Here at Touchstone, we love to share our experience of inclusion and diversity to make the world a better place for all.
As the number 1 ranked Top 50 Most Inclusive Employer in 2016, Touchstone can show it knows a thing or two about equality but we don’t want to hug that knowledge to ourselves – our mission is to share this expertise – so that everyone can benefit and Touchstone can achieve its vision of “Inspiring communities, transforming lives”.
We are invited to a range of organisations to support their transition from a place that wants to be inclusive, to one that is.
This doesn’t mean that there isn’t always much more that we can all be doing to create a more fair and just community – be that within your workplace or in your own home – but the desire for change is a massive step towards achieving a culture where everyone can feel safe.
Leaders can only really lead in an environment where people feel they are free to be open and authentic.
Stonewall, the LGBT campaigning charity, believes “people perform better when they can be themselves” and in our last Stonewall survey, (offered annually to organisations who are Stonewall Diversity Champions), 100% of Touchstone’s LGBT staff reported being confident to report bullying and/or harassment under Touchstone’s leadership.
A major part of our success in the equality and diversity agenda is the way we celebrate difference and encourage all staff to bring their life experiences “in”.  So when a Muslim colleague found our in-house Islamophobia awareness training lacking, we invited him – and everyone else – to a meeting to address the deficits and co-produce a bespoke course for staff in partnership with MEND, who are experts in this field.  25 different staff from a range of backgrounds and religions were involved in developing the course materials and co-delivered the training to a packed Touchstone audience and favourable reviews.
When we were thinking of writing a Trans in Work Policy, we approached our LGBT staff group and allies programme – Pink Pals – to support the development of this work which was then audited by members of the Trans community before being ratified by Trustees.  We are currently consulting staff and service users on establishing gender neutral toilet facilities in all our offices across West Yorkshire.
Our staff feel safe and valued and this is why we are an Investors in People Gold accredited organisation.  We are also a Sunday Times Best Company for the fourth year running (21st in 2016 and 8th for leadership) as well as Positive about Disabled People, Investors in Volunteers and Mindful Employers.  This is clear evidence that inclusive organisations are also successful ones.
Our profile as “experts” in inclusion and diversity means Touchstone is regularly invited to share our expertise with others but we also work to inspire organisational change, using our own experiences as evidence of success.
Touchstone knows that there is much more to do to achieve the world we all want to see, but we are passionate about equality and we are proud to be part of making our bit of the planet, a better place to be.
So, if you would like a helping hand in creating a more inclusive and welcoming workplace, Touchstone is here to offer you the help you need.