We were recently asked by a prospective client what inclusivity means to us at Outsourced Events. Initially, the question took us by surprise as, I think we are so used to ensuring inclusivity at every stage of both our organisation and our event management that we’ve never thought to outline it.
CIPD, for over 100 years have been championing better work and working lives by setting professional standards for HR and people development, as well as driving positive change in the world of work. They outline Diversity and Inclusivity (D&I) as being about “valuing everyone in the organisation as an individual.” But of course, to benefit from a diverse workforce it’s vital to have an inclusive environment where everyone feels able to participate and achieve their potential. (You can download the CIPD factsheet on inclusion and diversity in the workplace here).
This led me to reflect upon how inclusive and diverse Outsourced Events really is and whether it truly is a workplace that goes beyond the legal compliance and ultimately contributes to employee wellbeing and engagement.
How Does Outsourced Events Demonstrate Diversity and Inclusivity?
From an organisation perspective, Outsourced Events (OE) are a WEConnect certified women-owned business with an active focus on inclusivity in the workplace. OE offers both remote working and flexible hours to fit around childcare; something that I’ve personally hugely benefitted from, as I’ve been able to adjust my work schedule to fit around my children’s needs and make provisions for school holidays.
Always looking for ways to challenge stereotypes and support the local community, OE helped a homeless person back into work, by having them join our team and provided assistance to get them back on their feet.
OE continually strives to be sensitive to both the neurodiversity and disability needs of its employees (and their families) with epilepsy, dyslexia, dyspraxia and diabetes amongst those currently supported. OE has provided training and education to the team on some of these and in doing so, have fostered an open and sympathetic environment. We have also provided work-experience to students with disabilities and special educational needs.
For our 15th year celebration, we were thrilled to sponsor Dimitri Coutya, a No.1 ranked wheelchair fencer and Paralympian medallist and were delighted to have Dimitri as a guest of honour at our client celebrations that year.
You’ll also see from our website, the team at OE is composed of a diverse range of race, age, and genders. OE celebrates this diversity within the team at every opportunity. I still fondly remember pre-Covid celebrations that included an International Food Day - where each team member brought in a dish from their culture to share as a group, as well as Ramadan, Eid, Chinese New Year, and Christmas festivities.
Not only have we at OE celebrated the various cultural backgrounds of the team, but we have also understood the importance of individual’s religious beliefs and practices, for instance by also providing further flexibility to those fasting during Ramadan.
Anyone that has worked at OE knows we have always been about “the team” and when asked, the majority of employees always mention “the team” as one of the main plusses of working at OE. Given the value placed on our team, OE has always supported the mental health and wellbeing of its staff, through several activities pre-Covid such as Yoga.
OE has also continued to support the wellbeing of its staff during Covid-19 by ensuring that good quality communication and accurate updates are being provided. Measures have been taken to lower stress and to boost team morale. A monthly culture and wellbeing club has been organised, additional “care packages” have been sent by the directors throughout the pandemic, which has helped all of us feel connected, valued and cared for and we have participated in many virtual team building sessions, from cookalongs, to centrepiece decorating; much fun has been had!
Not only this, but we have also shown our support for Pride Month and for Black Lives Matter.
Diversity and Inclusivity in Events
From a client perspective, we are used to working with a D&I focus all the time, particularly with our association clients. For the British Neuroscience Association (BNA), we provided for case study speakers with various neurological diagnoses including early onset Alzheimer’s. For the Royal College of Occupational Therapists (RCOT), where the audience is made up of practising Occupational Therapists as well as patients, we had live transcribers for all sessions to ensure everything was sub-titled in the virtual environment. We also ran wellbeing sessions including Laughing Yoga, Dance Therapy and Relaxing, and Revitalising Meditation. In the live environment we managed practical hands-on workshops entitled Occupation Stations that touched on the practicalities of supporting people living with various challenges.
During the events we support, we often provide sign language interpreters, subtitling, and live captioning and ensure our virtual platforms are set-up to be accessible and inclusive. For the ACCA recently, the OE team personally subtitled 40+ sessions.
Additionally, at the events we organise, whether they are virtual, hybrid or live, we work with our clients to ensure the event is as inclusive as possible at each stage of its planning, production, and delivery. Pre-event, we advise the set-up of a diverse organising committee that then share duties appropriately, to prevent any individuals becoming overwhelmed. We also review and advise on developing both a diverse programme and speaker selection, considering gender, ethnic, and racial diversity, as well as a mixture of formats to aid knowledge sharing.
We also provide best-practice guidance for presentation slides and encourage inclusive participation by briefing Chairs on how to ensure everyone has a voice and urge questions from a diverse range of people. OE also makes recommendations for entertainment and networking sessions that are scheduled at various times of the day, thereby enabling all to attend.
Many of the events we have supported have also purposefully kept their sessions short (between 20-25 minutes), this is to ensure those with learning disabilities can more easily participate. We also make sure we have a help desk (online or physical) to provide everyone with the opportunity to ask questions.
Post-event the majority of sessions have been offered on demand so that the audience can consume the content at their own pace.
As a woman of colour who was born and raised in London, I have many first-hand experiences of prejudice, both in the workplace and out. However, I can wholeheartedly say, having considered my time working at Outsourced Events, the company, its directors, and all of its team really do care about its employees and aim to be inclusive and diverse at all times. It does not stand for any form of discrimination and while words are important, actions are what really count. OE is truly committed to D&I throughout the organisation, stakeholders and its communication and has polices in place to guide this.
To discuss anything mentioned in this article or if you any need assistance, please get in contact via email or give us a call on +44 (0)330 460 6007.
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