Sheri Hughes, UK Diversity & Inclusion Director at PageGroup shares her views on the importance of diversity and Inclusion in the workplace as an aspect of good people management

Sheri Hughes

Diversity and Inclusion in the workplace is an important aspect of good people management.Organisations can reap the rewards of a diverse workforce but only when they have an inclusive environment that allows workers to achieve their full potential. 

  • What aspect of Reward and management are you most passionate about, and why?

Diversity vs Inclusion – why getting the ‘I’ right is the only way to improve your ‘D’. I think there can be confusion over the terms and it is important to understand the difference as that is the only way to really make an impact.

  • Why is it important for SMEs in particular to hear this?

It is possible to make a significant change in your business without the need of a big team and bottomless budget, you just need to want to do and have the top down support to get on with it.

  • The main focus for most employers and employees has been on increasing diversity within the workforce, do you believe this is the right approach?

There is no question that increased diversity means richness of thought which has proven to positively affect productivity and profit. However, the approach needs to be centred on the culture and the feel of a business first and then the diversity will follow.

  • Why do employers need to shift company culture to a culture of Inclusion?

Individuals from diverse backgrounds need to feel like they are truly accepted and their differences are fully respected, otherwise they will very quickly begin to feel like they have been recruited to simply ‘tick a box’, rather than having a true sense of belonging.

  • How can employers promote a culture of Inclusion?

By celebrating difference and increasing awareness. For each of our strands we have senior business sponsors and senior champions who are integral in raising awareness by sharing personal stories and ensuring our culture is one of acceptance without exception.

  • So why is it important to you to get this message across to other organisations?

I am extremely passionate about the role I do and have seen the difference it makes to people when they are able to be authentic and bring their whole selves to work. I am really proud of how far PageGroup have come but it is so much more than that, I want to see all businesses get better at being inclusive. Sometimes making that first step appears to be more difficult than it really is, so if I can help one organistion get started, then that’s one more employer keen to embrace inclusion.