Did you know that the benefits of building a workforce of diverse people and an inclusive culture are huge – from better financial performance and more innovative problem-solving to easier employee retention and greater appeal to customers.” 

The communities we serve are changing. I stepped up to become Chair of the Rise Network a few months ago so that I could be a part of making the Co-op ready for the future.

We live in a multicultural society, yet most of us spend the majority of our time with people who are just like us. Without perspectives from different backgrounds and cultures, our worldview is skewed as the representations we see in the media only offer, at best, a 2-dimensional view. Without a full picture, it’s difficult for us to envision the world as someone else may experience it.

Simply interacting with individuals who are different forces group members to prepare better, to anticipate alternative viewpoints and to expect that reaching consensus will take effort.”

A typical example of one way that cultural awareness makes us more able to serve our customers was given by a fellow colleague the other day. They facilitated some training with our Co-op Academies. At lunch, their chosen meal deal lunch of sandwiches, crisps and a drink was provided to the group. When a large portion of the students immediately turned over the bag of salt and Chardonnay vinegar crisps to ensure there was no alcohol, the colleague realised they’d overlooked a small but vital detail — as most of the students were Muslim and they don’t consume alcohol.

One of the main purposes of Rise is to create empathy and common understanding amongst colleagues of all cultures. To help with this, we’re hosting a series of events focused on different cultures to celebrate both our similarities and differences.

“Eighty-three per cent of employees are more likely to innovate – and are more than twice as engaged – in workplaces that are both diverse and inclusive.”

The first of these events is on Friday 23 November at Federation House from 4 – 8pm. It will focus on aspects of Afro-Caribbean culture and give the attendees the opportunity to network with colleagues from many different cultures in a social setting.

We invite you to come together to enjoy authentic Caribbean food, great music and learn about each other. Children are welcome, although they must be accompanied by an adult at all times.

Sign up to the event here

Diversity is good for customers, it’s good for communities and it’s good for business

Annette Joseph
Digital Delivery Manager and Chair of the Rise Network

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