Do you feel uncomfortable talking to disabled people?

If you read this question and your honest gut response is yes, then you’re not alone. 67% of the British public feel the same way. 21% of 18-34-year-olds admit that they have purposefully avoided talking to a disabled person. They weren’t sure how to communicate with them.

The media representation of disabled people doesn’t help. Perform an image search for diversity and you’ll see images of colourful, happy people. Search for disabled people and you’ll see Paralympians or people in wheelchairs. Sometimes just a wheelchair itself.

If you are lucky enough you might spot a disabled person on the television. They are often depicted as an inspirational superstar or weak, defective, a ‘character’. Disabled people are massively underrepresented everywhere. White, non-disabled, heterosexual males still dominate our screens and advertisements. We don’t see our society reflected on screen. And we rarely see it in our workplaces either.

Macro photo of two cogs with the words 'different' and 'same'

Does your workplace reflect society accurately?

Despite this, 1 in 6 people of working age is disabled. And only 8% of disabled people are wheelchair users. The majority of impairments are simply not visible. So, you will be talking to disabled people without realising it. The trouble is, for those with invisible disabilities, experience has taught us it is far safer to remain invisible. Keep quiet. Find ways around the barriers faced and cross your fingers that you’ll be able to keep it up. And people often do.

Living with a disability breeds strength. It builds resilience, problem-solving, innovative thinking, different perspectives, determination. All of which are massively valuable in the workplace. All are qualities employers tell us they want to see more of.

So how do you get your employees to be open with you? It starts with you and the culture you’ve built in your organisation. Do senior leaders in the organisation talk about their health conditions or challenges openly? Have you found ways to encourage flexibility? Do you have employee networks? Are your sickness policies fair or do they penalise those with long term health conditions or people who care for others? Does your workforce represent the customers and community you serve? Building an inclusive culture takes time, commitment, courage. But the dividends are far reaching…

 

To attract disabled candidates and advertise jobs with Evenbreak click here.

To help all your employees become more confident and confident around disability inclusion, click here.

 

Inclusion ABC’s in the workplace…

Alphabet depiction of inclusion best practices for teaching
Graphic by Kristin Weins

As a mother of a young child, I’m interested in inclusion, both in the workplace and the classroom. And I’m not convinced there’s all that much difference in how we’d all like to be treated by others. Adult or child.

This brilliant graphic depicts inclusive best practice for quality teaching. I loved it the second I saw it. And the results of these strategies, when applied within the classroom, are mindblowing. Why wouldn’t we apply them to the workplace too?   

A – All means all. Does your organisation ensure that the workplace is accessible for everyone?

B – Behaviour is communication.  If something has changed in your workplace, what is this telling you?

