With a diverse workforce, recruitment firm SThree has taken steps to ensure it is able to support staff from different faiths.
During Ramadan, employees who are fasting can take advantage of the organisation’s flexible-working policy, which means people can choose both the hours they work and where they work from. Gemma Branney, global director of purpose and inclusion, says: “It means employees who are fasting can request to start early or finish later to help them through the fasting period. Some people choose to work from home during that period because it’s a bit more comfortable for them.”
The organisation provides resource packs to managers offering guidance on how to support fasting employees, which can also include Buddhists, such as asking other employees not to eat at their desks during those periods.
It also sends out communications to the wider workforce, reminding them in advance of important religious festivals that may be coming up, such as Ramadan or the Jewish holiday Passover. Each employee can use their annual leave allowance when they want, without having to take days at a particular time of year, while offices include spaces that can be used as prayer rooms.
A diversity, equity and inclusion network, with at least one advocate in every office, ensures religious festivals and celebrations are marked internally. “That might be colleagues bringing in foods and sharing their own experiences of how they demonstrate that religion,” Branney says.
A HERO (heritage, ethnicity, race and origin) group helps to raise awareness of the issues different groups may face, as well as helping to shape company policy. “They will give us feedback around policies that are working well or where we need to make improvements,” she adds.
The organisation conducts an annual survey and pulse surveys each quarter for its 3,200 employees, and regularly scores above average for diversity, inclusion and belonging. “We definitely benefit in terms of our employee value proposition from having an inclusive culture,” says Branney.