Feature: Getting to grips with inclusion in the world of business

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Networking group Radius Business will attempt to get to grips with the tricky subject of inclusion at its next Blue Chip event.

“Diversity and Inclusion, or D&I, is a commonly used term these days,” said Radius Director Patrick Voss. “The two words seem to be intertwined.

“However, while everybody talks about diversity, and can define it, when you ask business leaders about inclusion and their plans to achieve it, you often get very different responses. That may be because diversity is more easily measured in organisations using traditional HR methods.

“At Radius we want to open the debate around inclusion. Is there one agreed definition? How can it be measured and communicated across different organisations? ”

One speaker at the event, Marjorie Strachan, Global Head of Inclusion at RBS, defines Diversity as “a mix of unique individuals within an organisation” and inclusion as when “the richness of that individuality is leveraged to create business success.”

An impressive list of speakers will be on hand to debate the issue at the Radius event on July 9, including Sarah Guerra, Head of Equality and Diversity at the Ministry of Defence. She feels the way forward is reverse mentoring, or “teaching up”.

“Our mentoring throws tradition on its head by having a less experienced staff member, often with a very different background, mentor a more senior member of staff,” she said. “The more senior member of staff learns a huge amount from being shown the world through another person’s eyes.”

The feedback from such sessions can be a key measurement of inclusion, and has been used by HM Revenue and Customs, where Guerra piloted this approach. While the term diversity refers to the wide range of differences that exist among people, inclusion refers to pro-active behaviour that makes each member of an organisation feel welcome and a part of the organisation.

Other speakers at the event, to be held at the Holborn offices of FTI Consulting, a global business advisory firm, include Huma Qazi, Head of HR, Global Functions, BP, Maria Rzemieniecka, Head of Audit HR and D&I at accountancy firm KPMG and leadership and inclusion consultant Nicky Moffat who, until her departure last year was the British Army’s highest ranked woman officer.

The five women on the panel have very different career-paths, giving them a wealth of experience which they will be able to share with guests at the event.

For example, Nicky Moffat’s military role has given her valuable insights into group dynamics, important when considering the subject of inclusion. She suggests that organisations will seek to optimise team performance to deliver their outputs, and that ‘the needs of individuals may therefore become subjugated to those of the team’. ‘Leaders must be sensitive to the potential conflict, as well as the impact this may have on an individual’s sense of feeling valued and supported by the organisation’

The Radius network allows people from all communities to engage and connect with like-minded, but diverse, individuals in a friendly, open, supportive business environment.

The guest list at its previous blue chip events has included leaders from IBM, Deutsche Bank, Microsoft, the Bank of England and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Guests have a chance to network after the panel discussion.

“We offer a space where people can take time out from their day-day role and think about things differently,” said Patrick Voss. “Our July event aims to look specifically at the I in D&I. At Radius we think inclusion should be the ultimate HR aim.”

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