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Welcome to Reworked, the company culture podcast from inclusion and diversity specialists EW Group. Reworked examines our working lives and takes a fresh look at the way we work. Every fortnight you’ll get the latest thinking on company culture from leading experts in organisational culture and inclusive leadership. Take our thought leaders with you on your commute.
In episode 16 of ReWorked, Rachael Wilson talks to the Gilane Tawadros, Chief Executive at DACS, a not-for-profit visual artists’ rights management organisation.
DACS was set up by artists for artists to help transform the financial landscape for visual artists, campaign for artists’ rights and champion their sustained and vital contribution to the creative economy.
Yet, sometimes it is easy to lose sight of your organisation’s core purpose. Gilane talks about the importance of DACS rediscovering its purpose and reconnecting with the people it is meant to serve: to support artists’ work and their ability to produce their artwork sustainably. Without having this deep understanding of artists’ needs and what these needs will be in the future at the heart of the organisation, it becomes increasingly difficult to remain relevant.
Cultural change does not happen overnight. Rachael and Gilane discuss the steps DACS took to implement a cultural change to help reconnect with artists and embed across all levels of the organisation the mantra – does this help artists? – to help build confidence and clarify DACS core purpose to both artists and the outside world.
In episode 15 of ReWorked, Rachael Wilson talks to Rob Neil OBE, Head of Project Race at the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) and the former Chair of the Civil Service Race Forum.
Rob provides a candid insight into his experience of being a black man in the Civil Service. With over three decades of lived experience, Rob offers a refreshingly honest analysis of the experience of minority groups in the workplace. He gives real examples of how he leads on diversity, how he is equipping his cohort of race ambassadors to do the same and talks about why he is calling on senior leaders to clear the runway so that progress on race equality can be made.
Sponsored by the Permanent Secretary and Civil Service Race Champion, Richard Heaton, Project Race is a corporate initiative that supports the delivery of MoJ’s published objectives to deliver increased numbers of BAME staff at senior Civil Service level. The project facilitates honest conversations with the aim of becoming more comfortable and confident talking about race across the MoJ. Project Race is part of the Civil Service’ ambitious diversity and inclusion strategy to become the UK’s most inclusive employer by 2020.
Rob was awarded an OBE in The Queen’s 2018 New Year’s Honours list for ‘Services to Race Equality in the workplace and the community’. He was shortlisted as an Ethnicity Awards Top 8 BAME Workplace Hero in August 2018.
For episode 14 of Reworked, Rachael catches up with Jim Gant and Keith Grafham, the team behind Feed Your Elephant, an exciting new start-up set to change the way people learn.
Have you ever stayed up all night cramming for an exam, only to find yourself drawing blanks the next day? That’s because our brains aren’t built to work that way.
Scientific evidence suggests that we learn much more effectively by absorbing small amounts of information over a sustained period. This is called spaced learning.
Jim has employed this science to create Feed Your Elephant, a series of applications designed to help you integrate new knowledge into your long-term memory. You can currently download the free appsto learn anything from capital cities, to the names and characteristics of wines.
However, the technology can also be used to supplement in-house training sessions. Spaced learning banishes the element of competition present in most other learning environments. It also uses the speed and accuracy at which you retain information to formulate personalised content and reminders.
Rachael talks to Jim and Keith about what the future holds for their spaced learning start-up. She learns the logistics behind the science that fuels it, and finds out how the company has already taken great leaps to boost confidence and performance in workplaces across the UK.
You may have heard the phrase ‘Behind every man is a great woman’. This year, London and Partners are turning that anachronism on its head. Women don’t stand behind great men; they power great cities, and the company’s #BehindEveryGreatCity campaign is setting out to prove it.
#BehindEveryGreatCity was launched at the start of 2018. The campaign aims to support and raise the profile of the capital’s top women entrepreneurs and break down the still-significant obstacles they face on the road to success: only 8% of the UK’s women entrepreneurs secure venture capital funding, for example.
Rachael talks to Lauren about hope for the future, and discusses how London and Partners are paving the way for women in business – delving into the importance of mentors, communities, and having the confidence to challenge investors.
For episode 12 of the Reworked podcast, Rachael is joined by Victor Olisa, former Head of Diversity and Chief Superintendent at the Metropolitan Police.
Working for the Metropolitan Police is demanding. 12-hour shifts are becoming the norm, and a recent study revealed that 53% of officers are never or only rarely able to take their full rest break entitlement.
As Head of Diversity and Inclusion, Victor was tasked with the challenge of convincing these time-pressed officers to make his cause a priority. He tells Rachael the tactics that he used to ‘sell’ diversity and inclusion to the officers, and reflects on the positive changes to working culture and community engagement that he enabled.
Under Victor’s management, the Met saw a record level of BAME candidates join its ranks, with over 4,000 BAME officers recorded in 2016.
Yet despite this success, Victor is the first to admit that there is still a long way to go. Systemic issues with stop and search, BME mentoring programmes, and stress management remain. The podcast delves into these key problem areas, and Victor offers his own informed opinion on how they can be tackled.
