I joined the company in lockdown (2021), and it wasn’t until we started returning to face-to-face that I realised there was a ‘Baringa’ way of doing things. I always felt very strongly that I wanted to bring my full self to work; to be open about my sexuality. And yet, in the beginning, I was presenting a watered-down version of myself. I was cautious about making my voice heard because I knew not everyone would necessarily share my opinion.  

Six months in, I got involved in running our LGBTQ + Embrace community and it was clear that, not just me, but all of us were leaving quite a bit of our authentic selves on the table, especially when it came to our client delivery work. That ignited a responsibility in me, to do something about it, and help bring about some change.

Changing the narrative

Through our Embrace network, we’ve built a like-minded community for our people and we’re succeeding in changing the narrative.  We’ve grown our network from eight people all the way up to a close-knit group of thirty-five, with a dependable and active seventy or so outside of this. We can say to people that if there are ever any questions or anything they’re struggling with, then we are here. Not just from a work perspective. We want to build genuine long-lasting relationships. It’s taken time, but we’ve done it and, as a result, we have a growing presence across the business.

Driving forward

The great thing about Baringa is there’s always the space for each of us as individuals to drive initiatives that are going to better the experience for our people. As a business, we’ve matured, and we understand just how important senior representation is across all our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) lenses in having people that actively participate and have a voice; a stake in the ground for all areas of diversity. We’re doing fantastically now - we’ve still got room to grow, but we’ve absolutely taken a leap forward in having the right cheerleaders at the right levels.

When we organised our first transgender day of remembrance two years ago, it was a big step for Baringa. If I’m really honest, there was a lack of male partners who came to that event; perhaps they didn’t feel comfortable. Since then, we’ve had over 70% of our partners complete gender identity training we developed, and our next event is looking completely different. We’ve got male directors and partners speaking and hosting panels. As a workplace, it definitely feels like we’ve become kinder and more educated on all elements of diversity.

Rewriting the code

Although we’ve improved at really championing diversity through onboarding, we need to ensure that those people coming in, who don’t necessarily fit with what Baringa’s code used to be, are given the opportunity to speak and grow and rewrite the code themselves; in doing so, they’re helping us on that journey. We also need to make sure our line managers are equipped with the right training and resources to cleanse any bias early on and ensure good psychological safety. 

More than anything, I would love to see more active senior colleagues be aligned to diversity activities in action at work; being role models and spokespeople. I still don’t think we have enough people willing to be that figurehead. It’s so integral for our junior people to have that voice to look up to and not see their sexuality or their race as a block to career progression. 

Read our Rewriting the Code Blog Series

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