Published on in Responsible Business

Fujitsu is committed to fostering a culture that positively manifests diversity in the workplace, where everyone feels accepted, nurtured and like they have an equal place within the organisation – because that’s how talent thrives and succeeds.

Our partnership with Diversity and Ability – a social enterprise that supports organisations to create an inclusive culture – is testament to this ongoing commitment to diversity in the workplace, which is explored in this series of blogs.

Last time, Fujitsu’s Simon Head and Adam Hyland from Diversity and Ability (D&A) sat down to discuss the current landscape for disabled persons and how their combined efforts are shaping a more inclusive framework for businesses going forward.

In this instalment, Simon and Adam sit down once again to discuss how creating an anticipatory approach to inclusivity can benefit everyone in an organisation, and some of the initiatives that are currently helping to make this a reality.

So, what exactly is an anticipatory approach?

Adam: In a nutshell, what we mean by an anticipatory approach in regard to diversity and inclusion is what we’re doing now: we’re not waiting around to resolve something that is closing barriers. Instead, we’re being proactive to make sure we’re removing barriers completely and supporting individuals to not only survive in the workplace, but giving them everything they need to thrive.

As a society and as organisations, we can’t be surprised anymore – diversity is here, and it’ll always be here. But what we’ve not always had is inclusion. So, if we can put inclusion before diversity and get inclusion right, diversity will naturally follow. By introducing an anticipatory approach, we’re ultimately saying that we know people will need to work in different ways, and we’re ready and willing to support that.

Simon: Just to add to that, the words anticipatory approach perfectly embody Fujitsu’s approach to D&I. Dictated by our purpose and principles, we’re not waiting around for people to tell us how to do things. We’re going to push the boundaries, break down the barriers and make sure they stay down, to ensure we’re providing an open and inclusive environment for any employee to join and succeed in the business.

Can you tell us about some of the initiatives driving this and how they’re benefiting employees?

Simon: For me, it’s about removing those initial barriers for new starters, so they haven’t got to go through the bureaucratic and often difficult process of workplace assessments. We work proactively right at the very start, to make sure that all of the initiatives and enabling actions are part of the package and have been taken in advance of them joining.

Another way is via our digital accessibility program. There are lots of applications that are used every day to support employees in a number of ways. By grouping and building these as a standard package so they’re always available for employees, irrespective of their needs, it makes it more inclusive.

And it’s not just new starters this is helping. What we’ve seen in the past is existing employees were fearful of saying they need support. But rather than reaching out, they’d instead choose to leave the business. By standardising assistive technologies, this is helping to break down those barriers and is also supporting employee retention.

Adam: What we don’t always consider is how many people leave organisations because they don’t feel supported or safe enough to ask for assistance. I’ve been a director at D&A since its inception, and from my experience, one of the costliest business expenses is recruitment. If we can decrease the departure of talent by spending a bit of money to make sure they’re supported, enabled, and thriving, that cost will be so minimal in the long run, because people will feel like they belong and will therefore want to stay.

Finally, how do you ensure this is authentic, impactful and not just a box ticking exercise?

Adam: Above all else, we want to make an impact – we want to see individuals thrive in their workplace. So, not only do we provide the workplace assistance, we also provide assistance in each and every way it’s needed, such as training on assistive technology. But beyond just training, this would also factor in everything from how you use it, to how you normalise it in your day-to-day role.

When I speak to people and ask if they use assistive technology, 80% say no. But when I ask if they use Google Maps, everyone puts their hand up. They don’t know Google Maps is an example of assistive technology because it hasn’t been normalised. Simon’s wearing glasses, but we also don’t see that as assistive technology because actually, we’ve removed the barrier.

So, what I mean is, not only do we provide the workplace assistance, we also provide the support to integrate and normalise these technologies in every individual’s workplace. And then we measure the impact – we gather feedback, we learn what works and what doesn’t work, and we act on it. It’s never about ticking boxes, it’s about breaking down barriers and making a real, lasting impact to shape a more inclusive society.

Simon: I couldn’t agree more. At Fujitsu, we’re not simply ticking boxes and passing everything over to D&A. We’ve got our own in-house reviews to make sure we’re engaging with teams and individual employees, and we’re constantly listening to, learning from and acting on their feedback to constantly improve processes and ensure employees remain engaged.

Our hope for the future is to remove as many barriers as possible. And that’s where Adam is continually pushing us to recognise the barriers, learn how to overcome them, and then make sure normalisation is ever-present in our organisation.

Learn more about our ongoing journey to fostering a truly inclusive culture.

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