Inclusion & Diversity getting to the top of everyone's agenda
Last month, Outsource UK delivered “Inspiring Inclusion in the Workplace”, the fourth of our Inclusion and Diversity events for clients and candidates. Kindly hosted by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), this event was designed to highlight that when engaging a diverse workforce, ‘Communication is Key’.
We had a few hiccups — our booked British Sign Language (BSL) interpreter for our deaf panellist let us down on the day — eek! However, with the power of Facebook and our fantastic networks, we managed to find TWO interpreters with just an hour to spare!
The NCSC opened the event with Chris E, Deputy Director for Cyber Skills and Growth and Deborah P, Deputy Director for Private Sector Critical National Infrastructure. Chris discussed the work that NCSC are doing to attract talent into Cyber, but also gave some shocking statistics. Last year only five thousand women took a cyber-security degree, which is why the NCSC is engaging with primary and secondary schools to create an interest in cyber security from a young age.
Deborah talked about her personal journey at the NCSC. When she interviewed for her role she was seven months pregnant with her third child. She worked for one day before starting her maternity leave, however; NCSC recognised that she was the best candidate for the role and supported her with her 12 month maternity leave. Half of the leadership team at the NCSC is female and flexible working arrangements for men and women form a normal part of working life.
We then moved into three short presentations. Claire Farrow, our Diversity and Inclusion Client Partner, and I spoke about Diversity is more than just Gender, the difference between a job advert and a job description, and how your recruitment and assessment process needs to be tailored to cater for everybody. With some hints and tips of how to do this and communicate well.
Pearl Noble-Mallock, Head of Product Security at BAE Systems Naval Ships, discussed Dyslexia as her superpower and shared her story of how she uses technology to help with her written communication. A key takeaway for me is that Dyslexics have a higher strategic level of thinking, whereas an autistic person has a higher level of detailed thinking. By working together these two superpowers combine making a force to be reckoned with!
Joanne Lockwood, of SEE Change Happen, talked about the recruitment process naturally being one of exclusion and we need to learn how to flip this to make it less so. Businesses also need to ensure that they don’t just focus on one group — as we are all one human race. Also with remote working, we need to ensure staff don’t feel or become isolated and that different offices don’t have micro cultures.
Sarah talked about a culture of everyone having a voice at Fujitsu. Fujitsu is working to change its image and has implemented ideas such as reverse mentoring to bridge the gap between the leadership team and the staff on the floor.
Kevin talked about diversity being about how a person thinks and approaches a problem. A team may look similar but all have very different cultural backgrounds — its diversity of thought that is important.
Chris talked about attacking the root cause of the problem and working with school children and explained that the NCSC have Cyber Adventurer packs that businesses can use to work with schools in their areas.
Deborah talked about the difference between the NCSC and GCHQ (its parent company). As the NCSC is a new organisation, they have worked from inception to create an inclusive culture, however; culture change for an older organisation is always hard. No organisation is perfect but we need to be striving to do better every day.
Joseph, via his interpreter, emphasised the importance of treating everyone as an individual. You need to work to understand their needs — deafness, for example, has many different forms and you can’t treat it as ‘one size fits all’.
Conversations continued well after our panellists had finished. Feedback received has been really positive, and for me, if it wasn’t already clear, it is now. Diversity really does Matter and Communication really is Key!
To find out more about opportunities at the NCSC or GCHQ check out their website here: GCHQ Careers
To find out more about the Inclusion & Diversity services that Outsource offers, take a look at our website here Outsource D&I Services
To find out about new cyber opportunities as a candidate, or for help in hiring Cyber talent, do get in touch with myself or any of our #CyberSquad
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