Showcasing the Best of Welsh Business

Supporting Diversity in the Workplace

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Named as one of Bristol’s 100 Most Influential Black & Minority ethnic people October 2018, Michelle Alexis is Cardiff University’s Deputy Business Manager. She is also currently working on a consultancy basis with the Welsh Government on their Race Equality Action Plan through Alexis Consultancy. For Michelle, diversity in the workplace is incredibly important.

She chats to Business News Wales about this here:

Michelle, who has many years’ experience in devising and implementing EDI strategy, mentoring and motivating teams and empowering individuals, said:

“We just aren’t there yet. There’s still a lot of work to do at all levels to encompass all protective characteristics in the work place, also taking into account intersectionality as well.”

Michelle goes on to say how we need to “encompass everyone” and how the economy needs a refresh of diverse thinking and practices. She describes her believe that we need a workforce with “fresh perspectives and innovative ideas.”

Michelle talks in depth about how she is a qualified UK panelist member of the Race Equality Charter.

The Race Equality Charter is underpinned by five fundamental guiding principles.

  • Racial inequalities are a significant issue within higher education. Racial inequalities are not necessarily overt, isolated incidents. Racism is an everyday facet of UK society and racial inequalities manifest themselves in everyday situations, processes and behaviors.
  • UK higher education cannot reach its full potential unless it can benefit from the talents of the whole population and until individuals from all ethnic backgrounds can benefit equally from the opportunities it affords.
  • In developing solutions to racial inequalities, it is important that they are aimed at achieving long-term institutional culture change, avoiding a deficit model where solutions are aimed at changing the individual.
  • Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic staff and students are not a homogenous group. People from different ethnic backgrounds have different experiences of and outcomes from/within higher education, and that complexity needs to be considered in analysing data and developing actions.
  • All individuals have multiple identities, and the intersection of those different identities should be considered wherever possible.

By joining Advance HE’s Race Equality Charter, institutions are committing to following these principles in how they approach race equality and address their institutional culture. Once an institution has signed up to the REC by sending in their letter of commitment, they will need to submit their application within three years.

But what advice would Michelle give to businesses who are aiming to be more diverse?

She says:

“My advice would be for businesses and decision makers to critically evaluate and reflect on the culture of their organization. Can everyone come to work as themselves truly? Sometimes it’s as simple as just looking around the departments and work spaces.”

A simple step can make a big difference and individuals like Michelle Alexis are certainly doing all that they can to change attitudes to diversity.