Why We Need To Disrupt Diversity

The Article below appeared in The Voice Online 14th November 2019

Today (November 14) marks Equal Pay Day, which highlights around inequality in pay. The event comes at a time where there is also growing concern about the ethnicity pay gap in the UK. Here Dianne Greyson of Synergised Solutions argues we need to take a fresh look at diversity if we to achieve equal pay in the UK

ETHNICITY PAY GAP: Business organisations should be encouraged to look at their equality, diversity and inclusion programmes as a human rights issue, says Dianne Greyson

THE EQUALITY and Human Rights Commission recently reported that the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) launched a study into the causes of inequality in Britain. One of the areas cited was the widening inequality in pay.

Other research by the Resolution Foundation has identified a £3.2 billion pay gap between BAME and their white counterparts. We can safely say that this is a real issue that needs to be addressed.

I am the founder of the #EthnicityPayGap movement which has been going for over a year now. Its sole purpose is to highlight the injustice that has been perpetrated against BAME in the workplace. The lack of publicity about the Ethnicity Pay Gap issue continues to frustrates me.

I see a lot of media coverage about the gender pay gap but hardly anything about the Ethnicity Pay Gap. How can the gender pay gap really be closed without first addressing the Ethnicity Pay Gap as black women are known to be adversely affected by both.

EQUALITY: The #EthnicityPayGap movement is campaigning for a time when people’s bias are not used to inform their decisions of others

In my quest to raise awareness, I have reached out to people in the public eye to support the movement. I was so pleased that Carrie Gracie, ex-BBC China News Editor and currently presenter of BBC News has given her support to the movement.

Carrie is fully aware of the importance of the #EthnicityPayGap movement to bring about change. She has used her voice to also give support to the Gender Pay Gap.

It has been widely reported that there has been a significant increase in online disability hate crime.

Leonard Cheshire, a disability charity, obtained data which has highlighted a 33 per cent increase in reported incidents. We are also seeing more reports of lack of support for people with disabilities.

One particular exchange my company had with a HR professional who was asking for advice as a client she was working with was reluctant to provide reasonable adjustments to an employee.

We informed her that the client has a duty of care to make these adjustments. Also the Equality Act 2010 assures that this must happen.

Neurodiversity is an area that has been in the press quite often recently. Many organisations are still afraid to hire people who would class themselves and neurodiverse, such as people with ADHD, dyslexia, dyspraxia, etc.

In a recent edition of Personnel Today magazine, Ross Duncan said, more support is available to employees that are neurodiverse but there is still away to go.

Classified as ‘invisible disability’, neurodiverse people still struggle to find employment because some employers are not willing to consider anyone who thinks differently than them.

I am a neurodiverse person, I have dyslexia.

I managed my condition without support and was able to hide my challenges throughout my career. I am one of many people who can hold themselves up as an example as a high functioning neurodiverse individual.

We know that there are people such as Richard Branson, who is dyslexic, and others who have gone on to be extremely successful so there is enough empirical evidence to show that we are an asset to anyone who wishes to hire us.

SUCCESS: Leading entrepreneur Richard Branson, is one of the many people who is extremely successful despite being dyslexic

Disrupting Diversity is about dealing with all the issues mentioned above.

They never seem to be front and centre when it comes to equality, diversity and inclusion programmes.

Disability and race, often are mentioned,  it seems occasionally in the media, but never given equal billing to gender. That is why we feel it is important to address this issue by dedicating a conference to those who feel their voices are not being heard.

Moreover, we will be providing solutions to ensure their voices are heard.

It is our belief that we need to encourage organisations to look at their equality, diversity and inclusion programmes as a human rights issue.

In doing so, all people will be considered. There will be no need to favour one over another and it will allow for more positive engagement within an organisation.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission clearly demonstrates the importance of acknowledging the need for people rights to respected and for people to be treated fairly.

Organisations now need to not only do the right thing but need to demonstrate positive leadership in this area.

Now is the time for action especially given the rise in hate crime which affects many of us.

Society has a challenge to eradicate poor behaviours which will no doubt permeate into organisations in both the public and private sectors.

What we decide to do today will determine our future and it is important that we make the right choice.

Organisations who have already made their mark in creating an inclusive culture such as PWC, Deloitte, and EY for example, are becoming champions of human rights.

The way forward is unity, enhancing the power of people of all persuasions to come together for the common good of the organisation and society.

It is not enough for business leaders to say ‘we are an inclusive organisation’. You need to demonstrate that you are an inclusive one by your actions.

There are organisations out there who pertain to be championing diversity but do nothing to cultivate an inclusive workplace.

Working on gender issues does not make an inclusive company, an organisations that works for all employees demonstrates the true meaning of inclusivity.

ACTION SPEAKS LOUDER THAN WORDS: Greyson says there are organisations who claim to be championing diversity but do nothing to cultivate an inclusive workplace

Those of you who follow me will know that I often say: “action speaks louder than words.” I don’t just say it, I live by those words myself.

To enable organisations to understand the need to treat all their employees fairly and respectfully, I have written a book called Business Culture Review to help organisations be more effective in their approach to dealing with employee matters.

My colleagues and I have also co-created a programme to humanise the approach to dealing with all types of discrimination. It is my belief that a fresh approach is needed to enable us to address discrimination in all its forms.

We as a collective wish to be part of something that disrupts the negativity which we have seen embroil organisations. If we can value all people within our organisations we will be able to identify the necessary changes that we all need to make to allow people to have a positive experience in the workplace.

What can organisations do?

  • Up-skill leaders at all levels to become more emotionally and culturally intelligent to enable them to fully appreciate the needs of their employees, have a real strategy that will work across the organisation, not piecemeal.
  • Have people champions across the business who understand the need for change and the need for an inclusive environment.
  • Don’t be afraid to make adjustments to you strategy if necessary, so your strategy becomes focus on success.
  • Always have an accountability line, levels of accountability are key to make the strategy work.
  • Finally, the C-suite should be accountable for the success of implementing a successful strategy of inclusivity.

We live for a time where people’s biases are not used to inform their decisions of others. Cultivation of good practise is a process seen right around an organisation. Employee value is given high currency and not just seen as a commodity. Change starts with you the individual, you the organisation and society.

Dianne Greyson is the Managing Partner of Synergised Solutions

For more information about the forthcoming Disrupting Diversity conference send your request for further information to info@disruptingdiversity.org