C – Choice. We all like to have some!
D – Be a behaviour detective.  If an employee’s behaviour concerns you; have you tried to find out the why behind it?
E – Everyone starts together. See cartoon!
F – Fair means everyone getting their needs met. Flexible working, support from Access to Work. So many solutions for so many different needs.
H – Child honouring. The view that how we regard and treat our young is the key to building a humane and sustainable world. And indeed workforce.
I – Independence. Do you trust your employees? Do you let them work with autonomy and self-control?
J – Joyful learning.  Oh yes, please! Always more of this.
K – Kids do well if they can.  This is a biggie. I’ve learnt a lot from Ross Greene. His philosophy is that ‘kids do well if they can’ rather than ‘kids do well if they want to’. Skills versus motivation. And surely it applies to adults too? What might be getting in someone’s way? What lagging skills need developing?
L – Lead with strengths. This one sounds obvious but how often do we do this? Reshuffle job specs? Give people the opportunities to shine?
M – Movement breaks. Banish deskbound culture and presenteeism. Consider alternative work practices and increase productivity.
N – Needs-based. Identify what people need to succeed and try to meet those needs.
O –  Open-mindedness. One of the many cultural rewards of a diverse workforce.
P – Plan and purpose. Are employees involved in the planning process? Are people set up to succeed?
Q – Question unexpected behaviour. Back to the b of behaviour as communication.
R – Relationship. Nurturing strong relationships that increase confidence and competence.
S – Self-regulation. Not just for children! What do we need to live and work optimally? A quiet space? Fresh air? Working with headphones? Movement?
T – Assistive technology. There are now so many examples of devices that can assist employees in the workplace. Find out about them. They can be transformational. The charity AbilityNet is one place to start.
 U – Unconditional positive regard. Seems simple. Harder than you think. In a nutshell, this means valuing the person as doing their best to move forward in their lives constructively and respecting the person’s right to self-determination no matter what they choose to do.
V – Visuals.  Again, not just for the children! Visual communication is preferred by many but often underutilised.
W – Words make worlds. Words are powerful. Don’t use them carelessly. Take a closer look at some of the words you use in your workplace. ‘Disclosure’ of disability for example. Interrogate the language you use.
X  – Extra processing time. Give people extra processing time if they need it. It pays off!
Y – The power of yet. Another one that’s not just for the children. Many of us will focus on what we haven’t accomplished. What we can’t do. What we haven’t done. Add ‘yet’ on and change your mindset.
Z – The zone of proximal development. Sounds like something to do with space. But pretty easy to consider in the workplace. Imagine we all have a comfort zone, a learning zone, and a panic zoneThe comfort zone can get a little dull.  And even frustrating. It might have pizza and a sofa but I imagine disengagement is common. If we aim for the zone of proximal development we can stretch ourselves just enough to be able to learn and flourish. But without hitting the panic zone where we might become stressed or fearful.

Five easy New Year’s resolutions to help you become a more inclusive employer

Two rows of chocolate cupcakes that spell out Happy 2019So many people hate New Year’s resolutions. They remind us of past failures and far too often include giving up chocolate. Which can seem wrong on so many levels… I’m a great fan of resolutions or goals. To me, they emphasise change, possibility, action. All things that I’m a fan of.

So, this year I’ve put together a teeny tiny list of resolutions for employers. Each one will make a difference to at least one person, immediately. Together you will have the beginnings of culture change. And you’ll be on your way to becoming an inclusive employer of choice. Plus… you won’t need to give up chocolate.

1)  See disabled people as valuable talent rather than problems to solve.  Employers that focus on employees’ strengths inspire growth and innovation.

2)  Ask disabled employees, customers and candidates for feedback.  And act on that feedback.  Employers that listen and act, inspire commitment.

Learn something new and become more inclusive…

3)  Take 30 minutes to learn about something that doesn’t affect you. A few weeks ago, I learnt the importance of capitalising the first letter of each word after using a hashtag. It allows screen reader software to read out each word separately. And makes them #EasierToRead! Thank you to the Royal National Institute of Blind People for this tip!

4) Share the good practice you develop and learn from others. There are many opportunities out there worth investigating. Evenbreak’s unlimited advertisers have access to our online community Evenbreaker’s. It encourages employers to talk openly about challenges and triumphs and we learn as a group. Disability networks (such as the Midlands Ability Group) connect employers committed to progress. They share best practice and events throughout the year.

5) Ensure your people are confident and competent around inclusion and accessibility. Provide training and ongoing access to learning resources for all employees. Not just the chosen few. I’ll admit this resolution has a cost implication. But the cultural return on investment will be huge.

 

To learn more about our best practice portal for ALL your employees or to advertise jobs with us contact info@evenbreak.co.uk

Alternatively, come and say hello to me on LinkedIn! https://www.linkedin.com/in/cassandraleese/

 

To find out more about the Midlands Ability Network, contact Becky Brooks: Becky.brooks@enei.org.uk

 

Some things I’d like you to know about… Gowling WLG

Gowling logo

One of the best Evenbreak perks is working with great people. By great, I don’t mean impressive and successful, although they often are. I mean that these people are the game changers. The clients that work with us are invested in change. They don’t settle for the status quo. They take the leaps that other organisations are still talking about.

