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Blog Diversity and Inclusion

Who wouldn’t want unlimited holiday?

Who wouldn’t want unlimited holiday?

At esynergy, unlimited holiday means exactly that- as many free days as you want 😊.

Day in and out we focus on delivering and demonstrating value and impact with our clients. Measuring the outcome and not just the journey if you will. The unlimited holiday policy helps us realise the same notion for our employees.

Dolly Parton’s 9-5 is no longer the normal working day and especially not in post-pandemic times. Both we and our communities require flexibility at times, and we want to provide just that with the least amount of friction possible.

If you search online for ‘unlimited holiday,’ you will find an overwhelming number of bad reviews. In this blog post, I will address the most common concern and the benefits of having a ‘no policy’ policy.

Many think that with an unlimited holiday policy, employees will take less days off than a standard holiday policy. We have taken countermeasures to prevent this:

  1. Lead from the top:

Teams look to leadership to guide what is deemed as acceptable behaviour. As a leader you can use your actions to bridge the gap between the business ideals and how your employees behave. It’s not just about what you say but what you do. So, be a role model, take holiday, and encourage others to do the same.

  1. Have clear guidelines:

Your team are not mind readers. You need to visibly talk about what is acceptable and appropriate behaviour, and this will be different for every department. If there are only two of you in a team, then it may not be advisable to take time off at the same time, if your accounting period ends in January, it could cause the rest of the accounting team stress if the team is understaffed that month, and if taking month-long holidays with little notice will cause your team problems then communicate it.

If done right, there shouldn’t be any disadvantages to having an unlimited holiday policy.  There are many benefits, some of which I’ve outlined below:

Wellbeing:

We hear the word ‘culture’ thrown around and what better way to improve your culture than to create a trusting environment where teams can manage their own work/life balance.

Gone are the days of worrying about leaving work early for an emergency, not being able to go to your best friend’s wedding as you’ve run out of holiday or even taking that Friday off work for a last-minute city break!

Productivity:

When we are stressed or exhausted, we are no longer productive. We’ve all been there!  So, allowing your teams to take the time off to refocus their goals and output is a far better way to improve productivity than asking your teams to stay in the office later.

Creativity and innovation:

According to the Office for National Statistics, around 1.5 million (7.4%) of jobs in England are at high risk of being automated in the future. In an increasing world of robots, computer programs, and algorithms, human kryptonite is our ability to be creative and innovative.

By introducing unlimited holiday policies, you are providing your teams with the mental bandwidth and opportunity to be creative and think innovatively.

We rarely have our best ideas at the desk. They can come from anywhere; in the shower, on a beach in Bali, or even walking the dog. Sometimes we just need time to see our work in a different light and our problems with a fresh pair of eyes.

Recruitment and retention:

We are currently in a war for tech talent with 94% of tech employers believing there is an industry-wide skills shortage (CW Jobs). As a result, this is leaving organisations with long periods of unfilled vacancies.

Having an unlimited holiday policy is a benefit that will help you to attract talent, improve employee satisfaction and encourage your teams to stay by having a work-life balance that suits their needs.

We have implemented unlimited holidays 9 months ago and I’ve collected a few quotes from my colleagues around what the policy means to them.

“Going through a house move can be time-consuming and I’ve never been more grateful for unlimited holidays! esynergy has made it really easy for me to balance work with the move and all the weddings I need to take time off for this year. It works because of the culture of trust we’ve worked so hard to build.”- Nia Batten, Client Principle

 

“I think that having unlimited paid holidays is one of the best benefits I have ever had and there are so many reasons why:
1. Once I have used up all my holidays (which is usually pretty quickly) I actually get to use more and not restrict myself to how many holidays/breaks I can have…
2. For esynergy to give me that trust that makes me want to always do a great job to show my gratitude!
3. Those days where i’m not sick, but I could really do with a break for my own mental wellbeing, it makes all the difference.
Those reasons makes me so much happier and gives me so much more work/life balance.”– Shannon Heffernan, Senior Talent Executive

 

“Unlimited Holiday gives us freedom.  I no longer need to worry about whether something is worth using a holiday day on. Or hording holiday days in reserve in case of an emergency. I am much more relaxed because I know I can manage my home and personal life around work. I know I will always have the freedom to take the time I need.”– Paula Kelly, Head of Contracts and Compliance

