Image: Global People - iStock
Image: Global People – iStock

Fresh from toppling two best-selling authors from three of Amazon’s business lists with her new book, Closing the Gap – 5 steps to creating an Inclusive Culture, Teresa Boughey – CIPD fellow, CEO of Jungle HR and policy influencer – opened Relocate’s Festival of Global People in May with an inspiring and accessible keynote speech. Marianne Curphey reports:

“Inclusion is the role and responsibility of everyone at an organisation,” Teresa Boughey explained in her keynote speech on creating an inclusive culture.

Boughey is a member of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Women at Work and has a wealth of experience working with executive boards and leadership teams during times of change. She urged businesses to take stock of their current position, look at gender pay data, how talent is recruited and the diversity of the selection panel. “Where do you get your talent from and does the process enable you to search from the greatest possible range?” she asked. “Do your recruitment partners challenge you and is the selection panel diverse? Bring on junior members if it is not.” Boughey spoke about the importance of ensuring that the reward of individuals is fair and consistent – is performance management affected by bias and what is the level of staff engagement?

Watch highlights from the Festival:

The role of leadership is also key to setting the tone in an organisation, Boughey said. There is a need for “credible and authentic” leaders who understand the impact they have on others. Inclusion is not the role of one person, but it’s about educating and supporting everyone. “Mentoring is vital, but what training do you give to your mentors? Consider stretch assignments to help people build confidence and look around at what is happening. Listen to what your workforce is telling you,” she advised.Boughey warned that it might take time to create a culture change. “It’s a marathon, not a sprint. You are going to have to unpick generations of mindset and working practices – and it’s going to take time. The key issues are to analyse your data in order to learn where you can achieve the biggest improvements and commit to an action plan,” she explained.

Changing the narrative

Accenting the Festival of Global People’s key focus – how to build, engage and enable global teams – Boughey’s new title, Closing the Gap – 5 steps to creating an Inclusive Culture, is a motivational account of how to acknowledge and champion the possible in everyone. The book brings to bear Boughey’s 25 years’ experience in corporate HR and this was clear in her inspiring keynote, which was highly relevant for global managers and teams as they look to deal with the talent challenges of today and the coming years. She identified some “quick wins” for companies choosing staff to go on international assignments, such as, “ensuring that when you look for staff to be sent on global mobility assignments you don’t always pick the same people to go forward. It is about broadening your scope and ensuring those opportunities aren’t narrowed because of someone’s race, gender or personal situation. I think it is absolutely vital not to make assumptions that people don’t want to be included.”

In her speech, Boughey discussed the practices that really should be ingrained within an organisation and how they will attract individuals with purpose who are keen to go overseas for assignments.  Having worked with companies in the retail, general insurance, travel and tourism industries, Boughey said that “what’s really apparent in those businesses is they want to do something about building a workplace culture that is not only a great place to work, but that is also an inclusive place to work.” Part of this is making the case and recognising that not everyone understands or sees the importance of inclusion in creating a great place to work.

This is where Closing the Gap’s TRIBE methodology – a five-step cyclical approach – really gains traction, including for companies and individuals who value inclusion, but are struggling to go beyond one-off initiatives and really embed its values. Boughey explained, “I am on a personal mission to become the beacon of responsibility and so that’s why I created my TRIBE method to inspire others. I genuinely think we all have unique differences and it’s about how we enable organisations to create a culture that really values those and allows those to shine through.”

Inclusion means business – for everyone

Since setting up Jungle HR a decade ago, Boughey noticed that many companies show willingness to change, but that their approaches aren’t holistic or embedded, meaning business as usual takes over. Boughey acknowledges the vital role of leaders in all areas and at every level, making inclusion count at work, including with the introduction of the gender pay gap reporting requirement for the UK’s largest employers. Boughey is on a mission to help 10,000 companies – the number of organisations required by law to report their gender pay gaps. Crucially, those that already report their gender pay gaps are not the only companies in Boughey’s sights. “I was talking at an event recently where many of the companies represented fall just below the 250-employee mark, so don’t have to report by law,” she explained. “But my challenge was that gender pay gap reporting is as relevant to you as it is to the largest companies. You are in a great place to be able to tell your stories and to do something about inclusion.”

The TRIBE methodology

Speaking to Relocate Global after the Festival, Boughey explained that smaller employers are often in a position to really influence and deliver inclusion and great places to work in an impactful way. They can find it much easier to collate and analyse meaningful data and understand what it is saying. “That’s why I wanted my TRIBE methodology to be holistic, because pay rises alone are not going to address the underlying causes,” she added. “I am on a mission to influence people and businesses of all sizes by spreading the word that inclusion is accessible for everyone and we can now take it off the too-difficult-to-do pile.”During her keynote speech, Boughey brought her TRIBE approach to life with examples from practice and case studies relevant to global assignees, HR and global mobility. For example, she looked at inclusion from the perspective of talent planning, talent management and employee engagement.

TRIBE is a cyclical approach, which focuses on:

T =  Take stock – establish the truth in relation to your current diversity and inclusion position
R =  Raise awareness – understand why inclusion and diversity is important to gain a competitive advantage
I =   Inspire and involve – recognise the value of an internal culture that inspires and involves everyone
B =  Build for the future – embrace inclusion and diversity to improve and sustain talent attraction and retention
E =  Embed – ensure that your organisation is infused and firmly embedded in your organisation’s culture.

Future-proofing our organisations

“TRIBE is just really about creating a great place to work and everyone having a personal role in making that accessible and happen for everyone,” said Boughey. “It’s also about encouraging people to challenge what is happening around them and champion the unique value of everyone in their team.” She added that it is important to recognise and make the most of diversity, “When you have global assignees working together and in diverse teams, it’s about ensuring people understand the strengths and value they bring, the dynamic they create and the difference they make.” With inclusivity and diversity in the workplace quickly rising up the agenda for business leaders and employees alike and with examples such as the gender pay gap and inadequate flexible working making the headlines, Boughey explained, “Society is no longer accepting rhetoric and promises in the place of solid action to build an environment where employees are treated with respect and feel genuinely valued for their unique difference without the need to hide who they really are.”

“We have to look to the future,” concludes Boughey. “This broadly is about talent planning: how do we find talent, where do we get it from and how technology will help us. It’s about really getting your organisation set up for success and recognising that, not only do we have to think about our current talent, but out future talent, what they need and how our managers need to be set up to engage and retain people.”

Closing the gap

Teresa Boughey’s #1 bestselling book Closing the Gap – 5 steps to creating an Inclusive Culture provides corporate CEOs and HR directors with a clear framework and effective guidance to support those taking their first steps towards inclusivity and those already on their journey who may need additional guidance or ideas, by evaluating their progress to date and demonstrating how to embed inclusive practices into all future strategies. The foundation of Boughey’s book is her unique TRIBE Diversity & Inclusion methodology, which provides a comprehensive structure for any business to sustainably transform their culture and become the envy of their competitors.

Closing the Gap’s runaway Amazon chart success is surely a sign of our changing times and how inclusion is rocketing up the agenda as long-warned talent trends take hold. “It’s amazing that, as an aspiring author, I was outselling two titles written by my heroes, Simon Sinek and Patrick Lencioni,” said Boughey. “I do a lot of work around leadership development with executive boards and leaders, and theirs are some of the models I really use a lot. When I saw that my book had overtaken theirs, I was like ‘wow’, so I am absolutely thrilled about that.”