As I learn more about them and work more closely with them, I want to share what I learn. This isn’t to show them off, although they often deserve showing off. It’s to say thank you to them and to share what works well with others. Gowling WLG is first up. Here are three of the things they do well:

  • They are serious about inclusion at board level. They have a board member who sponsors disability, mental health and wellbeing in the firm. They are also a passionate and active member of Gowling WLG’s employee network, Enable.
  • They are committed to learning. Reverse Mentoring has been implemented for all board members. This supports their development in inclusion confidence.
  • They continually review how they do things. Recently Gowling WLG reviewed their workplace adjustments process. They introduced a ‘wellbeing passport’ and manager and colleague guidelines.

What about the recruitment process itself?

I can confirm that my experience with Gowling WLG reflects this commitment. In August, I met with Jo Franklin, Head of Resourcing at Gowling WLG. We talked about the recruitment process at Gowling WLG. And the barriers that disabled candidates can experience.

I was struck by how much attention she paid to my experience as a visitor to Gowling WLG. She paid attention. She asked questions. And her commitment to continuous improvement was clear. Even if this meant asking awkward questions and facing awkward answers. So I would add… They listen.

Here’s Vicky Green, Associate at Gowling WLG. She gives her take on the recruitment process and tips for prospective candidates.

What is your organisation doing to become a game changer?

Empowering abilities – what you need to know…

Image shows three face symbols. The first is sad, the second has been turned into a smile by a person’s hand and the third is neutral.

I recently read an article that made me grin. Dustin Maynard entitled his article ‘The Secret to Disability Inclusion’. It made a strong impression because everything he said was just so darn true. Disability inclusion isn’t as complicated as people think. Focus on what people can do, rather than what they can’t. Look for strengths first, look at what people can offer. Focus on ability, not the disability. Once this mindset is in place, the rest gets easier. Here are three simple mindset leaps for you and your organisation to soar with:

Mindset leap 1: Why hire disabled people? Won’t it be a load of hassle?

Quit looking at the negatives about disability that you see in the media. There are rather a lot of benefits your organisation can’t afford to miss out on. Are you ready? Here are just a few…

If you include disabled people in your search for talent, you’ve got a wider talent pool to recruit from and a greater chance of finding the best person for the job. Disabled people tend to stay in their jobs longer, increasing retention. We are just as productive as non-disabled people but have fewer workplace accidents. And less sick time. Disabled people and their families are consumers with valuable spending power (£249 billion a year in the UK alone). Can you afford to ignore this? The costs associated with inclusion are far less than you might think, and the benefits far outweigh them.

Mindset leap 2: What if we do/say the wrong thing?

There’s no doubt about it. This is a scary mindset to overcome. It’s easy to say the wrong thing, but equally easy to ask what language is preferred. And it’s easy to learn. One of the best benefits of employing disabled people is that we’ll help your organisational culture shift naturally. We offer a different viewpoint, a fresh perspective as it were. Inclusive cultures attract more customers and the best candidates. Diversity increases both innovation and the bottom line.

To help people jump over this hurdle, Evenbreak developed a best practice portal. It allows everyone in the organisation to have access to a comprehensive and practical set of resources. And it’s for everyone, not just senior leaders. The resources are kept bite-sized, so you can dip in and learn as time allows. And it’s developed by the real experts: disabled people and employers who are already implementing best practice.

Mindset leap 3: How did you say we start again?

Just do it. Have a read of Dustin’s excellent article. Look at ability rather than disability. And if you get in a pickle and want a hand, drop us a line at info@evenbreak.co.uk

Celebrating the lesser spotted signs of inclusion

Text ‘Everyone Matters’ appearing behind ripped brown paper.

Commitment, true commitment, to diversity and inclusion isn’t seen all that often. And lack of inclusion has a significant impact on everyday lives. Social media means that we’re now privy to glimpses into other peoples lives in a way never experienced before. And it highlights that we have an awful lot to learn. Twitter, in particular, often leaves me feeling demoralised and depressed. People are dealing with everyday struggles over freedoms that so many of us take for granted. People in wheelchairs are still being moved by other people without consent. Parents are still unable to access changing places toilets for their disabled children. And not so long ago black ballet dancers had to hand paint their ballet slippers to match their skin tone. Because only pink slippers were available.

