UK eyecare specialist Optegra Eye Health Care is celebrating the success of its ‘Be You’ initiative – the employee diversity and inclusion forum run with a committee of diverse employees where membership has more than doubled in the past three months.
Members from the firm’s seven UK hospitals and business support functions have joined the committee, which was established in March 2021, and was created to ensure “all employees feel valued and have a voice” and to “develop a culture of understanding everyone’s ‘life story’.”
‘Be You’ also launched an internal newsletter with a spotlight on a different identity issue each month. Topics covered so far include personal experiences of mental health issues and Ramadan and Eid festivals, including what they mean for two employees.
The group has also overseen several successful initiatives, including expanding the network of LGBT+ employees, which counts many patients and optometrists as part of the LGBT+ community. They are also extending their LGBT+ networking group and welcome colleagues from outside Optegra to join.
They also recently marked Pride Month via a company-wide panel event where speakers shared their views on what Pride meant to them. They gave authentic accounts of their experiences and explained how colleagues could be supportive in the workplace. Over a quarter of Optegra employees attended, and feedback was positive as colleagues revealed how the talk had produced a mindset change about “the challenges others may face.” Each of Optegra’s hospitals also marked Pride Month with flags and posters.
Amanda Nicholson, People Change Lead from Optegra HR, said: “Feedback after these events highlighted a feel-good factor amongst staff who were full of positive energy, and felt the work of ‘Be You’ reinforces what is special about working at Optegra. It is about understanding each other’s stories and being inspired by colleagues – being open and understanding the intricacies that make us different from each other but stronger together. Optegra has always been an inclusive company and supportive of all, celebrating diversity, ‘Be You’ is our way of shining a light on this, and we are delighted it is already such a success.”
Dr Peter Byloos, Chief Executive Officer of Optegra, added: “The individual people make any company, and ‘Be You’ has shown that the team here at Optegra are diverse, inspiring, supportive and open – and there is such a great camaraderie, which is wonderful to see at the ‘Be You’ events.”
‘Be You week’, which promises a schedule of events for many categories within the forum, is set to take place in September 2021 and will cover a variety of diversity themes, including speakers representing the BAME community, mental health, women, single parenting, and culture amongst many others.