Diversity Briefing

June 2021

Ending the stigma: Mental Health Awareness Week 2021

We were pleased to celebrate Mental Health Awareness Week this year (10-16 May). Truly inclusive work cultures comprise mental health and workplace wellbeing at their core. They are built by organisations that recognise the importance of educating their leaders and managers about mental health awareness and have policies in place to best support their teams’ mental health. They might also encourage their teams to talk and read about mental health and wellbeing as well as host wellbeing workshops so that they feel empowered to disclose mental health challenges to receive appropriate support.

Mental health challenges are often indiscriminate in who they impact. But people who are more likely to face discrimination have greater chances of experiencing mental ill health. If you are LGBTQ+, you are significantly more likely to report having self-harmed and had suicidal thoughts. If you are a black woman, you are more likely to experience a common mental health problem, like anxiety or depression. And if you are a young person with a learning disability, you are up to four times more likely than your peers to have a diagnosed mental health condition. Each year, Mental Health Awareness Week highlights how disadvantage, bias and discrimination interacts with mental health. We continued the conversation on our social media platforms and with our team. We were blown away by the range of organisations who shared their thoughts and experiences on this important workplace topic and renewed their commitment to mental health awareness.

Rachael Wilson, EW Group Managing Director
May 2021

Image of two hands holding, surrounded by speech bubbles. With text 'Mental Health Awareness Week 10-16 May 2021'

#Take A Stand against online abuse and discrimination

Racism, sexism, homophobia and any other form of prejudice and discrimination have no place in our workplaces, societies, sport pitches, and online platforms.

We are proud to have supported Kick It Out, The FA, Premier League, EFL, FA Women’s Super League, FA Women’s Championship, PFA, LMA, PGMOL and the FSA, who united to boycott social media platforms to demand that online hate and discrimination is eradicated. Between 3PM on Friday 30 April and 11:59PM on Monday 3 May, we joined the football community in logging off from our social media accounts to highlight the urgency for social media companies to act in eliminating online abuse on their platforms.
May 2021

Building an extraordinary experience at Europe’s leader in designer outlet shopping

We are delighted to have partnered with McArthurGlen Group, the leading designer shopping outlet with 26 locations in 10 countries, to design and deliver an Equality, Diversity and Inclusion education programme for senior leaders across Europe. The programme aimed to raise awareness of the key principles of an inclusive McArthurGlen, ensure everyone felt empowered to challenge inappropriate behaviours, and assist leaders in building a personal action plan for promoting change across the business.

Jane Leadbetter, Head of Learning and Development at McArthurGlen, said “We are delighted to be partnering with the EW Group to support us in building a culture where our opinions and contributions are listened to and respected, where everyone can be themselves, so together we thrive…[EW Group] are currently supporting us to deliver awareness training for our leaders and colleagues. We are benefitting from their expertise and insight.”
April 2021

Writing pregnancy loss into your policies – Channel 4

Leading broadcaster and television network, Channel 4, has announced a new and pioneering policy around pregnancy loss. It is believed to be a world first and the organisation’s new policy means that all employees who have experienced loss – including miscarriage, abortion and stillborn – have access to paid leave, mental health support and buddy schemes, and flexible working options. The broadcaster encourages other organisations to follow their step – see their Pregnancy Loss Policy in full.
April 2021

Championing change and remembering Stephen Lawrence

Workplaces, schools and people across the UK marked Stephen Lawrence Day (22 April), remembering Stephen Lawrence who was murdered in a racist attack in 1993. The day is an opportunity every year to celebrate those who have tirelessly fought and continue to fight for equality and justice and to recognise everyone who has been a victim to individual and systemic levels of racism.

It is also an opportunity to continue our commitment to being actively anti-racist and making our cultures and systems fairer for all. Read how to stop racism at work, listen about embedding anti-racism and inclusion in your organisation, and check out our books, films, TV and podcast recommendations of anti-racism resources.
April 2021

Anti-racism at The Professional Cricketers’ Association (PCA)

Earlier this year, we were delighted to announce our partnership with The Professional Cricket Association as we embarked on the delivery of an ambitious and exciting education programme focusing on anti-racism, unconscious bias and cultural difference. We have since started the training for all domestic male and female cricket teams and the England men’s and women’s squads, and are thrilled to hear the positive response from the programme so far. Read PCA Vice Chair, Anuj Dal’s thoughts on the training in The Cricketer.
April 2021

The power of hearing about leaders’ experiences of inclusion and exclusion

This month we have heard from leaders about their experiences of identity and inclusion. On Yom Hashoah, the Jewish remembrance day for the Holocaust, leaders pledged to fight anti-Semitism in the workplace and in society. We also listened as actor Thandiwe Newton announced that she is reclaiming the original Shona spelling of her name, shining a light on identity and belongingness in our places of work.
April 2021

Bank of England recognises LGBT pioneer

We are delighted to see that, following February’s LGBT History Month, the new Bank of England £50 banknote design will feature mathematician and codebreaker, Alan Turing. This is a huge acknowledgement to the contributions made by Turing and other LGBT people throughout our history. The announcement follows the passing of the Turing Law which in 2017 pardoned men who were cautioned or convicted for homosexual acts under historical legislation thought to have affected more than 50,000 men. Turing himself was convicted and placed on a chemical and hormonal programme, prior to his suicide in 1954. He is remembered for his work developing a coding machine which successfully deciphered German Army communications, seen as pivotal in shortening World War Two and saving lives.
March 2021

International Women’s Day – 8 March

#Choose to challenge is the theme of this year’s International Women’s Day. It’s an important time to celebrate the impressive achievements of women across the world in social, economic, cultural and political affairs. But it is also an opportunity to raise awareness of continuing gender inequalities and the need to lobby for gender parity. #Choose to challenge means calling out gender bias and inequality everywhere, both individually and collectively.

