Bringing your true self to work

12 Mar 2019

Bringing your true self to work

Naomi Attwood, People Director Centre, Talent and Leadership at BUPA shares a healthcare company’s simple, yet radical approach to fostering an inclusive workplace.

One inspiring example of an inclusive approach with the potential to radically improve the working environment, job satisfaction and productivity is Be You at Bupa.

In 2018, the UK-headquartered international healthcare group launched Be You At Bupa. The initiative shows Bupa’s commitment to promoting and celebrating diversity and inclusion, encouraging everyone to bring their true selves to work.

Instead of focusing on diversity, Bupa’s People Team puts the emphasis on inclusion as a means to foster a culture of openness and support.

As part of this initiative, Bupa encourages the creation of organic networks connecting people with common needs who may want to share and learn from each other.

Finding flexibility

Flexibility is critical to this approach and many work environments that seem inherently inflexible can be made to flex with a little creativity.

For example, in one Bupa call centre, shift management was handed over to the employees. All shifts were listed on the wall of the call centre and colleagues could swap shifts amongst themselves. As long as the hours were adequately covered, and people were adequately trained, it didn’t matter who was on each shift.

Build resilience

A key element of Bupa’s employee health and wellbeing programme is Performance Energy, a resilience-building initiative to help people manage everyday pressures.

Understanding and respecting colleagues’ ‘non-negotiables’ is essential for maintaining workplace performance energy.

The practice of openly sharing non-negotiables within teams—understanding who has to be where, when and why, so people can manage their time guilt-free to fit everything in—gives people the energy to be at their best at work.

This might be always having dinner with the family, having certain afternoons free to coach a basketball team, or running at lunchtime. Sharing these time constraints allows teams to manage around them so people’s personal lives are respected, but customers aren’t impacted.

Bupa provides a good example for other companies interested in improving their diversity and inclusion metrics and just generally being a better place to work. It is a working example of how it is possible to pursue creative solutions to both accommodate employees’ needs and keep any impact on operations minimal.

This article is from the latest ‘Women, Diversity and the Path to Greater Inclusion’ edition of the Odgers Berndtson global magazine, OBSERVE.

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