We have a long way to go and a lot to learn about inclusion. When you experience a lack of inclusion yourself or see its effect on someone you love, it’s very easy to become overwhelmed by anger. The unfairness of the situation grates. On the flip side, when you experience the simple joy of having your basic human needs met when you’re included, it’s like winning the jackpot. It shouldn’t be rare. But it is.

And like the lesser spotted woodpecker, we should celebrate it when we do see it. Here are a few small signs that change IS happening.

Invisible disabilities are more talked about…

Image shows symbols of a wheelchair, male and female with the words ‘Not every disability is visible’

The great signage debate has been ongoing in disability circles for some time. As our awareness of hidden disabilities increases, some feel a wheelchair symbol is no longer fit for purpose. But what symbol should we use? How can we include everyone? Such debate often paralyses decision making. So it made me smile when I wandered into Morrisons and saw the sign they’ve added to their toilet door. Simple, but a clear reminder that not all disabilities are visible. And it’s small reminders like this that help change culture. I haven’t seen a supermarket with a changing place toilet yet, but I hope to see that change soon.

More and more people are leading by example…

Business leaders are now being more open about the disabilities or differences that they have. Very often they can contribute these to their success. Mental health is beginning to lose its stigma. Awareness of inclusion is evident more often in everyday moments. Evenbreak’s Director, Jane Hatton, told us about one of these moments just last week. Jane is unable to sit for long periods and often attends events where she’ll be standing alone at a high table. This means she can attend the event. But during a dinner event, eating alone can be rather isolating, especially when you’re peering over, well, your peers! Imagine her surprise when one of her peers joined her at her table for the meal. Inclusion doesn’t need to have an accompanying policy to be effective.

‘Quiet hours’ are quietly increasing across UK stores and entertainment venues…

Shopping, soft play and theatre crowds can be stressful experiences for the best of us. But for individuals on the autistic spectrum the noise, glaring lights or proximity of people can lead to sensory overload. The accompanying distress it causes can be profound. Imagine being unable to access supermarkets, theatres, shopping centres? Happily, stores and venues are catching on that the purple pound is worth rather a lot. We are now seeing quiet hours being introduced in trial schemes across the UK. We’re yet to see it standardised in every supermarket. And certainly not with the necessary regularity and reliability. But it’s a start. And I for one am celebrating.

 

Comic Relief join Evenbreak and challenge diversity apathy

The much-loved British charity, Comic Relief, well known for tackling poverty and social injustice in the UK and around the world, is the latest client to join Evenbreak and commit to advertising all of their job vacancies with us.

Comic Relief is determined to not only attract more, talented disabled candidates, but also to address workplace issues. The charity has signed up for our ‘best practice portal’, a smorgasbord of resources, which guides employers on best practice around inclusion and accessibility in the workplace. We feel it’s like having an expert around to hold your hand! Liz Warner joined Comic Relief as Chief Executive in 2016 and recently spoke out about the lack of diversity in the charity sector.  At a recent NPC event, focused on challenging the sector’s sluggish rate of progress in embracing diversity, Liz said: “I’m still relatively new to the sector. When I joined, I was shocked at the lack of diversity. I feel like there’s a long way to go until the sector is fully inclusive.”

Championing diversity in the Third Sector

Liz added: “Internally, we are putting a real focus on how we can champion diversity.  We have started to share ideas across the organisation about the issues to consider and how we could work in new ways.  The appetite for this is really strong and we are only just getting started.”

Jane Hatton, Founder and Director of Evenbreak, applauds the charity for tackling this issue: “Comic Relief has demonstrated a genuine commitment to inclusion and accessibility and Evenbreak is delighted to be involved in their programme to positively attract disabled candidates.”

Diane Lightfoot is Chief Executive of the Business Disability Forum. She too has urged other charities to step up and lead the way on disability employment. Cost is often touted as the main barrier to diversity initiatives in the third sector. But Diane reminds leaders that ‘a disabled role model costs nothing’. She suggests charities need to ‘live our values and demonstrate what we are campaigning for when it comes to disability in the workplace’.

