- Corporate workplace diversity expert, Lisa Charlwood-Green, laments ‘pockets of hate’ in Scotland and urges business leaders to ‘do something about it’
- Scottish business leaders invited to conference on diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging
- Connect Three organise event to equip Scotland’s business leaders with the tools needed to for the workplaces of the future
ACTION is needed to eradicate religious and cultural hate from Scottish workplaces, according to an award-winning diversity expert set to address leaders of some of the nation’s most important businesses.
Lisa Charlwood-Green, director and founder of the WOW network, was speaking ahead of 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).
Close to 100 business leaders are expected to attend the event, organised by Connect Three, Scotland’s first B-Corp accredited leadership consultancy, which 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.
Ms Charlwood-Green, a DEIB expert with more than 20 years’ experience, and headline speaker at the event, said: “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.”
Ms Charlwood-Green, who is operations strategy manager at Network Rail, where she last year won the firm’s Diversity and Inclusion Champion of the Year award,
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.
Ms Charlwood-Green added: “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.
Mr Carmo added: “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.”
Katy Morrison, event organiser and Leadership Coach at Connect Three, believes the conference is much needed to bring leaders, of all levels, up to date on the real-life requirements of diversity and inclusion (D&I) in the modern workplace.
She said: “The challenges of the past two years have shown that resilient businesses were often those that were most invested in supporting their employees.
And while many businesses have already made some positive steps to implement diversity and inclusion policies into the workplace, there continue to be serious shortcomings that hold teams back.
“Diversity is often only seen as just multiculturalism, but it is important for businesses to think outside of the ‘ethnic’ model of diversity. After all, Scotland is not statistically a very ethnically diverse country, with the percentage of the population identifying as white currently sitting at 96%.
“As Scotland’s population changes, it’s clear that organisations which truly value diversity need to understand and account for differences in ethnicity, age, sexual orientation, language, education, and more.
“Scotland can and should be the most inclusive place to succeed professionally. Providing practical steps to leaders will be a key factor in building a good workplace nation.”
The event will take place at Glasgow’s Citation (8.30am-12pm, Thursday, April 28 2022) however spaces are limited so early booking is encouraged.
To find out more, and to book tickets visit the connectthree.co.uk/event/strivetothrive.