then it’s a positive thing.
Thanks to Adam for sharing such a personal perspective on what Diversity and Inclusion means to him. Lots of useful takeaways for the WCCF members who were involved in the session.