24 Jun 2016
Icon - Personal Growth
Margot Slattery, Sodexo Ireland Country President

Gathering my thoughts ahead of Inpsirefest 2016

This post was created by Margot Slattery, Country President, Sodexo Ireland

What is Inspirefest 2016 I hear many of you asking and why am I and Sodexo involved?

Inspirefest describes itself as a festival of science, technology, design and the arts which aims to bring together key figures, thought leaders and employees from across these sectors to discuss key industry subjects.  It is being held in Dublin between 30 June and 1 July.

My personal involvement in the event is as part of a panel debate (at 2.55pm 30 June) to discuss workplace diversity and inclusion, a topic which is incredibly close to my heart.  Ahead of the event I have been reflecting on just how much progress is being made in this area.

Organisational leadership can often be downbeat on the progress being made. The size, shape and scale of business and our workplaces has changed dramatically over the last ten years. It’s clear we still have a long way to go to ensure we are fully embracing and supporting the needs of everyone within the workplace, but having said that, we must not lose sight of some of the great progress that has been made. I’m incredibly proud of those within my network that have ensured this topic rose in importance and continues to become increasingly prominent.

Workplace diversity and inclusion is a topic which seems to be on the agenda at every industry event and seems to be on the radar for many organisations I talk to, whatever the sector. This very simple change fills me with encouragement for the future.

Topics within the diversity and inclusion agenda are themselves becoming ever more diverse. As a collective, we are beginning to normalise the fact that people have different wants and needs and that we need to consider these across every element of business, the workplace, and within society more broadly.

In my opinion this can only be a good thing and supports the facilitation of open and honest conversations about how best to tackle a particular subject. From a Sodexo perspective, I am delighted to see a number of employee networks being introduced to support two-way conversation and awareness around key topics and firmly believe they are making a real difference to our employees.

The support and focus we are seeing in the area of diversity and inclusion in the workplace is multifaceted. It is of course beneficial to the individual, but I believe it’s also becoming increasingly clear that it is important to the success of organisations. For this reason, in the world we work in today, it makes sound business sense to make the subject of diversity and inclusion a strategic business imperative as well as a moral issue.

As a result, senior business leaders are embracing diversity and inclusion in ways they may not have done in the past – long may this continue, provided the outcome for employees remains wholly positive.

I do however still feel there is much to do, but with the growing support and awareness of the importance of diversity and inclusion in the workplace I think we all have an opportunity to make a significant difference.

The panel discussion looks set to provide some insightful and thought-provoking debate so if you can, do try and come along, myself and my fellow panellists would love to see and hear from you.

Sodexo is also sponsoring the event this year and will be providing delegate lunches, VIP dining and a wellness zone in Merrion Square as part of the fringe event, all part of our quality of life approach. It would be great to see you at the event if you have chance, in the meantime you can find out more about Sodexo Ireland here and take a look at the Inspirefest website here.

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