In the ever-evolving landscape of equality, diversity, and inclusion (EDI), ASCO is committed to fostering an inclusive workplace culture.
As chair of our EDI committee, I have seen the impact a proactive approach to educating, engaging, and championing diversity through real-life examples and open dialogue between employees can have in an organisation.
Educating for Change
At ASCO, we place a strong emphasis on education within our EDI initiatives. We use educational materials, host special guest speakers, and conduct webinars designed to raise awareness about EDI. These not only help employees understand the significance of diversity but also create a safe space for open and transparent discussions. I firmly believe in creating a culture where employees feel comfortable talking about their experiences and concerns. We see the power of learning from others and have found that by sharing the stories and experiences of our peers, we make EDI concepts tangible and relatable.
Training for Transformation
Education alone is insufficient; it must be accompanied by action. ASCO offers a comprehensive training programme aimed at supporting everyone and raising awareness about EDI. These online courses cover a wide range of topics, from disability in the workplace to anti-bullying.
What’s inclusive about our approach is that the ideas for these courses start from the ground up, with employees providing input to line managers and HR team leaders about the type of training they would like to see offered. We gather feedback from our employees to ensure that our training remains relevant and impactful, with their voices shaping our initiatives.
Creating Inclusive Cultures
Policies and initiatives alone are insufficient; the culture within an organisation plays a critical role in promoting equality and inclusion. We have made great progress in this regard, such as implementing a hybrid working policy to accommodate the desire for more flexibility among our office-based staff. This policy was the result of our annual ‘Make A Difference’ employee satisfaction survey, which once again highlights that the best way to understand what people want is to ask them.
Additionally, ASCO has introduced female-fit PPE, encouraged workers to champion one another, and focused on promoting better representation throughout the organisation. I cannot stress enough how important representation is. It is about allowing employees to see people who look like them in various positions. When a female sees another female in a position that would typically be occupied by a man, it can inspire her to pursue whatever career path she wants.
As companies, we need to actively work to promote diversity at all levels, from entry-level positions to boardrooms, and everywhere in between.
Data for Diversity
While the workplace is evolving to become more equitable, diverse, and inclusive, there are still challenges to address, including access to high-quality data. Collecting data on hiring, promotion, and retention rates for employees from diverse backgrounds is crucial. By analysing this data, we can gain a better understanding of how inclusive our workplace truly is and set measurable objectives for addressing issues and reducing gaps.
This data also holds organisations accountable for their EDI efforts. Transparent reporting makes it evident whether an organisation is committed to creating an inclusive environment or not.
The Road Ahead
Despite making great strides, we are on a journey, and there is more work to be done. Most organisations now recognise that diversity is not only the right thing to do, but also builds innovation and creativity. It starts from the ground up, including our future workforces, and this involves speaking to young children and encouraging them that they have the potential to achieve anything they aspire to.
This message is not just limited to STEM subjects and jobs. We need to empower young girls to consider roles traditionally dominated by men. They can be whatever they want because equality, diversity, and inclusion are not just buzzwords; they are the building blocks of a better future for us all, and we will continue championing these principles at ASCO.