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  • Writer's pictureBloom North

Bloom North Panel Event - Lessons in Inclusivity

Just over a month ago, the 15th March to be exact, we held our first Bloom North event of the year “Unity is Strength, Diversity is Power – lessons in Inclusivity.”

Held at the Everyman Manchester, and hosted by the fabulous Carl Smith, editor of Official Charts, we had three truly amazing panelists who all shared nuggets of wisdom over pastries and coffee.

Huge thanks to the brilliant…

  • Ellie Middleton – Personal Brand Manager at Great Influence and Head of Community at Neuropool and creator of the Unmasked Platform

  • Mia PowellNew Business Director, Lammas Park

  • Kai Ojo - Managing Director, Planisware

Below are 4 of our top takeaways…

The more diverse a room…the more excellent it can become

Perhaps the single most important lesson from the day, was that a diverse room is ultimately one that comes up with better ideas, solves more problems and will be a commercially stronger business.

Talking about the book Rebel Ideas from Matthew Syed, Ellie discussed how every bit of evidence demonstrates that greater diversity leads to better work. Therefore, as an industry that wants to create amazing work, it’s not just a moral imperative to have greater diversity, bit it is a business one too.

Relook at all of your policies….

There’s no point just hiring a diverse workforce and have policies that were not designed for everyone. We need the policies we have and the language we use internally to be inclusive for all.

Kai pointed out the default language of Christmas bonuses, and how this language excludes those who celebrate other religions, he instead talked about labelling them end of year bonusses. This made me think about how many policies are designed for the Christian calendar – therefore think about offering staff flexibilities when they take bank holiday days.

They may prefer to work over Easter and instead take Eid, Yom Kippur or Diwali as their holiday days. Therefore, to ensure your business has inclusivity at its heart, think about every single policy you have and ensure that it is fit for everyone.

And the way you recruit

To recruit diverse talent, we must ensure that the recruitment process isn’t one size fits all. This can be rectified by having this top of mind as you recruit and challenging conventions of what a recruitment process can look like.

Mia brilliantly suggested sharing the questions in advance, to help those from backgrounds where they don’t have an immediate network to seek advice from.

Ellie advised job specs are catered to everyone by making them short, punchy and easy to read for those who are neurodiverse. One thing we can all do before we interview is ask the candidate if they need anything to help them thrive. This could include a room with certain lighting or a certain set-up. The brilliant thing about every one of these tips, is that they make the interview process better for everyone.

Be Kind

But finally we wanted to leave you with a lesson, that doesn’t just link to diversity, but should be a central lesson to everyone. Conversations about diversity can be difficult, and we know people can be scared about getting it wrong. However, if we don’t talk, we won’t learn and as a result we won’t improve.

Therefore, we’d like to leave you with the following advice from the wonderful Ellie “Be Kind”. Appreciate when people are trying, and don’t shoot them down or berate them for getting it wrong. Instead have an open conversation.

Thank Yous

We’d like to thank our host Carl and the whole panel for being honest and frank, Everyman for the brilliant venue, our amazing sponsors Sky, The Dice Charter for recommending our event, and Njal and Abs our BSL interpreters. We’d also like to say a huge thanks to Diane Alagar of Wavemaker, who was unable to join the panel due to Covid-19.

The panel was a fun, inspiring and it was great to see people IRL at an event and we can’t wait to see you all at our next event in 2022 – watch this space.

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