Yet another panel on the DIAL Summit kicked off with immensely personal accounts from those taking part on the panel. Lead by Lianna Brinded, director of creative content development at Yahoo, Parul Pandey, global talent, tearning and tiversity tirector at OUP, Lisa Leighton,group head of employee experience at Marks and Spencer and Rebecca Smyth, workplace solutions champion — Texthelp) joined together for the session.
Lianna began by asking about the positive outcomes the panel have witnessed in their workplaces. Parul spoke about the listening sessions launched in her organisation after the death of George Floyd, which then launched various initiatives on the back of those findings. One of the critical programmes is Elevate, developing female and under-represented employees on bespoke programmes.
Lisa told us about the IWD event held at M&S — a staff day where ideas were created and implemented resulting in, among other things, the creation of an app whereby mums returning to work can find appropriate job share partners.
Rebecca was asked for her advice on removing bias in the workplace. Accepting everyone has in built biases, she emphasised the importance of leaders and colleagues understanding the stereotypes and biases they carry, and then challenging them. She added teams need to understand and celebrate differences. One helpful programme has been working with external groups such as Action Mental Health, and she stressed the importance of encouraging the curiosity of employees.
Lisa stressed the importance of storytelling, as it enables those who want to help to be able to connect on a human level with more marginalised groups. Lisa has said when leaders can connect with those who share their stories in a safe space, it can affect profound change.
As always on the summits, those involved stressed the D&I journey is an ongoing one, and the learning curve continues.