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Market access update

Diversity and inclusion in the workplace

Written by Christina Lawrence

Amazing things are possible when diversity and inclusion are woven into workplace culture, says Christina Lawrence, Head of People at PRMA Consulting.

In this update, Christina explains the value the company places on diversity and inclusion, and gives some examples of the new initiatives that are being implemented. 

She also responds to the all-too-common questions about diversity and inclusion workplace initiatives that others may shy away from. 

Diversity and inclusion in the workplace is shown to drive effectiveness 

Studies show that companies with higher-than-average diversity among their employees are more likely to outperform their competitors. 

Diversity

If you are a client of PRMA Consulting, you will know first-hand that our investment in a diverse, dynamic, and inquisitive global team is what makes our organisation so special. Diversity drives innovation and we have always encouraged different approaches and perspectives in our collaborative partnerships. 

That way we can continue to provide our clients with: 

  • tailored collaboration with effective communication 
  • unique access to different perspectives, evidence, and solutions 
  • robust recommendations built on shared perspectives. 

But of course we, and the Fishawack Health group which we are part of, recognize that we must continually improve our strategies on workplace diversity and inclusion. This continued focus will keep us close to our shared vision of an inspiring, respectful, and inclusive environment that welcomes and retains a diverse team who serve an increasingly diverse customer group and society. 

I’ll come back to our strategy and some examples of our diversity and inclusion activities, but first it is useful to summarise what workplace diversity and inclusion means for us. 

What is workplace diversity? 

When we think about diversity at work it is common to consider race, age, language, and so on. But there are non-visible parts of our identity that contribute to diversity too, such as: 

  • individual values 
  • mental health at any moment in time 
  • learning, working, and communication styles. 

For me, maintaining a diverse workplace where our colleagues are engaged, motivated, and high-performing means considering the visible and non-visible parts of identity so that opportunities and participation are equal for all. 

The signs of an inclusive workplace 

Feeling welcome and involved, being able to share your ideas, feeling respected and safe, having your voice heard, feeling valued for your contribution, being rewarded appropriately and fairly, bringing your whole self to work, feeling empowered to grow and reach your full potential – these are all signs of having an inclusive workplace. 

At PRMA Consulting, our values of respect and collaboration have always been embedded in our inclusive culture, and we can see from our annual employee surveys that colleagues feel they grow strong partnerships and are proud of their contribution.  

Examples of diversity and inclusion initiatives in the workplace 

PRMA Consulting are part of the Fishawack Heath group, and we are investing in a shared vision to continually improve our diverse and inclusive workplace.

Our initiatives to realize this vision centre around three core pillars: Understand, Enable, and Attract. 

Here are some examples: 

Understand 

We ensure the meaning, value, and impact of diversity and inclusion and its component parts are understood across the business. 

Examples of our activities include: 

  • Clear and accessible company policies that are regularly reviewed. These are in areas such as recruitment, induction and training, and promotion. 
  • Our diversity and inclusion working party, which includes volunteers from different levels, departments, and locations within PRMA Consulting, who listen, invite suggestions, and share learnings to continually improve our inclusive culture. 
  • Holding education sessions to equip our teams with the language and tools to discuss topics that help team members feel welcomed and valued, such as education on using pronouns. 

Enable 

The organization has the tools to ensure all employees can succeed as we continue to drive impactful client work. 

Examples of our activities include: 

  • Providing mentoring programs that offer long-term, relationship-based support and encouragement to help colleagues realize their potential, develop their skills, and become the professional they want to be. 
  • Wherever we work, we work together. Our remote working group helps maintain our shared culture and provides an additional voice and sense of cohesion and positive experience for colleagues who are working remotely.  
  • We use Insights® Discovery profiles and workshops to help colleagues understand their own drivers and communication styles and those of their colleagues. As well as being an interesting route to self-discovery, the activities encourage us to think about the diversity within PRMA Consulting and how we can enhance our respectful and effective working relationships. 

Attract 

We continue to develop the diversity of our global network of partners and our team. 

Examples of our activities include: 

  • A diversity index, created by Fishawack Health, which will help us track and optimize our performance. This includes metrics for gender pay gap, diversity pay gap, and employee numbers by gender and race across disciplines, levels, and regions. Our goal is to publish our ongoing analysis on the Fishawack Health website.  
  • We join in the conversation during international events that raise awareness of diversity and inclusion in the workplace and beyond. 
  • We continue to share the voices of our team and provide role models within the business. Here is an example that showcases some of the pioneering women who lead our digital applications

Building a diverse and inclusive workplace comes with its challenges 

It is important to talk about diversity and inclusion in the workplace, and that can be uncomfortable and challenging for some people at times.  

We don’t shy away from these all-too-common questions about workplace diversity and inclusion. 

I hope my answers can help you; please get in touch if you’d like to talk more. 

 

“Diversity and inclusion initiatives in the workplace make some people uncomfortable.” 

The blunt answer is: yes, they do!

Diverse teams process information differently, so there can be disagreements that cause discomfort, but the discussions are the foundation of genuine innovation. 


“Diversity and inclusion initiatives force people to do things they don’t want to or aren’t ready for.” 

“Forced action” on diversity initiatives does not work.

Go back to the business case and remember why we need inclusion. There are awareness training and tools available online to help. 


“Isn’t diversity and inclusion just ‘reverse discrimination’ against straight people, white people, and men?”

Absolutely not.

The best programmes strengthen the work environment so everyone can do their best work and get the support they need.


“Diversity and inclusion in the workplace is just a fad, so why would we invest money in it?” 

The research has been building for many years. 

The first major study for modern diversity and inclusion came from Harvard Business Review in 1990. 

The world is getting more diverse with migration and population growth, so building environments where every person can perform at their best is a necessity as we support clients in increasingly diverse markets. 


“Diversity and inclusion legislation varies across the globe; what is the impact for multinational organisations?” 

It’s not easy. 

Employers must keep abreast of a range of regulations, laws, and international policies. In addition, there may be unique challenges in implementing and administering company diversity initiatives, such as offering a global diversity training for a team in a country with specific laws or culture. 

We want all our colleagues to feel they belong, to feel respected and valued, and to be empowered to develop and perform at their best. That’s why we work with our international teams to create and improve our inclusive policies and training. Our leadership team are always here to listen and address any concerns that employees may have. 

Beyond our internal initiatives PRMA Consulting helps its clients understand more about the patient access experience of marginalized groups around the world who are seeking equal access to healthcare. 


“What if you can’t please everyone with your diversity and inclusion initiatives?”

Diversity and inclusion initiatives are about making the organisation more successful.

It’s not about pleasing everyone.

 

Further reading 

  1. How diversity can dive innovation
    https://hbr.org/2013/12/how-diversity-can-drive-innovation 
  2. Diversity Wins: how inclusion matters.
    https://www.mckinsey.com/featured-insights/diversity-and-inclusion/diversity-wins-how-inclusion-matters  
  3. Diversity is being invited to the party. Inclusion is being asked to dance. ®
    https://www.vernamyers.com/

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