Domestic abuse can take many different forms and is not always easy to spot – in fact, even the person on the receiving end themselves may not recognise it for what it is. There can be many reasons why people experiencing domestic abuse are reluctant to speak up or seek help, from fears around their personal safety to concerns about being judged by their friends and family, employer or colleagues.

With many people working from home for a protracted period during the Covid pandemic, instances of domestic abuse have increased dramatically and had a devastating impact both on employees’ physical and mental health and on their performance at work. Being able to spot where domestic abuse may be occurring and taking appropriate action to protect and support their staff is therefore a crucial aspect of employers’ duty of care. 

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Symbol of corporate social responsibility

Gone are the days when businesses were only expected to generate profits and it was up to non-profits to solve society’s problems. Today, businesses are also expected to have a positive impact on society and the environment. One way companies are filling this new role is through the B Corp certification.

What is a B Corp?

A certified B corporation, or B Corp, is a designation for companies that meet high standards of social and environmental performance, transparency, and accountability. These companies have demonstrated commitment to the triple bottom line: people, planet, and profit.

There are three key aspects of a B Corp:

  1. The company has demonstrated high social and environmental performance through the B Impact Assessment, which covers the company’s impact on its workers, community, environment, and customers
  2. The company has made a legal commitment to be accountable to all stakeholders, not just shareholders. Traditional corporations are legally obliged to serve the financial interests of shareholders or company owners. However, B Corps must also create value for all stakeholders, meaning those impacted by business decisions such as customers, employees, and community members
  3. The company exhibits transparency by publishing its performance and impact assessment on the B Lab website

Today, many companies are choosing to demonstrate their social and environmental values with the B Corp certification. Globally, there are nearly 6,000 B Corps in 85 countries covering 158 industries.

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October marks World Menopause Month. Menopause can cause a wide range of debilitating symptoms that affect work and relationships, and the low hormone levels resulting from menopause can also lead to long-term medical issues such as heart disease, diabetes and dementia. With women over 50 being one of the fastest-growing groups in the workforce, organisations are increasingly likely to have employees who are affected by menopause. Being able to have conversations around treatment, support and adjustments is crucial for ensuring their well-being, engagement and productivity.

The stigma around menopause in the workplace

The stigma around menopause and a general lack of understanding can make it difficult for people who are going through menopause to recognise their symptoms or speak about them openly. It can also be hard for managers and colleagues to effectively and sensitively approach the issue and offer support.

What is menopause?

Menopause is a natural biological process, but it can also occur as a result of certain medical treatments, such as chemotherapy or surgical operations to remove the womb or ovaries, which can lead to what is known as surgical menopause. The perimenopause, or menopause transition, begins several years before menopause and is the time when the ovaries gradually start making less of the hormone oestrogen. People going through perimenopause can experience a range of symptoms and menstrual irregularities. Some of these symptoms include hot flushes, night sweats, trouble sleeping, anxiety, poor concentration and irritability. Those experiencing menopause also have an increased risk of conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and dementia.

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People can be marginalised for many different reasons. This is often because they have a particular characteristic and are oppressed because of it. Racism, homophobia, transphobia, religious hatred, sexism, misogyny, ageism, and ableism are all forms of oppression which can marginalise someone.

Allyship is a process of building relationships with marginalised people and standing in solidarity with them. Allyship takes work. It requires active efforts to create trust, be consistent, and be accountable. 

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Neurodiversity is an umbrella term used to refer to the variation in the human brain with regards to social interaction, learning, attention, mood and other brain functions, and can cover a range of conditions. Recent studies suggest that 1 in 10 people in the UK are neurodivergent, meaning that organisations that fail to meet the needs of their neurodivergent staff, customers and service users are neglecting a significant demographic.

With ‘diversity of thought’ now recognised as being key to innovation and creative problem-solving, employers who are able to attract and support neurodivergent employees can tap into a uniquely skilled talent pool who quite literally ‘think differently’. Skill Boosters’ neurodiversity course examines the nature of neurodiversity, the challenges neurodivergent people face and how organisations can support neurodivergent staff, customers and service users.

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Allies use their power, voice and privilege to act in solidarity with individuals from marginalised or minority groups to tackle inappropriate behaviour and bring down systems of oppression.

VinciWorks and Skill Boosters recently hosted an interactive webinar where they were joined by business psychologist and diversity expert Binna Kandola OBE, founder of business-psychology consultancy Pearn Kandola, as well as psychologist Ashley Williams and Skill Boosters’ Head of Content Ros Fordyce. They looked at real-life scenarios and explored what makes an effective ally. Using short video scenarios, we polled the audience on how they would best handle a given situation and share insights from leading D&I experts.

The diversity and inclusion webinar covers:

  • Why is allyship important?
  • The different minority and marginalised groups to whom we can be allies
  • What it means to be an effective and inclusive ally
  • Actions that allies can take to support people from minority or marginalised groups
  • The ‘Open The Front Door’ communication framework and how to use it
  • A brief overview of the new Allyship course by Skill Boosters

Watch now

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Celebrating who we are

Diversity, equality and inclusion are deeply held values at VinciWorks. Those values drive us to create products that help organisations promote ethical and inclusive workplace culture. They also instruct our corporate mission to create a safer, fairer and more honest world.

Our work to provide compliance expertise and promote best practice in the area of ESG often involves the seemingly tricky task of tracking diversity data. Finding out who works in the organisation is the first step to increasing talent and representation. A diverse, representative workforce is not merely about looking the part, it helps the organisation thrive. 

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The best companies are investing in diversity because they know a diverse workforce, and more importantly, one where everyone feels included is critical to long term success. New  talent  and  younger  generations  often deliberately choose workplaces where diversity is celebrated, and a business with a global outlook needs to put diversity front and center.

But the places we grow up in, our own education and cultural background can prove a challenge to managing a diverse workforce. Our own ideas about race, religion or sexual orientation may not be shared by colleagues in other parts of the world, and sometimes the systems and processes in our companies are not always set up to deal with a global workforce.

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What is the difference between traditional diversity and harassment training and bystander intervention training?

Organisations have been trying to address sexual harassment and diversity and inclusion training for decades now, but the efforts have been largely unsuccessful. In recent years, the need for effective training has come to light again as a result of the widespread sexual misconduct allegations that inspired the #metoo movement, and a more diverse workforce than ever. 

An organisation that embraces a culture of diversity, equality and inclusion has a better chance at sustainable success. But what’s the best way to create a work culture in which everyone, from the CEO to the managers to all employees, embraces diversity and promotes equality? What is the best way to effectively train on respectful engagement with others?

Experimentation and research (mainly conducted on university campuses and in the military) have shown that while traditional diversity, inclusion and harassment training is largely ineffective and can even aggravate existing problems, a different method, known as bystander-intervention training, is more effective.

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