Inclusivity in the workplace has definitely come a long way over the last couple of years, from encouraging the use of pronouns, flexible working patterns, right through to diverse menu choices!
When we think about how the workplace has changed even just from the pandemic, with hybrid working and relaxed dress codes now more common, the opportunities for employees of all backgrounds and abilities are on the up, and that can only be a good thing in our book!
Some industries have been a little slower at adopting these changes and one in particular is the aviation industry, who are renowned for their strict gender specific dress codes. Virgin Atlantic launched their ad campaign in the summer, showing that they’d relaxed their dress code and are adopting a more inclusive environment for both staff and passengers, it’s a great ad – if you haven’t seen it, give it a google!
As of Monday, this week (14th November) British Airways have followed suit by relaxing dress codes for all employees including allowing the use of false eyelashes, make up, and nail polish regardless of gender identity. All of which were strictly a no-no beforehand.
It comes with some guidance such as no black or neon polish, and no visible tattoos, and employees are advised to aim for a natural look in subtle tones for any make up. So, whilst not quite up there with Virgin’s gender-neutral uniform offerings, it’s definitely a step in the right direction and it’s really interesting to watch the direction of travel with all this.
When approaching things such as inclusivity in the workplace, it can be tricky and it’s always a good idea to engage with your employees, after all any guidance you issue will impact them directly. By including them in the process you stand a far greater chance at getting things right and gaining that all important buy-in at the same time.
I’d always say challenge yourself; just because something is ‘done the way it’s always done’, doesn’t mean it’s the right way to do it, or that there isn’t something better out there. Check – are you moving with the times? In the employee led market we are in, having an inclusive workplace will open up opportunities to attract and retain a more engaged talented workforce, and that can only be a good thing!