 

To advertise jobs on Evenbreak click here

 

To find jobs on Evenbreak click here

 

 

“I want to be an inclusive employer and recruit disabled people BUT…”

Stop making excuses, start making changes – handwriting on a napkin with a cup of coffee

Savvy employers are very aware there’s a skills shortage. They’re aware they need a wider talent pool to recruit from. And they’re aware that a diverse workforce is a good thing for business. So, what holds employers back from taking action? Changing the way they recruit? Tapping into new pools of talent?

Here are 3 of the excuses reasons we hear most often:

“So, I get that we’re missing out on 20% possible candidates. I get that employing disabled people equals profit. But how can someone in a wheelchair wait on tables?”

When a decision maker is presented with a new idea or a challenge to the ‘norm’, it is human nature to become risk averse. It’s rare for people to immediately see the possibilities being offered. Instead, most of us will come up with immediate, often flimsy, reasons as to why something won’t work. We are instinctive fault finders! Julia Galef, of the Center for Applied Rationality, suggests our brains are lazy. She argues that you should never accept your brain’s first answer to anything.  And encourages decision makers to move past the initial ‘cognitive laziness’. Instead, take some time to develop a more considered or rational response.

1 in 6 of the working age population is disabled or has a long-term health condition. That’s an awful lot of people to ignore. And only 8% of disabled people in the UK are wheelchair users. Disabled people, like the rest of the population, are a diverse bunch of people with a diverse bunch of skills. Candidates will apply for jobs that they are able to do. Occasionally, candidates might need some adjustments. But most disabled candidates don’t require any. Or only adjustments with no cost attached. And for adjustments that do have a financial cost attached, the cost is usually very low. Access to work can help with any issues that arise. Accessibility and inclusion should be considered in an organisation regardless. It’s worth remembering that both benefit not just employees, but your customers too.

“We would love to employ more disabled people, but they just don’t apply”

Most employers describe themselves as equal opportunity employers. But this information is often found at the bottom of the job advert as a tacked-on paragraph to the main affair.  No employer writes that they discriminate on a daily basis against disabled people. But sadly, the experience of disabled candidates tells us otherwise. Disabled people face many barriers. It begins with attitudes and perceptions, followed by inaccessible recruitment processes. And can culminate in a lack of accessibility in the workplace itself.

Many disabled candidates will only apply if they are confident of two things: Firstly, that their application will be considered seriously. Secondly, that they are sure they can fulfil the requirements of the role.  To attract a diverse range of applicants, employers need to communicate their commitment to inclusion effectively.

“We understand that by ignoring the needs of disabled people our business is losing money and we want to become more inclusive, but we’re scared of getting it wrong”

It’s estimated that by ignoring the needs of disabled people, businesses are losing approximately £1.8 billion a month. Employing disabled people helps an organisation to increase its understanding of this market. Additionally, it raises disability awareness and develops a more inclusive culture in the workplace. Businesses that embrace inclusion tend to see a positive correlation between profitability, employee morale and engagement.  The fear of using the ‘wrong’ terminology, offending somebody or making incorrect assumptions is understandable. And many of us will get things wrong. But we learn. And develop. And then the magic happens! Once a company overcomes their fear and starts seeing disabled employees as an asset, they open the doors to:

  • Access to a wider talent pool
  • A more loyal, engaged and productive workforce
  • An increase in revenue, profits and market share

 

To talk through your excuses  reasons for not employing disabled people, sign up to our best practice portal or advertise on our jobs board, please contact Janeh@evenbreak.co.uk

We promise she doesn’t bite.

 

 

Want to learn about diversity and inclusion? 10 books to read…

Last week I was having a big old think. Do some of us only become engaged with inequalities that affect us as individuals? I was more than a little nervous suggesting this. But I got some interesting responses and BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS. Something which always makes me happy. So, without further waffle, here are the 10 books recommended by a bunch of clever folks. Have a read. Or better yet, start your own learning and development library – a small step to make your own workforce more inclusive.

