Unity was set up to recognise, celebrate and support employees from all different cultures, religions, backgrounds and those with disabilities. Our Unity network group highlights and celebrates events across all our offices.
We were delighted to sign up as a Halo Code workplace, the UK’s first Black Hair code. The Halo Code explicitly protects employees who come to work with natural hair and protective hairstyles associated with their racial, ethnic, and cultural identities. By adopting the Halo Code, we are proactively taking a stand to ensure that no Gateley employee faces barriers or judgments because of their Afro-textured hair.
We provide a rolling quarterly programme of diversity and inclusion training for all staff. Working closely with Unity, we provided guidance to enable line managers to better support colleagues who were taking part in Ramadan. As a result, there is greater awareness of the challenges colleagues who are observing Ramadan can face and a better understanding across line managers of how, as a business, we can support them. It sent a clear message that is okay to have open conversations and they were actively encouraged. Discussions were around minimising the impact that fasting could have and openly discussing what support each individual may need.
One of the successes of the last 12 months for Unity has been the launch of the Reel Deal, Unity’s new film club where films and documentaries which provide insight into diverse cultural perspectives are reviewed and shared on the intranet. A real hit with staff, the Reel Deal has reviewed a diverse portfolio of films from Moonlight to La vita è bella to A 3-minute hug
An introduction to Unity
Why is Unity important to you and for Gateley?
We spend quite a few (but hopefully not too many!) of our waking hours living and breathing our workplace and it has to be a place where we feel comfortable. From personal experience, that is a big part of feeling happy and confident. Unity is about both recognising and understanding different cultures, religions, backgrounds and those with disabilities to create a truly supportive environment so that we feel like we are in our space, not a workplace. Gateley is a great place for learning and development and Unity plays an important role in helping everyone reach their potential.
Gateley undertakes both internal and external initiatives:
- Through partnership with the Greater Birmingham Professional Services Academy, we support and encourage ethnic minority pupils to take up a career in professional services through lecture, soft skills training, mentoring and work experience.
- Sharing knowledge resources internally and holding discussions on topical matters (e.g. our CEO led a video conference to discuss the impact of the Black Lives Matters protests).
- Celebrating and learning about events for different cultures.
Standing against hair discrimination with the Halo Code
We champion the right of our people to embrace all Afro-hairstyles. We acknowledge that Afro-textured hair is an important part of our Black employees’ racial, ethnic, cultural, and religious identities, and requires specific styling for hair health and maintenance.
We celebrate Afro-textured hair worn in all styles including, but not limited to, afros, locs, twists, braids, cornrows, fades, hair straightened through the application of heat or chemicals, weaves, wigs, headscarves, and wraps.
In this workplace, we recognise and celebrate our colleagues’ identities. We are a community built on an ethos of equality and respect where hair texture and style have no bearing on an employees ability to succeed.