Inclusivity Campaign ramps up with new round of workshops

Gamiel Yafai delivers the latest Inclusivity workshop at Lander Automotive

Made in the Midlands has continued with its campaign aimed at helping members become more inclusive organisations.

The MIM Inclusivity Campaign is an attempt to address the UK’s engineering skills gap, whilst at the same time, helping to make businesses more productive and profitable.

Linking up with long-established training provider, Righttrack Consultancy, MIM has devised a support programme helping manufacturing firms to instil a culture that truly embraces Diversity and Inclusion.

Gamiel Yafai, an award-winning Diversity and Inclusion strategist and author of ‘Demystifying Diversity’, is leading the project.

The latest Inclusivity workshop, which was hosted by Lander Automotive, attracted a diverse range of members.

Attendees were: East End Foods, Brandauer, FBC Manby Bowdler, Lander Automotive, Walsall Football Club, Schmolz & Bickenbach, Alphadrive Engineering, and The Colebridge Trust.

Gamiel outlined the definitions and goals of the campaign, explaining that an inclusive workforce allowed organisations to benefit from a variety of views and perspectives. This enabled them to find more creative solutions and harness different talents to be more successful.

He said research had shown that organisations which are more diverse and inclusive performed better and were ultimately more profitable. They were characterised by better decision making and higher levels of customer satisfaction.

The role of the managing director or CEO is also important, and the more inclusive their organisation, then the better performing their business is likely to be.

An effective CEO will make the best of all the ingredients in their business and make sure everyone performs to their best – this applies equally to the boardroom as it does to the shopfloor.

The plan is to make sure that all barriers can be overcome in order to help people achieve their full potential.

If the campaign is successful and there is even a 1% improvement in performance then this will have a dramatic impact on manufacturing, which still lags behind other industrial sectors.

Gamiel said the business case for inclusion was relatively straightforward. He said that by successfully adopting the elements of Inclusivity, companies would see better talent being attracted to the business, while decision making would also improve.

By developing people within a business, then its creativity will improve as ideas from its entire workforce are exploited to their full potential.

Members were also tutored on the role of unconscious bias and the dangers this can pose to a business, especially where recruitment is concerned.

Unconscious Bias is an automatic decision making process. We categorise people into ‘in-groups’ and ‘out-groups’, not only on visual similarities but on factors such as accent, schools, religion. We make more effort for those in our ‘in-group’, whom we view as individuals, than members of an ‘out-group’, who we usually regard as ‘all the same’.

There are four types of Unconscious Bias: Comparison bias, Affinity, Conformation and Groupthink.

Members participating in the workshop were given a series of tasks to complete around various themes, unconscious bias being one of them.

In addition to the half-day workshop, members joining the Inclusivity campaign are presented with a comprehensive toolkit designed to give them the confidence and skills to embrace diversity and inclusion at all levels of their organisation.

What members had to say

Anita Davenport-Brooks, HR, Development and Health & Safety Manager at Lander Automotive, said: “It was a very useful session and reinforced a lot of what we are already trying to do at Lander.”

Anita was already looking to embrace many of the principles surrounding Inclusivity and positive mental health. She organises a meditation session for workers each day prior to their shift.

Natasha Arronricks, Business Development Manager at Schmolz & Bickenbach, is another advocate of the campaign.

“We are firmly committed to adopting Inclusivity within the workplace and everyone is very excited about the possibilities,” she said.

“This is why workshops like this are important because they generate new ideas that I can feed back to staff.”