Colleague Story: Inclusion at the Growth Company
- Wednesday, February 7, 2024
- Posted By The Growth Company
Mysha Williams, EDI Manager for Restart North West and Co-chair of the EmbRace EDI Network, shares her first impressions of joining the Growth Company and her views on our commitment to Equality, Diversity and Inclusion.
Across my 13-year career, there’s often only been me, or maybe one other ethnic person where I’ve worked. We didn't have ethnic community groups and sometimes I'd be the only colleague from an ethnic community in the entire organisation. I always expected when starting a job to not see many people from a similar background, it was the norm.
So when I joined GC two years ago, I noticed people like me across the organisation – people of a similar age, but also of Caribbean or African descent. It was to say the least, something that took me aback at first, but I was very impressed by how GC made sure our teams were diverse. This helped me settle in as well, it’s amazing what a difference it makes just to see people from a similar culture or background working in the same place or even the same department.
The most inclusive thing I've noticed at GC is we all work together to advance positive change through our inclusion agenda. The fact that we have eight Equality Diversity & Inclusion (EDI) networks is fantastic! – you don't see that in many organisations. I knew straight away that GC was committed to providing equal opportunity for all our colleagues and customers.
I usually join an employee committee of some kind, because I enjoy supporting people. I could have joined our Women’s Network, or any other of the other seven Networks, but GC’s EmbRace (race) Network is about my culture and my community – something I hold very close.
Being heard and having the confidence that our senior management team will act on our EDI Network’s recommendations is so important. As one of the EmbRace co-chairs, I took action and made change. I did this by helping to launch a change in how we can be more inclusive in the language we use across our organisation. I appreciated that our collective voice was heard, and GC no longer use the term ‘ethnic minority’, we now use our preferred term, ‘ethnic communities’ – which is now used across all our colleague and externally facing content, including our websites.
Learning to look out for each other is such a positive and rewarding thing – especially empowering people and encouraging them to respect one another. It’s very important for us to have an inclusive environment and for colleagues to feel they’re included and represented. We need to demonstrate that in our actions and in how we treat each other day-in and day-out.
Our GC policies often guide me in my EDI network activities and in my day job. I frequently refer to our Equality Diversity and Inclusion Policy and Dignity at Work Charter and Policy – not necessarily in terms of personally needing support, but to understand how we approach things, how I can support others, and how to apply our values in the workplace to respect and empower our colleagues.
My cultural heritage is something that's part of me and I’m happy I can bring all of me to work and be an active part of adding value to the work GC do to ensure different cultures and backgrounds feel included and a part of the GC family.
At GC we actively celebrate and spotlight different cultures and awareness days. Last year, for example, we looked in depth at South Asian Heritage week and encouraged colleagues to take part in a range of activities across the organisation to celebrate and understand South Asian heritage and culture. We have lots planned for this year too!
We never want to reach a ceiling here at GC when it comes to inclusion. We must always do better and go further. We all need to make sure inclusivity and respect is at the heart of everything we do, with everyone we work with.