Three steps to creating a more diverse and inclusive office environment

Monday 26 September 2022 marks the beginning of National Inclusion Week. This week-long initiative celebrates inclusion in all its forms – especially within the workplace

At Wellington Place, we’re committed to creating welcoming spaces, and championing the inclusive cultures and diverse workforces which we believe are key to success. We host a regular Inclusivity and Diversity Working Group, which invites members of the Wellington Place community to come together to share ideas and discuss best practice across a number of different initiatives.

To support National Inclusion Week, we spoke to the members of the working group and asked them to share advice on how to create a more diverse and inclusive office environment.

1. Visibility is key

Wendy Ramshaw, Head of DEI and Emerging Talent at Squire Patton Boggs (UK) LLP, tells us: “To create a lasting impact, inclusion and diversity must become embedded in the culture of our firm and its DNA.”

It’s great to communicate your values to employees. However, it’s even better to make sure your values are clearly visible to all. Squire Patton Boggs does this in several ways, such as encouraging the use of pronouns in email signatures. The firm also provides ongoing disability awareness training and hosts a range of network groups across areas like multiculturalism, age diversity and social mobility.

Additionally, the legal firm has created an interfaith information guide which highlights key dates in the religious calendar. Staff are reminded to be respectful of the times when colleagues and clients may be taking time away from the workplace.

Wendy adds: “Most recently, we hosted a number of initiatives during Ramadan. This included highlighting our specific Religious Observance Policy, reminders of our prayer room facilities and a charitable ‘fast for a day’ to help colleagues understand more about the effects of fasting on a working day.”

Find out more on how to support your Muslim colleagues during times of fasting in our Ramadan blog.


2. Lend a listening ear

Part of creating an inclusive workplace is establishing an environment where people feel empowered to raise concerns, confident that their voices will be listened to.

That’s precisely why Wates Construction hosts regular listening groups. Nikunj Upadhyay, Inclusion and Diversity Director, explains how the groups have helped empower employees, particularly women and people of colour, to flag issues affecting them across the industry. This crucial feedback has led to the introduction of a suite of new measures including “the launch of enhanced anti-bullying and harassment policies, and the creation of a safe space through our Employee Network Programme.”

While Nikunj acknowledges that the construction industry still has some way to go, providing staff with a safe space to speak out is a crucial step in helping to build a more inclusive organisation.

3. Take it out of the office

Creating a more diverse and inclusive workplace needs to be embedded into every part of a business, and that includes its out of office culture”, Pauline Davison, Client Director at Mazars UK shares.

It’s so simple, yet it’s an award-winning approach – Mazars varies the team activities at work socials, ensuring that some are alcohol-free so that non-drinkers do not feel excluded.

Pauline tells us: “We are proud of our Diversity & Inclusion Award won at this year’s Yorkshire Accountancy Awards, which recognised our comprehensive approach to inclusivity within our workplace.”

Thanks to all those who took part in the blog. Click here to find out more about National Inclusion Week, and if you work at Wellington Place and are passionate about diversity and inclusion in your own workplace, please click here to join our next Wellington Place Inclusivity and Diversity Working Group.