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#NPWAwards Nominations with Rebekah Lee, Head of Marketing - What makes an inclusive workplace? And why we need to go beyond gender diversity

Rebekah Valero-Lee inclusion

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Working as Head of Marketing for a global staffing business that operates within some of the sectors hardest hit by diversity imbalance, it has been a priority of mine from day one to embrace and promote diversity, both within the Morson Group and amongst the many stakeholders we support.

I was completely honoured to be named on Northern Power Women’s Future List 2019, having been recognised by the judges for my role in challenging workplace and industry norms with regards to mental health, accessibility and diversity balance.

I’m immensely proud with the progress that we’ve made, particularly in industries such as construction, nuclear, tech, aerospace and engineering, which are crying out for greater diversity. Through targeted campaigns that use role models to empower women and young girls and alter perceptions, we have successfully broken stereotypes within traditionally-male roles and workplaces.

Since launching the Diversity Hub and Inclusive Role Models Portal, on we have increased female applications by 69% compared to last year. In addition, ourMorson Equals Opportunities’ campaign has ensured that every candidate gets an equal chance to develop their career by being able to access the same opportunities to gain and maintain employment. By adding accessibility software to our website, which provides adaptations for visitors with dyslexia, visual impairment and learning difficulties, we have made our online recruitment process accessible to everyone. 27% more of the UK population can now access our online content, apply for roles and seek recruitment support than could previously.

This year, Northern Power Women adopted the #WeCan theme, inviting women to come forward as role models to celebrate their achievements and share their commitment to gender diversity. As a female leader in a male-dominated industry, I’m proud to be a role model. Yet for me, the issue of diversity and inclusion goes far beyond gender and being named as a Northern Power Women future leader provides me with a platform to demonstrate how, in order to establish a truly inclusive workplace, we need to break down barriers across gender, mental health, sexuality, accessibility and more. By taking a unified approach, I hope to drive even more positive change across our business and key stakeholder groups.  

Morson has already made a strong commitment to becoming a more accessible employer, living by its core values. We’ve committed to the Inclusive Culture Pledge, meaning we will receive dedicated support to help us improve diversity in our workplace, as well as partnering with Stonewall, Europe’s largest lesbian, gay, bi and trans (LGBT) charity, as part of their Diversity Champions Programme.

It is also important that we raise awareness around mental health and alter attitudes within the workplace, by opening up the conversation and creating a culture where employees feel safe to talk. This is exactly what Morson are working to achieve through our mental health first aiders programme, mental health whitepaper, staff training and more. Using our connections in the sporting world we have championed autism and reduced the stigma around mental illness. Partnerships with, premiership rugby team, Sale Sharks, and the boxing community have activated awareness and challenged perceptions of these topics, particularly with regards to traditional notions of masculinity.

I feel strongly that workplace inclusivity should be on the agenda for every employer and I’m encouraging all businesses to take inspiration from the Morson Group and implement at least one positive programme of change this year. Not only is it the right thing to do to ensure that no one is excluded from reaching their full potential, but it’s good for business with numerous proven commercial benefits. By adopting a fully inclusive approach as an employer, you are widening your reach and creating a richer and more diverse talent pool.

Originally posted on the Northern Power Women website

#NPWAWARDS nominations are now open! You can nominate individuals and organisations (including yourself) from all sectors, genders and regions across the north. Take time shine a light on others – everyone is a role model to someone! Find out more and nominate here.