Jessica Tabinor inclusion
DIVERSITY | 6 MIN READ
Morson was delighted to host the North West Diversity Forum along with Manchester Airport Group and the Clear Company.
The event brought together a number of individuals from organisations such as JLL, Shop Direct and Royal London to share key learnings and best practise and provide some practical ideas to take back to their respective organisations.
We explored the link between diversity and health, safety and wellbeing.
Morson was delighted to host the North West Diversity Forum along with Manchester Airport Group and the Clear Company last week. The inspiring session saw Adrian Adair, Morson COO share the Morson journey to inclusion along with a talk from Dr Mark McBride-Wright, an expert in LGBTQ+, diversity and founder of Equal Engineers.
The event brought together a number of individuals from organisations such as JLL, Shop Direct and Royal London to share key learnings and best practise and provide some practical ideas to take back to their respective organisations. It also allowed participants to bring to the table their own challenges and opportunities to get support and expert advice from the group.
Opening the event, Adrian Adair, Morson Group COO discussed empowering an inclusive workforce:
“We’re in this room because we believe that building and empowering a diverse and inclusive workforce will enable us to achieve better performance, innovation and productivity. How many of us can say that our inclusive workplaces are present from the top down and the bottom up? Are we guilty of slamming the door shut on the success of open-door policies? How do we take the literal ‘open door’ and transform the view of our leadership team from dictatorial to inclusive?
For me, it’s about being visible and accountable. I’m a strong believer that change happens from the bottom up. That business leaders need to trust, listen and act upon the insight of our employees to stimulate positive change throughout our organisations this process, environment or policies. By doing so we’ll be able to transform our organisational culture and employee makeup.
When we remind ourselves that as senior leaders we are our organisation’s role models, we are able to ensure the success of our open-door policies. How we behave, communicate and deliver, all combine to transform our literal open doors into conversations with our employees, employees who are motivated to challenge the status quo and importantly to innovate. And with that our open doors become open minds and we can deliver business improvement from the top down by empowering change from the bottom up.”
He finished with a key take away to keep in mind during the whole event…
“We are all equal thinkers, that there is no monopoly on innovation and importantly that there is no such thing as a stupid question.”
The North West Diversity Forum is run by The Clear Company, a diversity and inclusion consultancy business who help bring diversity issues to light.
To kick off the event we discussed what the attendees would like to get out of the session, from improving diversity in their company to having a personal interest, it was clear that everyone had one aim in common – to learn more and share ideas.
Rebekah Lee, Head of Marketing at Morson discussed our partnership with Equal Engineer and Dr Mark McBride-Wright:
“As one of the largest recruitment businesses in the UK, we work in some of the sectors most challenged by gender and equality imbalances. We’ve partnered with Mark and Equal Engineers to ensure that our diversity offering provides much more of a fully rounded solution and covers a range of diversity topics rather than just looking at gender.”
Mark McBride-Wright shared his inspiring journey with the group from moving to London in 2005, becoming a Chartered Chemical Engineer and embarking on his career in diversity.
“In 2014 I founded an industry networked called InterEngineering which connects, informs and empowers LGBTQ+ engineers and supporters. The network has now grown to over 1000 engineers with five regional groups and 20 volunteers that help run the network… we’re on a mission to connect people globally.”
As InterEngineering was growing companies started asking Mark if they could recruit his LGBTQ+ engineers so he saw an opportunity to step up a level and create something that has an equal focus on each underrepresented group and there, EqualEngineers was born.
Masculinity in Engineering
One of the key points discussed during the session was the concept of masculinity in engineering and how we can get ‘the majority’ on board. Mark explored the idea of flipping the gender narrative and linking diversity to health, safety and wellbeing.
“There’s been a big movement in mental health and wellbeing and creating environments where people feel comfortable to share their experiences, their feelings and fears. So how do we help men become more vulnerable? There’s a whole lot of work that can go into helping expose that vulnerability, creating higher performing teams and arriving at a place where we have more cohesion. I believe that this is the framework for getting diversity into conversations, rather than getting caught up in gender pay discussions and reactive mechanisms. Be proactive and come at it as a full cultural engagement programme.”
“It’s about coming at an angle where we don’t disengage anyone”
Linking Diversity to Health, Safety and Wellbeing
Mark discussed the link between diversity and mental health, especially in construction. The shocking statistics speak for themselves; if you’re male you’re 3x more likely to take your own life by suicide working in the construction industry, relative to the UK average.
“The beautiful thing about engineering is that we already have a framework around creating a positive safety culture. We’ve seen over the last 30-40 years a continuous reduction in incident rates in engineering, people can come to work, be safe, go home and be safe. We’ve got mechanisms in place for calling out unsafe acts when you see them, so why can’t we just expand the focus from physical safety to mental health and wellbeing and use the systems that we already have in place?”
The topic of mental health isn’t new to us at Morson – it’s been part of our conversation for several years. Our activity has centred on creating a culture and working environment which is open, unbiased and inclusive, underpinned by professional support and resources for employees in need. We have recently launched a Mental Health First Aider network who are colleagues that have been trained to identify, understand, and help someone who may be experiencing a mental health issue and will provide personal support across our UK office network.
“It’s about applying the principles of first aid but to a condition that you can’t see”
The points that we discussed in the North West Diversity Forum makes you realise how ED&I becomes a smaller circle of a bigger conversation.