Lisa Charlwood-Green: Action is needed to tackle hate in Scottish workplaces ahead of diversity conference
Lisa Charlwood-Green, director and founder of the WOW network, discusses the action required to eradicate religious and cultural hate from Scottish workplaces.
Close to 100 business leaders are expected to attend the Strive to Thrive diversity conference in Glasgow later this month, which aims to create belonging in the workplace through diversity and inclusion (D&I).
The event, organised by Connect Three, Scotland’s first B-Corp accredited leadership consultancy, has been hailed as an opportunity to equip Scotland’s business leaders and change makers with actionable tools to advance workplace diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging (DEIB), while also demonstrating the associated benefits and opportunities for progressive businesses.
We need to be very mindful of the fact that although Scotland is a welcoming country, there are still pockets of hate borne through religion and culture. That hate can come into the workplace too.
Unfortunately, although many do, some businesses still aren’t taking diversity and inclusion seriously, and many organisations are guilty of tokenism and othering which are incredibly harmful and need to be eradicated from Scotland’s workplaces.
I will be sharing personal stories at the event to highlight the struggles faced by marginalised employees as well as some of the solutions available to businesses.
As a nation, we need to make sure that we don’t just speak with ambition, we show it with our actions too, being active allies and celebrating a diverse population and by extension, workforce. A more diverse workplace is happy, more creative and has better staff retention.
My advice for business leaders is to embrace reverse mentorship, where a junior employee helps to fill knowledge gaps of a senior employee, to truly understand lived experiences, and then do something about it.
The Strive to Thrive conference will provide a platform for inclusive charities to talk directly to business leaders about their work. Representatives from two Scottish charities working with and advocating for people with disabilities, I Am Me and Project Ability, will also be in attendance.
Other speakers include Viana Maya, founder of pRESPECT; Thiago Carmo, Managing Director at Passion4Social; and Dr Sonali Mohapatra, Chair of the New Voices in Space Working group.
Scotland is making progress on diversity through a range of initiatives, but we are far from doing enough. The biggest barriers are prejudice (against disabled people, immigrants, social class, and other diverse backgrounds) and resistance to doing things differently. Hence, the antidotes are being more open to learning new ways and giving opportunities to those normally employers would not give.
Increased diversity and inclusion lead to higher productivity, collaboration, flexibility in decision making and versatility in tackling problems. It’s about removing prejudice, and leaders can achieve this by giving opportunities, using unbiased recruitment, and looking at people as people without labels.