IAH Primary-8.pngWe’re proud to support National Inclusion Week again this year (27th September – 3rd October), celebrating everyday inclusion in all its forms. Inclusion is important to us - we want to make sure Hastings is a place where all colleagues can contribute, thrive and be who they are.

Following this year’s theme of ‘United for Inclusion’ we hear from three colleagues on our Inclusion Council on why inclusion is important to them and their advice to be more inclusive in day-to-day life.

Andrew is the Inclusion Council lead on social mobility

Hastings Direct Careers - AndrewK.jpegI am a 26 year old Senior Customer Care Representative still figuring out life and how to be an adult.
From who I want to be as a person to what I want to do in my career, I feel life can be hard enough without having extra barriers due to things outside of my control. I want to have the same opportunities as everyone else; fail and succeed on merit and to have had the opportunity to be the best version of myself. I want this for all people regardless of their differences - currently not everyone does have these chances, and I want to help put this right.

Employers have a huge responsibility because they control a large part of people’s lives.
For many of us we will be at work five days a week until our late 60s - that’s a long time to be in an environment and not feel included. I think it is imperative that employers build the right environment to allow everyone to be who they are because work plays an influential role in who we end up being and what life each of us may have.

What are your top tips to be more inclusive?

  • Don’t just accept things on face value - challenge views and seek understanding.
  • Self-reflection and be prepared to listen.
  • Be brave, get uncomfortable from time to time and surround yourselves with as many people from all walks of life and actively listen to them and their struggles.

For me, all areas of diversity are of equal importance but from my personal experience, social mobility, is what has affected me directly the most.
I felt I understood some of the effects of this and therefore could highlight it and help bring change. For those who feel they’ve been negatively affected by social mobility, I’d say accept there may be extra challenges that you may need to overcome, so you can plan around them but don’t accept that it will always be this way. You can achieve your dreams and every one of you that breaks through these barriers can inspire many others to also follow in your steps because it allows them to feel it is possible.

Richard is the Inclusion Council lead for carers and family friendly

Hastings Direct Careers - Ricahard Phillips.jpgInclusion should be important to everyone…
but I am a big geek, and I am sure that has influenced my passion for inclusion. I am a huge Trekkie, and Star Trek has long running themes of acceptance and diversity. There is no archetype of a person, we are all unique, and we are stronger together because of it. I also have a strong sense of fairness, we don’t all start from the same position in life, but that shouldn’t define your course.

We must remember the opposite of inclusion is exclusion
We spend an average of 21% of our waking life in work, so inclusion at work is very important as it is everywhere in life as a moral imperative. Different people bring different experiences and solutions to the table and by being inclusive it can equalise the opportunities for all colleagues by supporting underrepresented groups to achieve.

What are your top tips to be more inclusive?

  • Be aware – others around you may have different views, experiences, commitments and lives.
  • Be thoughtful – it can be as simple as setting the meeting before 4 if your colleague finishes early or not eating lunch next to your fasting colleague.
  • Be kind – you never know what challenges people may be facing in or out of work, so as a rule be forgiving and compassionate.

Jacqueline is the Inclusion Council lead for disability

Hastings Direct Careers - JacquelineOR.jpgAs Talent Acquisition Manager inclusion is important in my day to day
We understand that recruitment plays a vital role in impacting diversity here at Hastings, and we strive to support a diverse and inclusive culture that helps others and, our business, thrive.

“Inclusion is key to building our workforce of the future”
We want colleagues to have a sense of belonging here at Hastings and be able to bring their whole selves to work. Without inclusion we cannot truly achieve that. Inclusion brings broader perspectives and creative thinking which can lead to better decisions and faster results.

What are your top tips to be more inclusive?

  • Check your blind spots – we all have them; we are all wired to make cognitive short cuts and need to recognise this.
  • Be mindful of your communication – do you take time to listen, acknowledge and respect the views of others?
  • Don’t assume, do understand –it’s natural to fall into the former, take a step back and challenge your thinking.

Find out more about inclusion at Hastings and how we support our colleagues