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The importance of promoting a culture of inclusion

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25 Sep 2017
To mark National Inclusion Week 2017 we sat down with Managing Director Jo Sellick to discuss why hiring a diverse workforce is important, and the steps he takes to ensure he promotes a culture of inclusion.

Why is it so important for Sellick Partnership to build a diverse and inclusive workforce?

We believe it makes good business sense, it is key to us achieving our objectives as a business and it gives us a competitive advantage. I also believe that the best teams are those that have an awareness of diversity which helps drive innovation and creativity. As a recruiter you often have to think outside of the box, and deal with people from all walks of life, so an inclusive workforce helps us stay ahead of the game. Having a diverse workforce and creating an inclusive environment that gives everybody a voice is ultimately how we succeed. 

What is the best way of ensuring businesses create a culture of inclusion?

I believe the secret of an inclusive culture lies within your business and your current employees. You need to build and nurture a positive culture in order to attract and retain a diverse and inclusive workforce. There are a number of ways businesses can ensure they achieve this. If you have multiple offices for example, business leaders should ensure there are opportunities for them to meet and encourage socialising outside of work. To encourage your workforce to connect with each other you could set up buddy systems or simply have an area where employees can relax with their colleagues. Allowing your workforce to connect with each other away from the day-to-day stresses of the office will inherently create a culture that is inclusive and accepting, which should help when building a diverse workforce.

Visible role models are also vitally important – everyone wants to be able to see what we can become to motivate and inspire us. Everyone has the opportunity to be role model to someone and being visible is key to inspiring others – it is not bragging or showing off but rather showing others that you are leading by example.

What initiatives does Sellick Partnership have in place to help employees connect with their colleagues?

Due to the geographical spread of our offices, we try and hold a number of celebratory events and activities during the year to keep camaraderie strong. As a business we aim to celebrate activities of every kind – from the support provided by the front desk, to the efforts of payroll to ensure all contractors are paid on time.

Our annual Teambuilding event is one of the most highly anticipated events of the Sellick Partnership calendar. All employees spend two days away from the office participating in a number of challenging activities. The whole event is kept a secret from the business to build excitement and encourage conversation and speculation between teams. Teambuilding activities have included participating in popular gameshow style activities such as ‘It’s A Knockout’, raft building, advert creation, motivational speakers, and creating rock bands to perform in front of the rest of the business. This year to celebrate our 15th anniversary we are taking the entire business to Majorca for two nights. In addition to this we also have our annual End of Financial Year Awards and Christmas party, both of which are all expenses paid events for our staff, and give our people more opportunities to connect with colleagues.

Why do you think it is important to have an inclusive and connected workforce?

Embracing diversity and inclusion is the key to maintaining a competitive edge in business as well as being the right thing to do. Working with people who think the same way you do might be comfortable but is not very challenging or creative. To stay ahead of the game and to maximise the potential of talent, organisations need to fully embrace a diverse workforce. Working within recruitment I have come across candidates and clients from all walks of life, and heard some harrowing stories of discrimination along the way. Candidates should always be recruited on merit, and merit alone. Gender, race, sexual orientation or disability should never be considered. For that reason we need to promote diversity and inclusion and push business leaders to consider more innovative ways of recruiting. Innovation is key to the growth of any organisation and I do not see that being possible without truly embracing diversity.

Do you have any additional advice for companies looking to enhance diversity and inclusion?

Organisations sometimes start by trying to convince themselves of the business case for hiring a diverse workforce, and spend a lot of time on that. I would say, have faith; there is a business case and the research that greater diversity in the workplace delivers better results is overwhelming. Where you have wins, celebrate them. Look at the positive role models that you already have in the company, and share success stories – they are inspiring to the rest of the organisation.

Business leaders should also make sure they have the right processes in place, and that they are objective. We are all human and we all have biases but just being aware of those biases is beneficial. Challenge yourselves and your colleagues when you bring talent into the organisation. You need to make sure you are actively looking for people who are different and who bring different views and opinions, as well as challenging talent review processes. 
Finally ensure you promote an inclusive and connective culture. It is crucially important for me as a business leader to ensure that each and every one of my employees has the opportunity to meet and spend time with each other. We have such a mix of diverse characters at Sellick Partnership and it is amazing that so many have great relationships with each other, and that is because we put such a big emphasis on building relationships. That is why we hold a number of companywide events, and regularly hold cross sector meetings across our seven offices. A connected workforce is a happy and inclusive one in my opinion. 
To find out why a hiring a diverse and inclusive workforce is so important read our blog by following the link below, alternatively you can find out more about Sellick Partnership and our culture by contacting us on 0161 834 1642. Importance of diversity

Tagged In: Diversity
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