Equality and diversity highlights: LGBT History Month, NHS trusts not doing enough on well being and the need for senior leaders to speak ‘from the heart’ about diversity.
First off, February is LGBT History Month, a month of celebrating the achievements of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people across the world and raising awareness of issues that still affect the LGBT community. An article in The Independent argues that this year’s LGBT History Month may be more important than ever, with Russia banning gay propaganda, India re-criminalising homosexuality and Uganda punishing ‘aggravated homosexuality’ with life sentences.
A report from the Royal College of Physicians has said that “it is a concern” that nearly a quarter (24%) of NHS trusts don’t monitor their staffs’ mental health and well-being at all and that only 57% of trusts currently have a mental well-being strategy in place despite evidence to show that staff well-being directly impacts on patient care. The Boorman Review into NHS Health and Well-being (November 2009) found that if the NHS did support these policies, it could recover 3.4 million working days per year that are currently lost to absence, saving around £555 million per year.
According to new research by KPMG and King’s College London, CEOs need to talk about diversity from their hearts as well as their heads to drive behavioural changes. The research analyses how CEOs of global organisations explain the need for action on gender to themselves and to others, and the kinds of leadership behaviours they use to help make change happen. Many CEOs downplay their personal motivations for diversity, talking instead about commercial and business benefits, but the research found the most effective way for CEOs to encourage change is to talk from the heart as well as the head.
While on the need for diversity, business psychologist Binna Kandola argues that the business case for diversity may be discriminatory in itself: “It’s a competition nobody wants to win. Lots of companies want to be the most profitable, or the best at customer service, but no one wants to be the most diverse.” Trying to tick-box or achieve certain targets may be a distraction too: “There’s a feeling that if certain minorities are placed on a talent pipeline then ‘our work is done’. It’s the next step – promoting someone – that’s critical.”
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