Dr Nicola Murray of Strathclyde Business School and ESRC PrOPEL Hub reflects on our Knowledge Into Practice event – in collaboration with Flexibility Works – that engaged with a range of HR stakeholders to discuss the evidence on ‘what might work’ in EDI and flexible working strategies.

In late 2023, the Strathclyde team hosted a free Knowledge into Practice event all about Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in the workplace with guest speaker, Nikki Slowey, Director and Co-Founder of Flexibility Works.

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) has become an important consideration for all organisations regardless of size or sector, however it can be a tricky area to navigate with lots of contradictory ideas and advice available. At this in person, half-day event, hosted at the University of Strathclyde, the team shared findings from EDI research we conducted that focuses on women in traditionally male dominated sectors, including what the research says about popular initiatives in the area as well as practical examples from case study organisations.

One of the key findings from the research was the important role the provision of flexible working has to play in helping enhance gender equality in male dominated sectors. With this in mind, we were delighted to share the stage with Nikki Slowey of Flexibility Works who was shared lots of practical tips on making flexible working a reality in more challenging settings.

We had a range of different attendees including leaders and HR/people managers from organisations alongside academics interested in the topic. Throughout the morning we:

• shared research findings from studies including; key challenges, pitfalls to avoid and best practice advice. The focus of the research shared was be on women in traditionally male dominated sectors, however insights were also relevant to EDI more generally.

• outlined success factors and ideas to think about when designing EDI strategies.

• showed how all kinds of flexible working can help all sorts of people manage work alongside other needs and responsibilities.

• covered the types of flex employers can consider (not just part time and home working) and how relatively small changes can often make a huge difference for a range of workers including parents and carers, people with a disability or physical or mental health condition and older workers.

• explored how being upfront about the flex you can offer in job adverts and recruitment can help you recruit quality candidates from a wider talent pool.

• gave attendees the opportunity to share their own practices and learn what works for other attendees.

Following an excellent morning of insights, discussion and activities attendees enjoyed a networking lunch that allowed space for further connections to be made.