Breaking down barriers and making the workplace more inclusive

by Chloe Gillard, Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging Manager, Version 1

At Version 1, my role is Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging Manager. My career has been anchored in Diversity and Inclusion since 2016 and is defined by a purpose to reshape workplace cultures.  

In 2023, I studied a CMI Level 7 credential in Strategic Approaches to ESG which deepened my learning and understanding of how to progressively implement change in Diversity and Inclusion. At the same time, I came across a new initiative of Inclusion gathering momentum in Northern Ireland, which caught my attention: Business in the Community’s Ban the Box campaign. This campaign challenges businesses to review their recruitment practices and consider people with convictions when speaking about Inclusion and for a good reason… 

Did you know that 1 in 4 people of working age in the UK have a conviction? Yes, you read it right. 1 in 4. We’re all human, and we all have a story. But talking openly about convictions is something we rarely do in the workplace. 

At Version 1, we are taking a stance with Business in the Community as we urge business to look at how they can Ban the Box. We believe in breaking down barriers, and that starts with breaking the stigma around the word ‘conviction’, and what it really says about an individual. The Ban the Box campaign is more than just removing a conviction check box. It is about inclusivity, acceptance, and making our workplaces reflective of the society in which we live, and as a result, simply better for everyone. We are actively challenging and changing the taboo of employing those with convictions, by starting conversations and creating an environment where everyone feels valued, regardless of their past. 

Version 1 is on a mission to be more inclusive, especially in the technology sector. Most businesses have felt the impact of skills shortages, and we believe talent is everywhere and comes in all shapes and sizes. So, why is this important? It’s simple. We’re not just changing lives through creating opportunities, but as a business, we’re closing the skills gap and driving innovation. 

However, we can’t do it alone. We all need to be part of the change. As an organisation, here are my thoughts on what you can do when considering Ban the Box: 

  • First, start the conversation. Break the ice and let everyone know we’re all in this together. 
  • Second, provide support. We all have unique challenges, and a little support goes a long way.  
  • Third, embrace diversity. It’s well-researched that our differences make business stronger, and by banning the box, you can create an impactful cultural change in inclusion. 

At Version 1, we believe in the power of initiatives like Ban the Box, and we invite businesses from across industries to join us in making this difference. Together, we can create a marketplace where everyone has a fair chance.  

To find out more about Ban the Box, please get in touch with Business in the Community.