We were delighted to support Siemens Financial Services and the Leasing Association on their ‘Race to Inclusivity’ event recently. The event was held at the Siemens Financial Services offices in Manchester where we were joined by around 50 people from Siemens and from other finance sector organisations, with many more also joining online. The aim was to high light the value of an inclusive workplace and in particular the behaviours, actions and initiatives that can help to foster that inclusivity.
‘Race is a topic we have a real passion and energy for, yet it’s something people often don’t want to address. In my experience when we lean into these conversations it makes a genuine difference to our people and the entire organisation. We have to create inclusive environments if we’re to get the best out of people and the best out of our organisations.’ Julian Hobbs, CEO, Siemens Financial Services in the UK.
The session was opened by Julian Hobbs, the CEO of Siemens Financial Services, followed by Olympian and motivational speaker Derek Redmond who shared his understanding of the many forms that diversity can take, and his experience of how truly leveraging diversity leads to high performance (and vice versa!).
Steps then moved the conversation on, examining the behaviours that help to build a more inclusive workplace via a scenario and facilitated discussion (adapted from our Conscious Inclusion programme). We have been running this bespoke programme across different parts of Siemens for around 2 years now. Seeing situations play out in a fictional organisation not only helps people to identify moments and examples where things have gone wrong, it also provides the space and time to see how inclusion/exclusion operates and the types of discussions that can help to effectively manage and change this.
Gary Bates, Director at Steps, explains, ‘’The programme and scenarios were developed via research and discussion with colleagues across Siemens, so the situations are recognisable and characters reflect our co-workers, bosses and of course ourselves. The critical distance afforded by the use of drama enables people to learn and discuss without judgement, to own the changes that we all need to make, and to then apply what we’ve learnt to real situations within our organisation’’.
Jo Harris, Sales Director at Siemens Financial Services, adds, “The training has helped people understand that using certain language, phrases and approaches, can play a part in combatting bias in our day-to-day interactions. It has also helped people learn to call out bias with confidence, and to be receptive of being called out without being defensive, but with the awareness that through the training, adjustments can be made and we can move forward.”
The event then concluded with powerful and personal stories from Siemens colleagues. They shared their experiences of some of the positive initiatives that the organisation has put in place over the past couple of years to make Siemens Financial Services a place where people feel more comfortable talking about race, and where black and minority ethnic colleagues can thrive.