 

“esynergy’s unlimited holiday is an amazing benefit which has allowed me to focus time on the house as there is a lot of work that needs to be done as well as taking time to spend with my family. It’s a great benefit to have and wouldn’t be possible without the amazing staff we have who are dedicated to their work and are very trustworthy.”– Sean Clark, Salesforce Administrator

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Diversity and Inclusion

Making the business case for diversity

Making the business case for diversity

With the murder of George Floyd, racism in football, criticism of the Royal Family, diversity in Formula 1, and gender pay gap data now headline news, it’s clear that the issue of diversity is now more important than ever…

But, when looking at diversity, it’s worth considering whether belonging and inclusion is the missing piece of the puzzle.

In a series of three blogs, I’ll be exploring the business case for diversity, the distinction between diversity, inclusion and belonging, and the challenge of focusing purely on diversity. I’ll then explore how to embed belonging and inclusion into your workplace diversity strategy, how to measure this strategy’s success and examine some best practices.

The business case for diversity

Let’s begin by looking at the business case for hiring diverse teams:

  • 22% lower turnover rates: Consider the true cost to your business of staff turnover (agency fees, equipment, training, etc.). How can you reinvest these cost savings into your people?
  • 30% more productivity: Could this allow your team to put aside more time for innovation?
  • Teams make better business decisions 87% of the time while delivering 60% better results: Could this mean more repeat customers? What impact could this have on sales?
  • Teams make decisions twice as fast and require half the meetings: Calculate the true cost of reducing the time your team spends in meetings. Could this allow you to take on more clients and reduce your headcount?
  • Products mirror the teams that build them: Organisations need to build products and services that reflect the communities they serve. Can your business afford a negative news story?

It’s possible to have diversity without inclusion but the real benefits of diversity (innovation, new ideas, creativity, financial gains) can’t be realised without inclusion – and true inclusion can’t exist without belonging.

So, what are the distinctions between diversity, inclusion and belonging?

Diversity means ‘being invited to the party’…

Diversity is about representation within an organisation and ensuring that your products and services reflect the communities they serve.

This is the baseline for your organisation’s analysis and allows you to track demographic data (protected characteristics).

Inclusion is ‘being asked to dance’…

Whilst diversity is about getting people through the door, inclusion is about ensuring that you have an inclusive environment and culture for people to work in.

Once you’ve collected your diversity data, inclusion will mean looking at this data and any equality gaps. You can then create a culture where your team feel valued and trusted.

Belonging means ‘not being judged on the way you dance’…

Inclusion is about actions and behaviours, whereas belonging is a feeling. Inclusion can’t exist if your team don’t feel like they belong and are part of your community.

Belonging is the feeling of being valued and accepted – that you can bring your authentic self to work. Major tech companies believe that belonging is the missing part of the employee engagement conversation and will help to improve staff retention.

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Diversity and Inclusion

How to make the people on your team feel like they belong

How to make the people on your team feel like they belong

Once you’ve collected your diversity, inclusion and belonging data, you’re then in a position to use this to create your overarching strategy. At eSynergy, we have a data-driven diversity, inclusion and belonging strategy, which is evidence-based, rather than by personal preference.

Blog 3 in our series looks at how to encourage feelings of belonging in your teams and how data can drive this strategy…

Do you even know me?

You must get to know your people and your team. Everyone has their own story: take the time to get to know each of these. This means giving them your full attention. Trust is built on understanding and connecting with people. You want to trust your employees, but they also need to be able to trust you and your organisation. By sharing your company’s mission, vision and values, you’ll create a two-way sense of belonging, which will drive a more inclusive work environment and culture.

Encourage connections

For your team to feel a genuine sense of belonging, it’s important to encourage any opportunities for them to connect. This could mean personalising introductions, events or spaces for people to get to know each other, learn and grow. This could also include ERGs/CRGs, office socials and activities, all of which bring people together.

Create a home from home

Your office is your team’s home, so it’s vital to create a warm, safe space. Everyone loves a trip to the kitchen for a cuppa and a chat; don’t underestimate the value of these conversations and the effect they have on your team’s wellbeing.

Clearly communicate your values

Your organisation may have a forward-thinking vision and amazing employee perks but how well have you actually communicated this to people internally?

