The firm is welcoming experts to lead conversations around areas including social mobility, mental health, LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning), unconscious bias and Black, Asian and minority ethnic.
Milton Keynes office practice leader Fiona Baldwin said: “Our firm-wide aim is for all our people to feel able to be their authentic selves at work. This means creating a workplace culture which celebrates diversity and an environment where everyone has an equal opportunity to thrive.”
Grant Thornton’s contribution to National Inclusion Week aims to continue the conversations around diversity and inclusion which are sometimes difficult to have, especially at work, she added.
- Pictured: Fiona Baldwin.
“But it’s not just about taking part in the week and forgetting. It’s about recognising what we have achieved so far and being open and honest about where we still need to improve – and taking action to make sure this happens.”
As part of Grant Thornton’s National Inclusion Week agenda, Helen Pritchard of local charity Q:alliance which provides support and representation for the LGBTQ+ community in Milton Keynes, hosted a session on LGBT inclusion in the workplace.
“Part of our remit is working with local corporates to raise awareness of LGBTQ issues and to help people feel comfortable about asking questions,” said Helen. “It may be as simple as asking how someone likes to be addressed but getting this right can make all the difference to feelings of acceptance and belonging.”
She praised Grant Thornton’s support for the charity. “We are grateful for this further opportunity to encourage open, honest conversations.”
Susan Popoola, of strategic business solutions company Mosaic Fusions, led a discussion on workplace diversity. She said: “Much progress has been made towards racial equality since the 1960s and 70s but there are still challenges to overcome. Organisations like Grant Thornton do well in building a diverse workforce but more businesses need to ensure they are representative of our increasingly multi-cultural society.
“Taking the time to understand people as individuals, what motivates them and the issues they face is crucial to creating an inclusive environment where everyone feels valued and is able to fully support organisational goals.”
Earlier this year Grant Thornton won a Queen’s Award for Enterprise in recognition of its actions to improve social mobility in the workplace. This includes becoming the first professional firm to remove academic barriers to entry for new trainee recruits in 2013. In 2017, Grant Thornton also topped the first ever UK Social Mobility Employer Index.
The firm puts its staff’s mental health as a priority, providing a relaxation space at its office, mental health first aiders and access to counselling
Ms Baldwin said: “As a firm, we embrace flexible working, recognising we all have unique requirements and responsibilities in and outside of work that aren’t always conducive to a 9-5 working pattern.
“But alongside these practical measures we also need to consistently challenge restrictive mindsets and unconscious bias which may influence the opinions we form and decisions we make. Grant Thornton has made huge strides in this area and we are committed to continuing our efforts to ensure inclusivity is an innate part of our business going forward.”