Asif Sadiq MBE, Head of Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging at The Telegraph, shares some practical steps organisations can take in the lead up to and after Brexit. Asif is presenting at the CIPD Diversity and Inclusion Conference which takes place on 15 May 2019 in London. Book your ticket today.
The future of diversity and inclusion: what does it mean in a post-Brexit world?
We all know that there have been numerous discussions in the media about the impact of Brexit on the UK, from the potential delay of goods getting to us, to the fear of que’s leading into Dover. How much impact Brexit will truly have, no one has quite figured out yet. However, one thing that is certain is that it will impact diversity, inclusion and belonging in the workplace and this has been evident in the lead up to Brexit.
What does this mean? Well firstly we must consider some of the challenges that it will present but not forgetting the opportunities that it will bring. Below are some thoughts around practical steps organisations can take in the lead up to and after Brexit:
It is important to ensure that your policies are updated, especially the ones around recruitment. There will most certainly be an impact on the cost of recruiting individuals from abroad and it is probably best to get this sorted sooner rather than later.
Its is worth updating your harassment policies as well, if you haven’t already done this. In the lead up to Brexit a number of organisations have reported that they have seen a rise in harassment towards EU citizens in the workplace.
More than ever now is the time that we must start to focus on Belonging. D&I will continue to be part of our work, however we really need to work on creating a sense of belonging for all our staff post Brexit. This will ensure that they feel valued, continue to be productive and can bring their authentic selves to work.
Brexit will also create new diversity groups of minorities and rather than trying to fit them into new boxes or existing ones that we have created in the diversity space. It will be easier to start the journey of treating people as individuals and valuing the intersectionality they might have in order to create the journey to belonging.
In recent years there has been a huge focus on social mobility and a number of organisations have really been championing this. Brexit provides a great opportunity for organisations to now put a greater focus on recruiting, developing and retaining local talent.
This will be even more of a necessity as there will be a talent gap and unless organisations focus on developing local talent, they will have a skills gap within their organisations that will be difficult to address and not necessarily be cost efficient to recruit from abroad.
Whatever ends up happening with Brexit, one thing is for sure- it will disrupt the diversity and inclusion space. The key is whether you see this as a challenge or opportunity to create more inclusive workplaces. I for one, see it as a great opportunity to really shake up our efforts in this space and make a real difference to creating a truly diverse and inclusive workplace where all our staff feel like they belong.