Local Businesses Make a Pledge to Equality and Diversity

At LIBS Connect, on Thursday 8 March, local business professionals made a pledge to honour principles of inclusion within their workplace. This event was supported by Lincolnshire Business Growth Hub and the University’s Eleanor Glanville Centre and welcomed over 100 representatives from local, national and international organisations, as well with staff from the University of Lincoln for a day of talks, discussion and networking, focussed on how we, as a business community, could embrace diversity and make their workplace more inclusive.

We welcomed guests from businesses from a range of sectors and sizes of organisation including Selenity, Siemens, A Schulman Ltd, The Minster School, Associated British Ports, the Woldmarsh Group, Resonance Voice Training, Lincolnshire Business Growth Hub and many others.

Delegates were asked to pledge to what they would do to be more inclusive in the workplace and society. Pledges included promising to “call out” any discriminatory behaviour, to be more aware of colleagues’ differences, to be more aware of one’s unconscious bias and the judgements we make without realising it, consider how we can find flexible ways of working

Coinciding with International Women’s Day 2018, keynote speakers Caroline Killeavy, CEO of Lincolnshire YMCA and Sally Everett, Deputy Dean at Anglia Ruskin University offered the audience practical, theoretical and innovative ways of ensuring a workplace is inclusive to all.

Sally Everett said of the event “A truly excellent day. Thank you for the opportunity to talk about so many equality, diversity and inclusion projects that are close to my heart.  A very well organised and thought provoking day”

Using the “World Café” discussion format, delegates discussed many of the challenge and opportunities afforded to business by employing people from different backgrounds. Emma Kinna, Executive Development Manager, explained what that is “The World Café methodology is a simple, effective, and flexible format for hosting large group dialogue. The model allowed us to facilitate round table discussions about different challenges focusing on inclusion. Each table focused on a different question, and the delegates moved around tables for each question making sure they spoke to as many different people as possible.”

The final talk of the day, by Dr Deirdre Anderson, challenged us to become more aware of our unconscious bias, which happens by our brains making incredibly quick judgments and assessments of people and situations without us realising.

Dawn Owen, Head of Training at from Grafton Buildbase, said of the event how she enjoyed “meeting like-minded people ..because we all can fall into the everyday acceptance of it is what it is BUT it takes courage to make change and it will not happen on its own.” Richard Hardesty, Operations Manager at Anglian Water “The World Café was great – informative and engaging, I learnt lots!”

Dr Craig Marsh, Pro Vice Chancellor for the Lincoln International Business School said “The day generated many great ideas on how to embed inclusivity, starting from the top. It is significant that local businesses have taken the step to sign our charter and we are confident that this has heightened awareness around this important issue. LIBS Connect has become a pivotal event in Lincolnshire, providing a unique blend of practical business advice complemented by academia”

If you want to hear more on this topic, please come to our next LIBS Connect Seminar (a shorter workshp based free event) run in Partnership with the Lincolnshire IOD and Chatterton’s Solicitors on how to lead globalised workforces.  https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/libs-connect-seminar-the-globalised-workforce-practical-ways-to-embrace-diversity-tickets-43742184050

Our next LIBS Connect flagship event will take place on 27th June from 4pm and will focus on what we in the business community can learn about leadership from the world of sport.