A Dozen Brilliant Reasons to Employ Disabled People: Why successful businesses see inclusion as an asset rather than a problem by Jane Hatton.

If you have ever wanted to understand (or help others understand) the business case for employing disabled people, this is the definitive book for you. Using evidence from a wide range of research, case studies and personal experience, every aspect of the workplace is examined in relation to inclusivity, providing a compelling business case relevant to every sector. “In all our UK internal training on accessibility, it is first on the recommended reading list.” Michael Vermeersch, Digital Inclusion Lead, Microsoft.

What the **** is Normal?! by Francesca Martinez.

If you grow up in a world where wrinkles are practically illegal, going bald is cause for a mental breakdown, and women over size zero are encouraged to shoot themselves (immediately), what the hell do you do if you’re, gasp … DISABLED?
Whatever body you’re born into, the pressure to be normal is everywhere. But have you ever met a normal person? What do they look like? Where do they live? What do they eat for breakfast?
And what the **** does normal mean anyway?
This is the award-winning wobbly comedian Francesca Martinez’s funny, personal, and universal story of how she learned to stick two shaky fingers up to the crazy expectations of a world obsessed with being ‘normal’.

Secrets & Big News: Enabling people to be themselves at work by Kate Nash OBE

Secrets & Big News is an engaging read about the subject of ‘declaration’ and ‘disclosure’ of disability in the workplace. Based on a two-year research project, the book details the reasons why people find it hard to share information and offers ideas for both employers and employees alike. 55 employers took part in the study and together they reached just over 2,500 of their employees who offered their views about what makes it hard to share personal information, as well as what makes it easier. The book is triggering a wave of new conversations between valuable employees and UK and global businesses. The book is not about medicine, politics or disability rights: it’s about what it means to be human and how employers can retain their talented people through periods of ill health and disability.

Why are You Pretending to be Normal? by Phil Friend and Dave Rees.

Do you want to manage your disability positively? Feeling frustrated that people do not understand your needs?

If you have a disability, then you should listen to this audiobook. Why Are You Pretending to Be Normal? asks the questions that anyone with a disability needs to ask themselves.

This engaging story offers viewpoints and ideas that have already inspired many disabled people to stop simply coping with their disability and start managing it. This enables them to lead more productive and fulfilling lives.  Phil Friend and Dave Rees present practical tools and techniques that have helped so many people to successfully tackle some of the most challenging aspects of their disabilities.

The Politics of Disablement by Michael Oliver

Dominant views of disability as an individual and medical problems have been vigorously challenged by disabled people in recent years. This book, by an author who is himself disabled, looks at the individualised and medicalised views of disability, describes the way they have been produced in capitalist society, and analyses the possibilities for change. Essential reading for anyone who wishes to understand the true nature of disability, especially as disability comes to occupy a prominent place on the political agenda.

Pride Against Prejudice: Transforming Attitudes to Disability: A Personal Politics of Disability by Jenny Morris.

“Disabled people throughout the world are increasingly naming and confronting the prejudice which we daily experience, expressing our anger at the discrimination we face, and insisting that our lives have value. This book has grown out of the struggles through which, over the last decade or so, disabled people, and particularly disabled women, have asserted our reality. It is an attempt to analyse the nature of the prejudice we experience and to articulate the growing strength of our pride in ourselves. It has also been within the last decade that I myself developed an identity as a disabled woman, an identity which has been a source of much anger at the prejudice and discrimination that I and other disabled people face. But it is also an identity which has been an increasing source of strength and liberation.” Jenny Morris

The Inclusion Imperative: How Real Inclusion Creates Better Business and Builds Better Societies by Stephen Frost

The Inclusion Imperative showcases the inspiring commitment to inclusion the London Olympic and Paralympic Games’ organizing committee espoused and details the techniques and frameworks that enabled it to truly deliver a ‘Games for everyone’ at London 2012. Diversity and inclusion expert, Stephen Frost, challenges preconceived ideas and strives to inspire professionals to tackle inclusion in their organizations with courage, creativity and talent. With highly relatable examples, The Inclusion Imperative constitutes the best argument to convince sceptics that real diversity and inclusion can deliver more engaged employees and customers, improved employee recruitment and retention, increase productivity and better group decision-making processes.