The importance of wellbeing in the modern workplace cannot be underestimated. It has been estimated that 12.5 million working days were lost in 2016-17 due to work-related stress, depression or anxiety. But for many companies, approaches to dealing with the problem have only come in the form of short-sighted, box-ticking exercises.
So how can businesses make the structural and cultural changes necessary to entrench wellbeing as a core company principle? What can be done to reduce the pressure and expectation on employees? And what are the obstacles getting in the way, and how can we best move past them?
Vix answers these questions and many more as she talks to Rachael about the benefits that can follow when a company takes practical steps to incorporate wellbeing into its DNA. She also offers some invaluable tips on the steps we can all take to focus more on our own wellbeing in everyday life.
Equality, diversity and inclusion often appear in organisational values and strategy. Work180 helps job seekers know before they apply which organisations walk their talk.
The Work180 app advertises the job roles of companies that have already been vetted on their equality-supporting practices. Businesses are assessed on their maternity/paternity leave and flexible working policies, their gender pay gap reporting, and a host of other key criteria. Job seekers can then be confident that the organisation they are applying to work with has an inclusive workplace culture.
Work180 has already been a great success in Australia, where it receives 90,000 job searches a month, and it will reach New York and San Francisco very soon. Gemma draws interesting comparisons of attitudes towards diversity and inclusion between the UK and Australia. With gender equality and the gender pay gap being on the forefront of public agenda this year in the UK, she thinks the app will have an even greater impact here.
On 12th April 2018, two black men were arrested in a Starbucks branch in Philadelphia while waiting for a friend to join them. Mobile-phone footage of the pair being put in handcuffs in front of disbelieving onlookers soon went viral. The arrests sparked demonstrations outside the branch and wider outrage across social media.
As part of the company’s response, Starbucks announced that it would close more than 8,000 of its US stores on 29th May to run unconscious bias training sessions for around 175,000 employees. It was an unprecedented move in high-street retail.
Jane Farrell co-founded EW Group in 1992, and is one of the UK’s leading experts on diversity and inclusion. Jane recently appeared on Radio 4’s Today programme and Channel 5 News to talk about the Starbucks incident and the resulting spotlight on unconscious bias training.
In this episode of Reworked, Jane speaks to Rachael Wilson about the rise and rise of the term ‘unconscious bias’ in public and professional discourse. Together they try to unravel the “Rubik’s Cube” of how advantage and disadvantage operate in different workplaces. You’ll hear Jane’s own story and her formative experiences of inclusion/exclusion in and outside of work.
“[The incident in Philadelphia] obviously shouldn’t have happened,” says Jane, “but Starbucks had responded to this dreadful situation very strongly and powerfully.”
“There was one figure quoted that it was going to cost Starbucks $12 million to close the stores. My reflection on that is that it’s a drop in the ocean compared to the lost revenue that might have occurred, and the damage to the brand, had they not taken strong action.”
An unerringly positive advocate of the diversity and inclusion agenda, Jane also issues a rallying call to senior leaders in business to “get the blood pressure down around diversity” and to focus on practical ways to create more inclusive cultures in their organisations.
As we journey across London, whether night or day but almost undoubtedly absorbed in our technology, how in tune are we with our physical personal safety in the moment?
Rachael speaks with Jillian Kowalchuk the creator of Safe and The City, a free app which merges police crime data on sexual assault in London with the stories of users. With this information, people are empowered to make informed choices about their travel routes, and businesses and communities know where to direct their efforts to create an inclusive environment.
From her experiences travelling, Jillian tells us she found knowing her surroundings allowed her to adapt her journey choices, which gave her the confidence to better manage her own safety. However, current technology tends to only provide information on the quickest routes to places, not necessarily the safest.
Safe and The City aims to alert people before they walk into known hotspots, so they have the knowledge to make safer choices. Attracting 7,000 users in just 6 weeks, people are clearly recognising the need to be proactive about their safety day-to-day.
Jillian also highlights the opportunities for businesses and communities to use data to make London a safer and more inclusive city for us all. The data also has the power to enhance brand reputation; providing an invaluable insight into the perception of employees externally, in a similar way that Glassdoor operates for workplaces internally.
For Episode 7 of Reworked, Rachael talks to Jane Crombleholme, Head of Executive Education at the Alliance Manchester Business School, about the concept of anti-perfectionism and being ‘just good enough’ as a leader.
Is it harder than ever to be a strong leader? Leadership must be authentic, inclusive and empathetic, all while delivering a high level of performance and results.
Jane Crombleholme is the Head of Executive Education at the Alliance Manchester Business School, the oldest and largest in the UK, and the Chair of the Board of the NHS Stockport Clinical Commissioning Group. With her years of experience in management development, Jane is an advocate for a more relaxed (and therefore more authentic) take on models of senior leadership.
The episode includes Jane’s three-point plan for taking the perfectionism out of your leadership approach.
For Episode 6 of Reworked, Rachael travelled to Levenshulme in Manchester to look up an old friend who has turned her passion for workplace equality into real purpose.
