This month Alex Wilson, HR specialist at EY, spoke to our HR Breakfast Club about Diversity and Inclusion in the workplace. Diversity and Inclusion is intellectually simple to grasp, but highly complex to deconstruct in a meaningful way. The topic of Diversity and Inclusion draws on societal, cultural, institutional, interpersonal and individual elements as well as psychology, sociology, anthropology, identity, and economics and management theories.

Alex noted that there are three drivers for developing a diverse and inclusive workplace:

  • Legal “ well-managed diversity and inclusion practices may help to manage risks of harassment and discrimination claims;
  • Moral “ it’s the right thing to do;
  • Commercial performance – There is widely held belief that diversity and inclusion yields positive performance outcomes for organisations.

Alex challenged us to:

  • Think – reflect on where we might be personally on our journey to advance diversity and inclusion, understanding that the journey is different for everyone and every organisation.
  • Be motivated – look at areas of our organisation/s for opportunities to produce greater benefits through diversity and inclusion strategies.
  • Commit –develop a narrative of our own around Diversity and Inclusion that we can progress (and help others progress) in our workplaces.

Q&A Corner

Q: How do we promote a flexible workplace when we are tied to timesheets?

A: This depends on the business and the structural barriers and opportunities that may exist. In some industries it is impossible not to use timesheets (as they are necessary for client billing). Some businesses may require timesheets to properly provide flexible work options (for example, calculating time off in lieu). On a separate note, it is important to make staff aware that flexibility in the workplace is for everybody €“ men and women.

Suggestions from Alex Wilson
If you are looking to remove timesheets, but maintain a flexible workplace then one option is to trial a new policy for 1-3 months (or the timeframe required) and assess the impact of the trial on the group/s. It starts with understanding what value your organization might get from encouraging and enabling flexibility, and then how you might go about achieving that.