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Our fourth Power of Diversity Breakfast, sponsored by Barclays; saw us looking into how the introduction of flexible working practices is a transistor, and often an accelerator for, inclusive and diverse workplaces.  The Right Honourable The Lord Mayor Charles Bowman opened with some startling research that showed how “flexible working is imperative for enabling underrepresented groups to participate in every level of the labour market”.

Ian Rand, CEO of Business Banking at Barclays UK, shared his personal transition from dynamic working non believer to champion and advocate. “If you don’t have an organisation that supports dynamic working, you don’t have an organisation that supports diversity – full stop”. He shared that talking about it underpinned everything else they’ve done at Barclays to ensure 57% of the workforce are now working dynamically.

Amanda Cooper, Head of Strategic Capability Planning, talked about the journey Thales  have gone through in the last year to change mind-sets around working practices; by using everyday office technology in creative ways to build trust and help people think about work differently. Teams now and take ownership of their deliverables, creating a happier and more productive workplace.

Alison Payne, Head of People Operations at Cook, stressed that flexible working should not be seen as just a policy, or driven by HR - it needs to be led by line managers. Her top tips for organisations starting this journey were to: 1. Have the energy, passion to drive the agenda and talk about it 2. Stop concentrating on parents and childcare issues – flexible working is for everyone - bust the myths and talk about life events 3. Include as many people as possible in the conversation - critics and all!

We’re picking up some of these points in our senior leadership forum this Wednesday (11th July), as well as reflecting on some of the projects that have been shared at this year’s other breakfasts.

If you would like to join the next Power of Diversity Breakfast “Motivating the Middle Manager – What’s in it for me?” on September 5th, email diversity@thelordmayorsappeal.org . If you would like to see the full years Power of Diversity series click here