Joeli Brearley launched the Pregnant Then Screwed campaign three years ago as a forum for women to share their stories about how they were treated by employers while pregnant or returning to work after the birth of a child.
In this interview, Joeli shares her personal story and what gave her the impetus to get started. We explore how a passion becomes a project, how that project becomes a lobbying campaign with impact, and then a movement that captures the hearts and minds of working parents around the world.
Joeli Brearley founded the Pregnant Then Screwed campaign after a personal experience of discrimination when pregnant with her first child. The campaign now operates internationally and lobbies for legislative and organisational modernisation to ensure recognition, respect and change for working mums and dads.
As the landscape of work becomes ever more complex, how can you as a company ensure you have a workforce that is adaptable, resilient and diverse enough to make smart business decisions?
Phil Jones MBE talks to Rachael about how to drive culture change, and the key values and behaviours needed to support a modern workforce. Do your people feel included enough to participate? Are they engaged to the level needed to boost innovation in a market as fierce and fast-paced as tech?
Phil shares personal insights and examples of the changes he made – large and small – that have seen Brother UK named as one of the Times Top 100 places to work, as well as an Investors in People Platinum Workplace.
EW Group MD Rachael Wilson travels to Rome to speak to Italian business leaders about their diversity and inclusion plans.
Last week, Rachael was invited to speak at a conference in Rome hosted by EW Group’s Italian partners, Diversity Opportunity. These are divisive times in Italy: the general election the day before the event had ended in a hung parliament.
Against such an uncertain backdrop, Rachael wanted to get a sense of the efforts that Italian businesses are making to adapt perspectives around diversity, and to address barriers to inclusion. What she found was a genuine belief that diversity represents a source of team empowerment and business innovation.
“If you compare Italy now to 20 years ago, we’ve changed very very quickly. Companies are creating a new inclusive approach in order to transform diversity into business opportunity. It’s a reality that’s growing fast.”
Emelia Garito, TEDxRoma
As the only Brit in the room, Rachael took the chance to speak to a number of guests about the rising importance of workplace diversity and inclusion in Italy, and the progress made so far:
Rachael Wilson hosts demographic change expert Aaqil Ahmed for a special event in London to discuss the business opportunities for growth that are linked to changing customer demographics.
Aaqil offers up a number of real-life case studies from the media, FMCG and retail sectors around building cultural literacy and awareness, especially around religion and faith. These include the M&S Modest fashion range, Nike’s Pro Hijab, and how Bicester Village has developed its East Asian and Gulf Arab customer bases.
Aaqil is the former Head of Religion and Ethics at the BBC and Commissioning Editor at Channel 4, and is now a Professor of Media at the University of Bolton. He specialises in working with businesses to pinpoint new opportunities to expand their reach in response to demographic change and the increasing need for cultural literacy.
This special episode was recorded live in front of an audience at Henry Wood House in London.
EW Group MD Rachael Wilson travels to Paris to talk to HR professional and inclusion specialist Marianne Constans about driving cultural change in organisations.
Marianne is closely involved in the growing intrapreneurship movement across Europe. What is intrapreneurship? It’s the idea of using entrepreneurial skills to lead innovation or change within a large organisation, whether that means products, processes or working cultures.
Marianne talks about her experiences of implementing organisational change around diversity and inclusion at the FTSE100 company Imperial Brands in Bristol. She provides a great insight into how to make real change happen within the constraints of a large company.
To learn more about the intrapreneurship movement, check out these links:
The League of Intrapreneurs – a community of intrapreneurs based in London, with case studies and practical tools
The book Marianne co-wrote on the subject (currently only available in French)
The Intrapreneurship Conference – a global platform that organises conferences around the world
This TED Talk by Shoel Perelman – ‘How a Company can Nurture its Internal Rebels’
Studies show that having a sense of purpose is increasingly what drives us to work. Building a culture of trust is one way to create that feeling for people.
During his time in the armed forces, Chris Paton was responsible for advising on Afghan Strategy and plans to the Cabinet Office and National Security Council. He also saw active service in a wide range of places including Northern Ireland, Kosovo, Georgia, and Afghanistan.
Chris has since founded the business wargaming consultancy Quirk Solutions, and specialises in working with public and private companies to stress-test their strategic plans through a facilitated technique called wargaming. Having been a leader himself in a high stakes armed forces environment, he now works closely with business leaders at the likes of Shell, Waitrose and Heineken. As Chris explains, when the stakes are high, we need to trust the people we work with.
We’re interested in the micro-culture of work. How do we create a more inclusive culture, where everyone can contribute and thrive? There is no single ‘corporate culture’ anymore.
In Reworked, we’ll talk to employers, cultural commentators and employees themselves to find out just how different our working lives can be.
Our company culture podcast is hosted by EW Group MD Rachael Wilson.
For businesses everywhere, the race is on to build a truly 21st-century workplace. Competition is fierce when it comes to attracting, recruiting and retaining the very best talent.
And the motivations of that talent are changing. People are choosing company cultures that focus on inclusive working environments. Trust, open communication and acceptance of difference are no longer the nice-to-haves; they’re the must-haves.