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Be an equality champion in 2018

The UK has championed workers’ rights and equality in the workplace for years. In fact, we are often looked upon by other countries as an example of good practice. But, 2017 has given us a full year to see the impact that the Brexit vote has had on equality and acceptance in society, including in the workplace.

Business leaders out there – please listen up and do your part. What are you doing to open your doors to equality and how can you achieve greater diversity of every type – gender, race, culture, education, age, sexual orientation?

Your maternity leave may be competitive, but is your paternity policy equally attractive and do you have formalised provisions for parents adopting? Can those without degrees look higher up the company structure and recognise a mentor?

Do you have benefits and policies that attract the best talent from any background? If the honest answer is no, you may not be reaching your full potential as a company.

Can you really pitch for that global ad campaign if no one in the team was born after 1992? Can you be a tech innovator when you’re ignoring that coding genius because she didn’t go to university? Will you do the best job possible without tapping in to the experience of a working parent because flexible working and job sharing have been overlooked?

Think about the potential if your workforce was diverse. Strive for that. Make it happen. Be a voice for equality and transparency in 2018.

It’s 2017 – why are we talking about gender equality!?

Gender equality in the workplace has been a battle for many years and we have come a long way. A hundred years ago there is no way that I, a female with Asian heritage, would have been able to start a company with another woman, have children and be able to write about it all so publicly. Today, women can fight on the front line, vote, pick our partners for ourselves and compete in any arena.

However, is it right that we’re still celebrating and shouting about a woman becoming CEO of a FTSE 100 company? Should advanced maternity leave benefits be so rare that they gain press coverage? Is it acceptable that Equal Pay Day is even in the diary?

Have we, as a society, come so far in balancing the rights of men and women, that we have taken our foot off the gas and become fixated on talking about change, rather than implementing it?

Today is Equal Pay Day – the day women in the UK stop being paid for the year, compared to their male counterparts. Earlier in the year, the BBC’s gender pay gap was reported to be so large that it hit 9.3%, with its highest paid male presenter earning £1.7m more than its highest paid female presenter. We have a problem.

But this is about so much more than just pay. This is about the treatment of women in the workplace. This is about human behaviour.

Workplace culture may seem like a buzzword, but getting it right is no mean feat. And keeping it right is another mission all together. But the benefits, the outputs and the return on that investment will be undeniable.

Our best business leaders create working environments that understand the challenges of today’s world. That means recognising the many life stages that workers go through – buying their first house, having a child, adopting, looking after sick parents, getting divorced – and also considering their mental and physical wellbeing, the cost of living, the challenges of being a working parent and the value that women can bring to a business.

So, go out and create female champions in your workplace. Create an atmosphere that shows other women that there is a place for them at the top of the business. Invest in all staff, recognise talent and know that bringing working mothers back in to the office can bring a new perspective. Pay fairly. Recognise equality in people. Celebrate people for their successes. Gender shouldn’t matter.

For now, we have to shout about these things in the pursuit for a fair working world. So yes, it is 2017, and we’re still celebrating the achievements of women because we should. Be a company that is talked about for all the right reasons. Take action, don’t just talk about it.

If you’re on a mission to create a great place to work and want to ensure you’re doing all you can to create an equal workplace, get in touch with the JourneyHR team.

HR horrors you can probably relate to

Knowing how to manage staff can be as much a trick as it is a treat. But, how many of these ghoulish habits or startling attitudes are you all too familiar with?

Ghosts in the department
We’ve all seen it – individuals whose skills and expertise are superb, but they are too shy to participate in group activities, brainstorms or just the general office buzz. They risk fading into the background, becoming like a ghost to the rest of the office. Just because they may be quiet, doesn’t mean they aren’t a right fit for the business. So how can you turn a timid ghost into a confident Casper? A positive culture, that instils confidence and has an inclusive atmosphere can spirit this shyness away.

Managing mad scientists
On the other hand, there are some employees who are bursting at the seams with ideas and creativity. Their enthusiasm can help create amazing projects or innovative ways of working but it needs to be managed effectively. If it isn’t, their enthusiasm can be misconstrued as bullishness or lack of teamwork especially around more introverted staff. They may also show a tendency to not see projects through to completion which can hamper operations. Providing a structure that hones this creativity will help them see ideas through to the end while working effectively with other team members.

Making staff fang-tastic
It’s 9:00pm, the lights are out, and the office is empty…or is it? In the darkness, lit only by the glow of a computer monitor are those creatures of the night; those that stay in the office until late, working from dusk ‘til dawn. Don’t let them struggle – find out why. Make sure they have a manageable workload, understand their role, don’t have unrealistic managers or aren’t lacking in a skill. But be wary of those ever-efficient night owls. Unlike the wannabe 24-hour creatures, whose day time productivity constantly suffers, a night owl will do their best work when the office is quiet, and the moon is out. That’s when you need to encourage flexibility and a culture that accepts different approaches to working.

Opening the tomb
Any business that’s had a group of employees for a few years will have been through a ‘slump’. Productivity lowers, staff become demotivated and they disengage from the business. It’s important to recognise the signs of when this happens. These employees are still valuable assets, but without proper attention they risk mummifying in the day-to-day routine. Be sure to take the leap and ask what’s affecting your staff. An employee engagement survey will help identify what needs to be done to improve the business and breathe new life into these lost souls. If run at least once a year, the company will have regular insight into the attitudes of staff and can tailor the business to suit their needs.

It may be a spooky time of year but that’s all the more reason to face your demons. There are always methods to get staff on board and make the company go from strength to strength.

Get in touch if you want to find the most effective ways to get your staff working at their best.

Have a Happy Halloween!

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