She hopefully won’t mind me saying this but I took my initial learning and inspiration for focusing on diversity and inclusivity throughout my resourcing career from the most amazing Group Head of Diversity, Theresa White of G4S.
Diversity was an automatic element of everything that G4S did whilst I was there, and I remember clearly a leadership diversity focused meeting at Group where Theresa made us all feel comfortable to say whatever came into our heads, as there was some apprehension from us newbies to the subject surrounding inadvertently saying the wrong thing during conversation.
To open our minds to the full diversity experience Theresa instilled in us the notion that ‘Diversity is not a gender agenda’ and that all difference was good and should be celebrated and incorporated at all times.
I was reminded of this during a Facebook conversation this week with some industry chums as I played back an experience I had when I was on an external panel discussion and afterwards someone quipped that the panel wasn’t very diverse.
Yes on the face of things there were three white blokes, who even with the best makeup artist couldn’t look young again, so we fitted the stereotypical pale, stale, male group, however, one was in his seventies, another was gay and I have a mental illness, OCD.
So in reality it was a very diverse panel, but aesthetically, you could understand why we were called out as being the opposite.
A question bounced around my head whilst mowing the lawns this morning and I just had to write it down. So just how diverse are our workforces?
Do we really know what diverse groups our employees enjoy belonging to? Some are quite naturally easy to recognise, but the more private and sensitive, e.g. mental ill health, where many don’t want to disclose, could account for so many more belonging to a diverse group and therefore enriching the real percentage scoring of diversity across the organisation.
And back to the pale, stale, male stereotype. Has anyone else thought that as more and more are comfortable discussing their diverse group membership, especially people with mental ill health (yes I do think this is a diverse group), are people that fall into this category and absolutely no other, ultimately going to fall into a future minority and diverse group that will need to be surrounded by a support and campaign environment, where members are championed for the difference they can still bring to our ultra-diverse world?
Happy Bank Holiday (UK) everyone, and do get in touch if I can support with any of your diverse hiring, or mental health initiatives.