Soundbites April 2020

Would you crackdown on football and cricket chat in the office, as the head of the CMI says it can exclude women and lead to laddish behaviour?

Sarah Merry

Director, Rockpool Recruitment

“Unless what is being talked about is offensive, I would be against ‘curtailing’ anyone’s conversation topic at work. We are currently a team of all women and our conversations are not generally about cricket or football. I would feel uncomfortable telling anyone to cut the chat. I would like to think that anyone working at Rockpool has the emotional intelligence to ensure we are naturally inclusive in our conversations as a team, but the idea that there are rules about what people can discuss seems pretty far-fetched.”

Kerry Hope

Managing director, Castle Employment Group

“Like every employer, we want to create a workplace that’s inclusive: where everyone feels welcome and valued. And part of that is accepting that normal, everyday conversations are a part of office life. Are we to say that people at work should no longer talk about their children because employees without children will feel excluded? Or that no one can discuss the Baftas because people without a Netflix subscription might not have seen The Two Popes? Owners and managers will have made it clear to your staff that certain things cannot be said in today’s workplace – but Leeds losing at home to Wigan is not one of them…”

Natasha Woodford

Director of recruitment, clockworkTalent

“This isn’t a route I’d take my agency down. For me, it stinks of stereotyping and censorship. It’s better to focus on developing a more balanced company culture than pass a rule on basic office chat. Laddish behaviour is more likely to stem from a failing culture, so it’s better to put parameters in place that cultivate respect, equality, diversity and a happy workforce instead of explicitly censoring conversations. Where would we draw the line for unacceptable conversation topics?”

Image credit | Shutterstock

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