Our Inclusivity Challenge

It is Glasgow Pride this weekend (Saturday the 25th of June) and our Commercial Director Steven Turner has written down some thoughts on the challenges of inclusivity in the IT industry.

“Cloud Cover IT is committed to eliminating discrimination and encouraging diversity within our workplace. Our aim is that the workforce will be truly representative of all sections of society and each person feels respected and able to give their best.”

I wanted to get this in early, these are the opening words of our company’s Equality and Diversity policy which goes on to set out our commitments and the responsibilities of the directors in ensuring that it happens. I agree with its commitment and with its objective.

Part One: Are we “Truly Representative”?

… I look around our team and, what I see is not “truly representative” of the diversity of the communities that I live and work within.

A little over 10% of our team are female, almost everyone is White European with a Canadian thrown into the mix. Me? I’m a white, 50something CIS male (who had to google CIS male). I have pronouns displayed on my LinkedIn profile and, in my quieter moments, despair not only that we still have an inclusivity problem but, that I am a part of that problem.

It’s a wider Society Problem.

It’s a Business Problem.

It’s a Tech Sector Problem.

It’s our Companies Problem.

It is My Problem.

Part Two: “Are we doing anything for Pride?”

This innocuous Teams Message popped up from a colleague about three weeks ago. I reply, “Of course, we can do one of those nice rainbow logo thingies, that will look great.”

I start to question this; What if we get criticised? We aren’t really bandwagon kind of people. I really don’t like how some other companies “Do Pride”.

It’s not going to turn into a single extra enquiry, contract or invoice.

Just leave it? Yeah, that’s the easiest thing to do.

Despite these entirely rational arguments, the question stays with me and, I discuss it with colleagues, family, and some LGBTQ+ rights activists who I know.

Part Three: “Not everyone feels included in our Inclusive world.”

My conversation with a Trans activist stayed with me. “Not everyone feels safe to be who they are.”

I lean back on my trusty Equality and Diversity policy…. “There you go, you’re safe here, everyone is.”

“Prove it,” they say…

I look around our team and, what I see is not “truly representative” of the diversity of the communities that I live and work within.

A little over 10% of our team are female

Almost everyone is White European; I hear the Canadian from across the office; phew!

Let’s start to address this problem, we know that diversity is an advantage, diverse teams work better, solve problems faster and, frankly, have more fun doing it.

It’s a Society Opportunity.

It’s a Business Opportunity.

It’s a Tech Sector Opportunity.

It’s our Company’s Opportunity.

It is My Challenge.

Part Four: Yes, we are doing something. Not for Pride but for our future.

We’ve done one of those coloured logo thingies…

Using the colours of the inclusivity flag designed by Daniel Quasar in 2018, we hope that this is a visual representation not only of our commitment to strive for inclusivity in our team, our work, and our ethos but that it represents our celebration of and our positivity towards diversity.

During June this year, we will review and change how we communicate, how we recruit, how we reach out and, importantly how we act. When our outward-facing logo goes back to brand colours, we will have made lasting changes to how we include others.

I don’t yet know what those changes will be but, I know we will be better and stronger for them.

If you read this and feel that changing our logo colours for a few weeks a year and writing an inclusivity blog is appropriating for gain, I hear you and I wrestle with your criticism honestly.

If you see a sincere effort to play a small part in a big challenge, thank you and, if you have a part to play, join us.

I want to hear from you whatever opinion you hold on this, your input will shape what we do next.

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Cloud Cover IT is a Glasgow Based IT company, 10 years old, 40 staff and generally, I think, a great place to work. 

Steven Turner is Commercial Director at Cloud Cover IT.

Thank you to everyone who continues to contribute to this and helps me to form my opinions.  Never stop.