Inclusion: Backing Up Our Words With Actions!

By Liz Swan, Talent and Engagement Manager,  Longhurst Group, named 21st in the top 100 Most Inclusive Workplaces Index 2021 at the FREDIE Awards.





One of the key aims of Longhurst Group’s Improving Lives strategy, which was introduced in 2019, is to create an inclusive culture.

This has always been high on our agenda but, following George Floyd’s murder, which accentuated a lot of issues being experienced worldwide, like many other organisations, we issued a statement about what had happened.

Determined to back up those words with action, we’ve redoubled our efforts to improve equality, diversity and inclusion across the Group. We know it’s a significant issue to tackle but we’re determined to have a culture that values difference.

We’ve since worked with partner organisations, raised awareness through internal communications campaigns and sourced new learning and development opportunities for our colleagues.

This included a ‘Voice At The Table’ session, which was delivered by the excellent Rina Goldenberg Lynch and helped our leadership teams understand the hallmarks of an inclusive leader.

We also partnered with the National Centre for Diversity, introducing the FREDIE (Fairness, Respect, Equality, Diversity, Inclusion and Engagement) principles and working hard to ensure colleagues were fully aware of our plans to improve fairness, respect, equality, diversity, inclusion and respect, and understand what they could do to help.

It was a new acronym for us, but the context of what it meant was already embedded in our values and our culture and that has really helped.

Taking part in the Investors in Diversity cultural survey provided a foundation for us to better understand the culture of our organisation and how colleagues felt, and the results provided an evidence base and the insight we needed to develop an action plan.

We’re also determined to focus on individual behaviours and actions, proactively tackling discrimination, and disadvantage. It’s crucial that we raise awareness of unacceptable behaviours, supporting colleagues to speak up, challenge and report any poor behaviour they witness.

By really understanding the benefits of having diversity in the workplace, and championing ED&I, it will help us develop our inclusive culture and stand out as an employer of choice.

We all contribute to inclusion, so everybody in the organisation has a key role to play. To be truly inclusive, people should feel comfortable to bring their whole self to work. The way we collaborate, having the courage to share our personal perspective, will help others to do the same and this will lead to more engaged and higher performing workforce.

Ultimately, inclusion in the workplace is where colleagues feel they are being treated fairly and with respect.

When colleagues feel valued and that they have an equal opportunity to succeed, working with leaders who display inclusive behaviours, it helps them feel an emotional attachment to their work and more engaged with their job and the organisation.

We can be proud of what we’ve achieved so far, particularly our work with the National Centre for Diversity which saw us benchmarked against other organisations and ranked nationally as the 21st most inclusive organisation to work for.

But, as with our words, we want those results to be backed up with actions. We know there’s much more to do but it’s great to be on that journey. Now we’ve started, we’re not going to stop as we continue to foster an inclusive culture with ED&I at the heart of everything we do.