Real inclusion saves money and improves efficiency in the systems of an organisation, making the world a better place as a by-product.

Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race: The Sunday Times Bestseller by Reni Eddo-Lodge.

The book that sparked a national conversation. Exploring everything from eradicated black history to the inextricable link between class and race, Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race, is the essential handbook for anyone who wants to understand race relations in Britain today.

A revelation … Undoubtedly essential (Spectator)

This is a book that was begging to be written. This is the kind of book that demands a future where we’ll no longer need such a book. Essential (Marlon James, Man Booker Prize-Winner 2015)

Set to blow apart the understanding of race relations in this country (Stylist)

The Spirit Level: Why Equality is Better for Everyone by Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett

Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett’s The Spirit Level: Why Equality is Better for Everyone is the most influential and talked-about book on society in the last decade – now updated with a new chapter on the controversy the book has ignited.

Why do we mistrust people more in the UK than in Japan? Why do Americans have higher rates of teenage pregnancy than the French? What makes the Swedish thinner than the Australians? The answer: inequality. This ground breaking book, based on years of research, provides hard evidence to show: How almost everything – from life expectancy to mental illness, violence to illiteracy – is affected not by how wealthy a society is, but how equal it is. That societies with a bigger gap between rich and poor are bad for everyone in them – including the well-off. How we can find positive solutions and move towards a happier, fairer future.

Demystifying Diversity: A Handbook to Navigate Equality, Diversity and Inclusion by Jiten Patel and Gamiel Yafai.

This engaging and comprehensive tour of the world of diversity in the workplace is authoritative, yet witty and well told. Demystifying Diversity is an important book – a vital navigational tool for anyone getting to grips with the importance of diversity across the spectrum of today’s society.

This book is aimed at anyone with responsibility in company management as well as business professionals and HR practitioners.

 

I’d love to hear about any other recommendations people have. To connect and keep in touch click here.

To advertise jobs on Evenbreak click here

To find jobs on Evenbreak click here

To find out more about best practice around disability in the workplace look here

I consider inequalities (but only if they affect me)

As a new member of the Evenbreak team, I am on a steep diversity and inclusion learning curve. Although years of nursing experience has given me a great start, I didn’t know how much there still was to learn. This means that equality and inequality in the workforce are pretty much all I talk about now (that and dogs). It also means that I’m always asking friends how inclusive their employers are.

Conversations go something like this:

“Morning Rach, how are you? Can you tell me what percentage of disabled people your workforce has?”

When friends aren’t crossing the street to avoid me, I learn a lot. For example, one friend has an employer who is beginning to think about diversity. As a result, they have started a gender equality working group.

As a woman and a single parent, this is important to me. Because I have experienced the disadvantages of being a single, female, working parent many times. I know we need decision makers to make changes, act, consider us. But what about everyone else? And the disadvantages they face? Do we only think about the inequalities we understand or experience ourselves? And is there a hierarchy of inequity? To create a diverse workforce do we need separate working groups for each group of people facing inequalities? Or do we need an inequalities network? To consider inequality wherever it may raise its head, and in whatever form.

Do you know what you don’t know?

I’m learning a lot.  And there’s so much more to learn. The Founder of Evenbreak, Jane Hatton, posted on LinkedIn recently and gave me a head start.  She recommended that all white people read Reni Eddo-Lodge’s book: “Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race”. Consequently, it’s next on my ‘to read’ list. I don’t want to be someone that only considers the inequalities that affect me. And I bet your organisation doesn’t want to do that either. So, what else to read? I’d love to hear your thoughts and recommendations…

To advertise jobs on Evenbreak click here

To find jobs on Evenbreak click here

And to find out more about best practice around disability in the workplace take a peek here