In Diverse Company’s Future Workplace Webinar, in celebration of International Women’s Day 2020
On Thursday 12th March, our CEO, Johanna Beresford hosted our first-ever webinar, on the Future Workplace around the theme “What does the future workplace need to look like, for both women and men to succeed?”. Our internal globe panel and networking events and webinars are designed to be informal, providing the opportunity to openly discuss bold topics, share knowledge and challenge thinking. We are known for creating environments where people are comfortable with being open, honest and able to provide different points of view and always be heard.
We thought it would be useful to follow-up with the key insights from our expert panelists. As we enter into unprecedented times across the globe in the fight against coronavirus, we will continue to hold regular webinar sessions, as now it’s more important than ever that we continue to connect as humans and continue to build a sense of belonging and inclusivity for everyone.
“If all leaders were more curious and asked more questions; that would allow us to make huge progress.” Johanna Beresford, CEO of In Diverse Company.
Key Quotes From Our Panel
“Understanding difference is hard to do unless you have suffered it in some form”. Kammini Charani, UK Diversity & Inclusion Manager, Vodafone
“Disability has to be normalised. We need to banish negative connotations, start to be more conscious of the language used and be sensitive around how disabilities are categorised in order to create positive change around discrimination”. Yasmin Sheikh, Founder of Diverse Matters
“Middle-aged women are awake, in the spotlight, thinking – finally, I am a person in business – as a society, we need to recognise that this age group are one of the biggest catalysts for change”. Jane Evans, Founder of The Uninvisibilty Project
“Poor leadership is a leader that believes they need to lead the whole organization forward. That’s the wrong approach. If we look at leadership in Horses, it’s not the big, shiny stallion at the front that’s leading, but actually the Mare at the back. A leader needs to take the same approach with their organization and trust the process”. Steve Hyde, Board Advisor to Megs Menopause
What does the future workplace need to look like for both men and women to succeed?
- To solve some of the fundamental workplace issues, we must look at what we want the future to look like, take stock of where we are today, and make a plan to tackle the differences
- Sound simple? However, many organisations have systematic issues that are not designed to allow people to be equal – we must change this too (think about a policy that isn’t designed to make things easy for women, disabled, ethnicities, etc.)
- Recruitment – future talent should be viewed as gender-neutral, based on merit (not sex). It should align in the context of skills of the individual AND how this fit with the goals of the business to achieve real retention
- The future workplace and change starts with leadership, not management. Leaders should be inquisitive and understand that we are all human and we are all different. Leadership needs to be fluid.
- Policy must be more human. For example, paternity and shared parental leave must be more socially accepted, female leaders, must be comfortable to talk about topics like menopause in order to begin to normalise. Be open and bold.
- Technology as a catalyst for change – by 2030 billions of jobs will be automated by technology. For those that aren’t organisations, need to understand the type of people that will be working in their company – a very different type workforce and culture style will be required, with a very different skill set and expectations
- Businesses must keep up with society – today’s men are caring and empathetic, but many organisational cultures don’t allow them to be. We are the first generation that are living to 100 yet are working within structures that say we will die by 75. We must encourage leaders to be brave, be their true selves and not hide behind a work persona. Those that do are often, deeply unhappy.
What do we need to do differently for women?
- It is often presumed that 35 is ‘peak career’ sweet spot for women – which often could not be further from the truth. Many women at this age as experiencing a life stage with small children, trying to juggle work/life. Whereas those over 50, have newfound freedom and the experience to go with it. We should encourage more women over 50 to become leaders
- For the first time, multiple careers should be welcomed. And women over 50 can pioneer this
- Re-assess HR’s role – we currently have a big gender issue. Only 19% of HR executives are male and yet we still have a problem
Treat women fairly and respectfully – as David Ogilvy famously said – “treat our customers as you would treat your mother”
How to create an inclusive culture
- Stereotyping or grouping employees together is not going to work. Understand, embrace and build a workforce with a variety of people, who have a very different skillset
- Encourage empathy across the organization. Understanding difference is hard unless you have experienced it yourself
- We mustn’t view a diverse spectrum as a threat but an opportunity for a different input of people, which will result in a different culture
- It’s essential to provide an environment that allows employees to be open and bold on topics that are seen as difficult and challenging.
If you have any additional comments or feedback do let us know, at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be in touch with information on future sessions.