Inclusiveness is a universal issue that resonates with us all. Whether it is eating lunch alone, not being invited to the pub, or not being considered for a task you can complete, we all know what being excluded feels like. However, there is a disconnect between these personal experiences and our actions in creating an inclusive culture at work. We believe inclusiveness is about being aware of this disconnect and making the conscious decision to act on this awareness in everyday life.
So how do we translate this definition into practice at Bravura? And how does Covid-19 change things? We posed these very questions to colleagues from our UK, India, Poland, and South Africa offices one Friday afternoon. The aim of the conversation was not to find a perfect answer that we could put in a pretty font and plaster across our websites. It was about provoking people to think about what inclusiveness means to them and question whether their everyday actions represent their beliefs.
Creating a culture of inclusion
Individual daily actions create the culture and ethos of a workplace, not catchy slogans in email signatures. An inclusive culture encourages people to speak out if they feel they have been excluded. Workplace inclusiveness is a two-way street. Companies need to take an active role in making people feel valued and a part of something. Every individual also has a part to play; sometimes you must get yourself invited to the party, but not everyone feels confident to speak out, and that’s where the company steps in. Everyone is responsible for inclusiveness, both for themselves and others.
We wondered if our inclusion methods were up to scratch for remote staff onboarding; however, we were not expecting to find out the hard way. During the lockdown, we had a new Project Management Apprentice join the team, but despite speaking every day, we have not yet met. We had to adapt to fit the ‘new normal’. The first few weeks at a new job is quite an experience, and we wanted to make sure this was a positive one. Seemingly trivial things often make the most significant impact. We scheduled fortnightly team socials to provide an opportunity to grab a drink and talk about things non-work related. One week, we did the ‘Are you smarter than a 10-year-old’ quiz? We must admit, discovering that our intelligence is just about on par with a 10-year-old is a little discouraging!
Doing it alone
Covid-19 has created a unique situation for us all. When most people imagine an inclusive working culture, they picture a brightly lit office with people smiling at each other as they walk past, collaborating and socialising. A bit like one big family. But that image is not so easy to imagine when sitting at home working remotely. We’re no longer able to rely on those kitchen chats, face to face meetings and just walking over to someone’s desk for a conversation. We’re now having to communicate by speaking into a computer screen during our endless Skype meetings.
Definitions change over time. As Bravura grows and evolves, we should be held to higher standards and challenge whether we do enough to include others. We don’t necessarily have all the answers right now, but we’re talking about it, and that’s a promising place to start!