Thursday 4th April 2019

Changing the Dynamic - The Benefits of a Diverse Workplace, WISH Brighton CIH Networking Event

WISH recently co-hosted a panel event at CIH Brighton with the Housing Forum called Changing the Dynamic - The Benefits of a Diverse Workplace

WISH recently co-hosted a panel event at CIH Brighton with the Housing Forum called

Changing the Dynamic – The Benefits of a Diverse Workplace

We’ve made small steps forward in that most people would now agree that businesses benefit from promoting a culture which encourages representation of all groups. It’s been proven that employees are happier, more productive and less likely to leave if they are working somewhere they ‘fit in’ and feel valued for who they are. This timely panel debate provided an opportunity to hear about ways  organisations and individuals are reaping rewards from challenging the status quo and taking action to address inequality.

Chaired by Ria Bales, Group Director of People and Change at One Housing, the panel debated a number of issues such as:

  • Given the lack of progress to date in creating more diversity in top teams, what has been one of the most successful ways of supporting more diversity into senior positions?
  • Organisations and individuals both have a responsibility to play in changing the dynamic. How can people work together to improve workplace diversity?
  • How can we move away from traditional ways of recruiting that often doesn’t favour candidates from diverse backgrounds and what are some of the challenges in recruitment that organisations face in building diverse teams?

We put together a deliberately diverse panel and as a result discussions were lively and engaging and there was standing room only – proving the continued interest in this subject.


  • Terry Fuller - Strategic Land, Planning & Estates, Homes England
  • Samantha Herelle - Director of Operations, Mount Green HA, Main Board Member, Optivo
  • Alan Wright - Partner, BPTW, Architects
  • Rob Hart - Diversity and CSR manager, Pennington Manches, Solicitors
  • Shirley Heapy - Associate Director, Development Consultancy & Agency Team, GL Hearn


Points explored included:

  • Diversity has to be led from the top and demonstrated through actions. A successful way of approaching diversity is to engage a group of employees to tackle issues in an organisation – so it’s not just as a bolt on to HR activities.
  • How millennials have a different perspective on their careers and want to work in a more agile way where they can still enjoy their home life, be their authentic selves and enjoy operating in supportive team environments.
  • How organisations can develop a flexible culture where everyone has the opportunity to move forward should they wish.
  • The importance of mentoring and networking to help build confidence and communication skills so women can challenge inequality
  • How recruiters need to work with organisations to remove bias and encourage diverse shortlists and have diverse interview panels who can make recommendations.

Delegate Feedback:

‘Congratulations to WISH on the joint panel debate with the Housing Forum about diversity in the workplace.  To be honest I didn’t know what to expect and was probably feeling slightly nervous like some women might feel attending events in our male dominated industry.  Unbelievable turnout and excellent discussion’ Robert Russell Partner (Member) at John Rowan & Partners

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