Equality, Diversity and Inclusion are a constant topic of conversation in today's society. However, it can often feel like a complex space that leaves people unsure how they can contribute positively. Utopia’s range of sessions in the Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) strand aims to challenge your thinking, start conversations, and give delegates some practical takeaways on how to be diversity champions and leaders. Ensuring we are the individuals who make our colleagues feel accepted, respected and valued is the starting point of leadership. It allows us to create inclusive workplaces so everyone can get on with giving and being their best.
The moral, legal and business arguments for diversity have been made repeatedly and convincingly, but diversity is the start of a journey. The Civil Service’s goal is to be the most inclusive employer by 2020, a far more complex goal than simply achieving diversity as numbers. Verna Myers said, “Diversity is being invited to the party; inclusion is being asked to dance” and for anyone who has ever hosted a party you’ll know how hard it can be to get everyone dancing.
Inclusion requires far more of us, it requires that we create a culture and workplace that; welcomes everyone, appreciates their difference, and facilitates and values their contribution. The conference will include an SCS panel on “The practicalities of being the most inclusive employer by 2020”, a session on “Being Disability Confident” and a workshop by Helen Jamieson on “Managing Teams: Barriers to Inclusion”. These are all sessions which we hope will start exciting conversations but also give you some practical ideas on how to contribute to creating this more inclusive Civil Service.
The Government has a responsibility in the D&I space for not just leading by example as an employer but creating the policy frameworks that will allow the rest of industry to follow. We serve a diverse society and reflecting that society allows us to not only understand their needs better but also to serve them in the best possible way. A panel of diversity champions from outside government will discuss exactly why CS Diversity is important for everyone in our country, at Utopia.
Ultimately the workplace of the future will be shaped by technology and we must embrace this fast-paced change to remain fit for purpose as an organisation. I firmly believe we will only be ready to meet this challenge by being the most inclusive employer, attracting a diverse workforce with talent from every corner of our society. By embracing difference and approaching challenges openly we will be best equipped to face the complex challenges of the future. Success in D&I will be determined by our commitment to not just visible diversities but invisible ones, and above all our commitment to a culture that includes everyone in our organisation.
Utopia aims to start this important conversation, challenge your thinking on D&I but above all give you practical ways to be an ally, champion and inclusive colleague.
Damilola Gbadamosi, Future Workforce Lead