This year we have been working with our clients to provide drop-in ‘lunch and learn’ sessions on women in business; we’ve helped a global organisation to set up an international women’s network, which is launched today to mark IWD; and Lisa Jobson has examined how workplaces can best support working mothers and provide flexible working beyond the pandemic. Today’s Guardian article on the experience of the pandemic for women is a sobering reminder of its unequal effect on gender, with fears in the UK of a return to the inequalities of the 1970s.
March 2021

Royal Bank of Scotland

EW Group co-founder and CEO, Jane Farrell, explains why inclusivity must remain a top focus for businesses in the coming months and years, post-Brexit and as we recover from Covid-19. Read what Jane and other leading diversity specialists have to say in this Royal Bank of Scotland article.
February 2021

Federation of Holistic Therapists

Following on from an Equality and Diversity survey last year, the Federation of Holistic Therapists decided action was needed to improve inclusivity across their industry. They pledged to offer their members unconscious bias training to help identify the biases that exist within all of us, understand how unconscious bias might play out in practice and set out a clear plan on how to develop more inclusive behaviours. We are delighted to hear that feedback from our initial two sessions, delivered online by Vix Anderton, has been overwhelmingly positive. Due to the popularity of the webinars, an additional session has been scheduled.
January 2021

Unconscious bias training scrapped by ministers

The debate about the value of unconscious bias training has been reignited with the news that it would be scrapped across government departments because ‘it does not work.’ This is not a new criticism: it is a real challenge to change individual behaviours and notoriously hard to measure that change. The article goes on to state that, “training had too often been used by employers as a “catch-all”, which failed to really tackle the specific barriers for different groups.”

Unconscious bias training is not a silver bullet and certainly needs to be part of a programme of work, which takes a root and branch approach to understanding the inequalities of any given workplace.  A series of insights must be gained before any of our tailored courses are rolled out, taking into account things such as recruitment and progression data, the lived experience of staff, and the leadership team’s analysis of how advantage and disadvantage play out at work.

Unconscious bias training is fascinating. It’s about our human impulses and our socialisation. It’s about the ways in which our unconscious minds sometimes work against our conscious values. Done well, unconscious bias training leads to positive and constructive conversations about the barriers that exist for different people at work. And most importantly, how we can remove them. And it’s these structural and systemic changes – in addition to adaptations in behaviours – that will mean organisations make great strides in eliminating discrimination and disadvantage.
December 2020

Working with Mercedes FI Team

EW Group is incredibly proud to be working with the Mercedes F1 Team on Accelerate 25, a five-year programme that marks the formalisation of their vision to become a more diverse and inclusive team. As the Team’s external specialist, we have completed an in-depth analysis of Mercedes F1’s recruitment and development processes. Our custom-designed programme has trained all managers in Inclusive Excellence and we will be rolling this out to all staff by June 2021.
December 2020

Diversity and Mercedes

Racism and Allyship

Set against the backdrop of 2020’s major world events (Covid and Black Lives Matter), many of us have looked within ourselves to find a way in which we can make a difference. Companies have needed to address systemic issues that have been exposed such as the disproportionate impact of Covid on Black and Asian staff, and women with caring responsibilities and the best have taken swift and sensitive action. Individuals have also wanted to take action such as contributing more to local communities. With a powerful focus on anti-racism and structural inequalities, there are also two major concepts that have emerged which we can take individual responsibility for also: privilege and allyship.

These two concepts go hand-in-hand. You can’t be a meaningful ally without first understanding your own privilege and we think John Amaechi’s analysis is spot on. We don’t have to feel guilty for having privilege, we just need to use it to good effect in tackling discrimination that others are facing. An ally is just that: someone proactively using their privileged position to help level the playing field for others. For helpful definitions of allyship, the NHS has some great resources and these 10 steps from Dr Muna Abdi are great to keep in mind.

As Dr Muna Abdi says, in order to ‘show up and stand up’ as an ally, you do need to be informed. This recent podcast interview by Louis Theroux with actress and screenwriter Michaela Coel has a wealth of insight into being a Black Britain today.

Bear in mind that being an ally is about more than understanding and empathy. It’s about taking action and often that will mean raising uncomfortable truths. If you’re a member of a dominant group in your workplace (once you’ve checked your privilege you’ll know if that’s you) then take pride in standing up for people in different racial groups, champion them, perhaps mentor them and certainly be proactive in challenging anyone who does not treat them equally.

And remember that as an ally, your actions don’t have to be limited to grand ones. Our blog on racial microaggressions will be a useful tool to help you think about making small changes to your own behaviour. And if you’re a leader then all of the above applies, plus it’s time to start proactively developing inclusive leadership traits. Because if not now, when?
December 2020

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