Well, after a busy couple of weeks in the not for profit sector, I am glad to say that the Foresight seminar went spectacularly well last Saturday. Delegates from Inspiration FM, Baobab Venture, Patel Samaj and Northampton Somali Forum were able to join us.
The conclusions from the meeting were very much initiated by Alan Chapman (Businessballs). He provided his impartial business viewpoint on how he saw people around the table working together to unify ideas and activities within their existing strategies. One major potential is that of forming an alliance to co-deliver voluntary sector services together. The delegates that attended agreed to re-group in 2 months time to bring their first stage strategic planning tools to the table.
The event of the 12th allowed me to reflect on an interesting article that came my way in June. It referred to a recent study published in the American Sociological Review (April 2009). It reported that companies reporting the highest levels of racial diversity brought in nearly 15 times more sales revenue on average than those with the lowest levels of racial diversity.
I followed up this week by reading article stating that two thirds of white collar jobs are found through conversations with someone you know or an associate of somebody that you know (Source: Associations Now). Ever heard of the term People buy People?!
Fairness is something that I am very passionate about. Race discrimination has been outlawed for some thirty years. The voluntary and community sector needs to stand proud that it does not rely on just the legal requirements of race discrimination to change landscapes.
Anyhow, as a practical advocate of diversity and equality implementation, I will keep you posted about progress made with any such co-operative as things unfurl, working alongside delivery partners.
Equality Bill Updates
I have wished to blog details of updates on the Equality Bill and what this means to society. This year, there has been a rise in Employment Tribunal cases in the workplace. In particular, small business owners are not seeking legal or HR advice before making staff redundant. ACAS has seen a 22% rise in unfair dismissal conciliation cases. (Source: Workplace Law Network).
I am very lucky to have experienced a more representative workforce than most people I know during my career. I am even luckier to have experienced firsthand the talents that exist within such a diverse workforce and have been involved in the acknowledgement of the diverse input and the ways in which people and services are deployed to produce the balancing fact.
Gains from exchange depend on difference
Diversity is not just about celebrating difference, it is about acknowledging different skills. In the context of a paid workforce supported by volunteers, we all have a duty to ensure that racial diversity brings with it both opportunities for economic prosperity using these talents. Gains from exchange depend on differences after all. All of the following are practical ways of supporting this equality framework:-
- Be aware of competing and conflicting rights to balance the needs of the individual and the voluntary sector organisation
- Think inclusively when devising new policies to offer different things to differing needs
- Revise policies and procedures to ensure fairness and compliance with the law on flexible working, dress code/uniforms, flexible canteen menus, time off for religious observation.
- Consider the introduction of support networks to encourage getting to know people better.
- Have clear career paths including promotion and training opportunities for employees and volunteers.
- Explain the purpose of equality audits and talk about the need to change internal policy before it is published.
- When attending a forum or meeting that constitutes a sea of indigenous participants only, consider what can be done practically to increase promotion of event to black and minority ethnic participants.
I met a professional gardener this week who told me that since he joined Business Network International (Northants and Leicester branch) he has received more than 50 business referrals per year from associates around the table. We all have to be in it to win it so don’t miss out.
Have a good weekend! I hope to see some of you at the Somali Forum Eid Celebrations this weekend!