Often, we’re so focused on trying to bring in new talent that we forget about our existing, loyal team…

Be sure to communicate your organisation’s mission, values, strategies, objectives and key results (OKRs) – and the role they will play in achieving those OKRs. This will mean they’re more likely to be engaged and motivated and will make them feel like they have a real purpose. It will also clarify how their work contributes to the wider business, encouraging a feeling of belonging (think back to the business case for diversity, inclusion and belonging).

Embed diversity, inclusion and belonging into your culture, processes and policies

When you’re defining these strategies, be sure to embed diversity, inclusion and belonging into your culture, processes and policies – it should be at the very heart of your organisation. Diversity, inclusion and belonging is a journey and there’s no quick fix. It needs to be part of everyday life.

How we’ve used data to drive belonging and inclusion

Below are some examples of how we’ve created actions from our belonging and inclusion data at eSynergy:

These examples perfectly illustrate that we should all be thinking outside the box! Be innovative and don’t be afraid to put your head above the parapet!

If you’d like to know more about our diversity, inclusion and belonging journey, please drop me a line and be sure to keep an eye out for the Beequal event.

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    Categories
    Diversity and Inclusion

    Is your company diverse enough?

    Is your company diverse enough?

    Many companies believe that embracing diversity is the right thing to do and, at eSynergy, we’ve evidenced the business case for having a diverse team. There are limitations though to a strategy that focuses on diversity alone.

    The second part of our blog series on why belonging and inclusion are as important as diversity, looks at why it’s important not to focus on diversity alone…

    Harnessing the power of diverse thought

    Firstly, an on organisation can often be ‘diverse-ish’, which is to say they only pay lip service to diversity efforts and initiatives and label themselves as ‘diverse’ without genuinely being so. Meanwhile, others will try and fail to achieve diversity (although we’d much rather you try than do nothing at all…).

    What organisations don’t understand is that by only focusing on diversity (getting people through the door), we force people to think the way we do – which defeats the purpose of having a diverse workforce. We need to harness the power of diverse thought and the strengths that people with different abilities and life experiences bring to an organisation.

    The importance of having a genuine diverse sourcing strategy

    There’s an important difference between having a genuine diverse sourcing strategy and hiring diverse candidates purely as a tick box exercise: With the latter, not only will the individual who’s been hired feel like they are a token hire, they may also suffer from imposter syndrome or be underqualified for the role and be more likely to leave the organisation.

    The team will likely also feel resentment towards future diversity initiatives as they may need to pick up additional work (especially if the new team member is underqualified). Subsequently, this will impact retention, team performance and your organisation’s culture.

    Diversity is about more than just demographics

    If you’re not already including belonging and inclusion questions as part of your diversity data collection, don’t worry! Now we’re returning to something like normal life, it’s a timely opportunity to focus on belonging and inclusion for those who are transitioning from working from home back to the office.

    If you’re already collecting diversity data for your employees (this includes their protected characteristics) you can add some belonging and inclusion questions into this data collection (some organisations prefer to collect this information as part of the onboarding process, whilst others prefer annual employee surveys).

    Not sure what to ask? Survey Monkey has partnered with Paradigm to create a survey template that will help you to measure the things that will drive inclusion at your organisation.

    How you’ll know when your organisation is truly inclusive

    The true output of inclusion is when your whole team feel like they belong.

    A simple way of measuring the success of your efforts is to ensure that your team diversity, and belonging and inclusion scores, keep improving.

    So, what does belonging really feel like? Firstly, you should feel you can bring as much of your authentic self to your workplace as possible: We can only really feel appreciated and contribute towards the business by being our true selves.

    Challenging without fear of consequences

    Our feelings of belonging are strongly correlated with psychological safety. This means asking questions and challenging without fearing the consequences. It’s, therefore, a business imperative to ensure your people feel like they belong, as this creates high-performing teams and encourages creativity and innovation.

    There’s also been some research into the business case for belonging. BetterUp discovered that, when employees feel a strong sense of belonging, they reduced their turnover risk by 50% (which is over double that of diverse teams alone), with a 56% increase in performance (almost double that of diverse teams alone) and a 75% reduction in sick days. Meanwhile, EY found that a sense of belonging made their teams more productive, engaged, motivated and 3.5 times more likely to work to their full, innovative potential.

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