Top diversity & inclusion tips from our members

BITCI News - Jul 12, 2021

At the recent launch of Elevate, our new Inclusive Workplace Pledge we asked business some key questions:

  • Are our workplaces reflective of wider society?
  • What are the main challenges facing people in the workplace?
  • How can we make our workplaces more inclusive, one that reflects our entire society?

We heard from individuals whose vast amounts of work experience in their home country have not been taken into account when applying for a job in Ireland.

Hear their stories:

Issues around class, a person’s postcode and disability status were recognised as barriers to the workforce for individuals.

Deloitte Ireland CEO Harry Goddard spoke about the need for workforces to facilitate change to create real difference, all of which are outlined in our report that you can read here.

Sinead Patton, Chief Financial and Commercial Officer, Veolia Ireland and Co-chair of BITCI’s Leaders’ Group on Sustainability, spoke about areas where workplaces can improve.

Some of Sinead’s key points are as follows:

  • Diversity and inclusion are not just HR’s responsibility, we all have a role to play and we must embrace change and challenge ourselves.
  • The Pledge asks companies to document their diversity profile within their organisations. This is a simple step that your organisation can take.
  • Start small.
  • Start with senior management teams.
  • Take one action at a time.
  • For inspiration, take a look at specific actions that each signatory company (featured in the report) have committed to take as part of the Elevate Pledge.

Ken Scully, Head of Trading and Commercial Operations – Marks & Spencer Ireland and co-Chair of the Leaders’ Group on Sustainability, echoed some of Sinead’s points. He outlined how there’s a strong business case for diversity and inclusion in the workplace and that fundamentally it’s the right thing to do.

  • Again, take small steps.
  • Look at best practice from other companies.
  • Create opportunities for people from diverse backgrounds to join your workforce.

Higher Executive Officer at the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission, Paul McKeon, spoke about social class and socioeconomic status as barriers to the workplace. When implementing diversity initiatives, don’t exclude people based on their postcode or social class. Paul has direct experience of exclusion because of misconceptions about his background, issues that he talks passionately about during the Elevate Pledge webinar.

Shay Walsh, Managing Director, BT Ireland, noted how signing up to the Elevate Pledge has been a public declaration of intent that BT Ireland wants a diverse, inclusive and equitable workforce. He believes that an organisation with a more inclusive workplace has a more engaged workforce.

Christie Idemudia, Senior HR Business Partner, Mercury Engineering, spoke about the importance of signing up to the Pledge to take a diagnostic view of the workforce and take impactful and meaningful action. She explained how diversity is in policy, culture and everyday activities in the workplace. If it’s present in those areas, it will have a positive ripple effect throughout an entire organisation. She urged organisations to go beyond traditional recruitment methods.

Citing Mercury’s partnership with inner city schools to engage with students, Christie said it’s important to change the narrative for girls to make traditionally male dominated careers more appealing to them.

Wrapping up the webinar, BITCI CEO Tomás Sercovich finished with a key point: Talented people will not want to work for an organisation that is not inclusive. Diverse and inclusive organisations retain talent, remain competitive and attract top investment. Consumers are also savvy and will question whether or not your organisation is equal.

A culture that is negative towards inclusion will not thrive.

You can watch the full webinar.