A whistle-stop tour of 2022 in seven blogs

By Suzanne Bird

As we look back on a very exciting and busy year for Voice At The Table, we have been reflecting upon the wide range of topics we have covered in our weekly newsletters, and which ones have most caught our readers’ attention.

This year’s newsletters and blogs have taken our 8 Inclusive Behaviours(SM), designed to deliver the benefits of diversity through increased inclusion, as an over-arching theme. The Inclusive Behaviours include four Inclusion Behaviours that help us be more inclusive – Empathy, Listening, Mitigating Bias and Personal Values – and four Diversity Behaviours that help us invite difference – Humility & Vulnerability, Valuing  Difference, Use of Language and Speaking Out.

These Behaviours have provided a loose thematic framework for different pieces of writing, from personal stories to helpful tips and workplace case studies. To celebrate this variety, I would like to share with you the seven most-read newsletter blogs of 2022. I hope you enjoy revisiting them with us!

Getting Started

Mark Walley, CEO of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP), kindly wrote a guest blog for our first newsletter of 2022. Rather appropriately, this was on the subject of Getting Started With Diversity And Inclusion and Mark shared his experience of starting to introduce more D&I awareness and inclusive behaviours into STEP’s workplace culture. They have pursued numerous initiatives including their innovative “Windows into Lives” posts on Teams. As Mark explained, ‘Here, colleagues share something about themselves; their beliefs, culture, community or a calendar day that others may not know so much about. It has been a great opportunity for colleagues to share and to learn. Through that there has been much greater understanding, appreciation and empathy.’

In January, Rina Goldenberg Lynch introduced our 8 Inclusive Behaviours(SM) in her blog, The Power of Inclusion. Rina described how ‘Each one of the 8 Behaviours is designed to help us improve in the way we connect with others – be it our colleagues, suppliers or customers.  Understanding the behaviours and improving in them increases our performance, engagement and connection with the world around us.’ To sum up the behaviour Empathy as an example, Rina quoted Atticus Finch in Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird: You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view… until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.

The Impact of our Personal Values

Inge Woudstra contributed several very useful newsletters this year, often sharing ideas and tips to help break systemic bias and embed more inclusive practices in organisations. Reflecting on how the Inclusive Behaviour area of Personal Values can be applied to recruitment practices, Inge set out five practical ways in which an organisation can effectively attract candidates that reflect the company’s values and help it to benefit from increased diversity in its workforce. The tips are based on changes we have recommended to clients to reduce bias in the attraction process that, once implemented, have had real impact. You can read the article here: 5 Tips to Help You Attract Candidates for Diversity.

Still on the theme of Personal Values, Rina’s blog examining The Importance of Values was also very popular with readers. Rina wrote, ‘Company values can provide that sense of belonging by giving people certainty around the cultural framework of shared values.  Having shared values is key to any sense of community, within or outside the workplace.’

Mitigating Bias

While we were exploring Mitigating Bias and its impact as an Inclusive Behaviour,  Rina wrote a piece examining Common Biases Towards Women in the Workplace. This blog considered the damage these biases can inflict both on individual careers and on companies themselves, whilst making some simple suggestions on how to identify and tackle them.

I followed this up with a short blog that asked the question, Do We Really Need More #Breakthebias Campaigns? Although we have come a long way in recent decades, a quick look at recent news stories revealing lingering biases against women made it clear that – spoiler alert! – there is still a lot of work to do.

Speaking Out

Later in the year, we were exploring how we can all support inclusion by Speaking Out about bias and injustices at work. To give people the confidence to speak up when they witness inequality and a lack of inclusive practices, psychological safety is essential within teams. Inge’s popular blog on this topic, 7 Tips for Creating Safe Spaces for Speaking Out at Work, set out to help leaders develop an environment where people feel safe to share their thoughts and observations. Inge says, ‘These tips will help to ensure that people feel encouraged not only to share but also to disagree and be disagreed with, and know it’s okay to get it wrong.’ And if we can all do that, we know we are working in a safe space!

What’s Next?

We will continue to shape our weekly writings around a main theme in 2023, and this time we will use Voice At The Table’s Diversity Journey Roadmap©, so watch out for our first Roadmap blog in January!