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Why Equality Matters

Why Equality Matters


All too often, the news reports are about situations where something bad has happened, so it is lovely when a genuinely heart-warming tale goes viral that reminds us all of the capacity we all have to make a positive difference to others, especially when they really need it.

One such tale brought a tear to my eye recently, and that was the incredible story of the Sainsbury’s employee, Mrs Salomon. (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-43290747). If you missed the story I thoroughly recommend you read it now (or the twitter thread from her son, @DoronSalomon).

What really struck me is the dignity all the staff at the Kenton store afforded her; they treated her with the kind of humanity we would all want for those we love. They nurtured her and cherished her and gave her a purpose and routine that meant a great deal to Mrs Salomon and her family.

I will be honest; as a parent of a teenager with additional needs, this story struck a particular chord with me. I know that my son will also need colleagues like the team at this Sainsbury’s store to embrace his unique qualities and help him to be a valued member of the team, wherever his career takes him. It is lovely to know it is possible.

I was reflecting on this again when I heard the sad news of the death of the remarkable Professor Stephen Hawking yesterday. He truly achieved greatness in the face of terrible adversity. Yet how much of his story would have been possible if his employers hadn’t been prepared to support him? What would the world have missed out on if, for all those years, ‘reasonable adjustments’ weren’t made to ensure he could carry on with his work?

For me, it is stories like Mrs Salomon and Professor Hawking that are a great reminder to all of us of the importance of inclusion and equality. It is more than a legal obligation, it is the right thing to do.

As managers, we have a unique opportunity to make equality and diversity at the heart of our team’s values; to say, “this is what we stand for”. As ever, this will begin by role modelling the right behaviours and attitude ourselves.

But we also need to give our team a reason to embrace it too.

Simply quoting their legal obligations at them will never do it; this is about engaging hearts and their minds. We’ve got some great activities that will help you do this, starting with the brilliant Witches of Glum. Other exercises you should enjoy delivering are Team Intrigue, Equality Attitude, People in a Different Light and Intentions v Perceptions.

I shall leave you with a great quote from Professor Hawking:

“And however difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at. It matters that you just don’t give up.”

All the best,

Frances


March 15 2018 Frances Ferguson
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Frances Ferguson




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