Diversity within the workplace is extremely important to Grovelands, David Leen discusses his love of Brighton and how its culture influenced our business.
When Mark and I set up Grovelands at the end of 2009 we thought long and hard about where to site our Head Office. London was the obvious choice but we selected Brighton because we both lived in Sussex and knew the city well. There were great benefits to enjoy immediately after choosing Brighton and others that we discovered later were an unexpected yet pleasant surprise. We of course later opened another office in London but that’s another story altogether.
One major advantage for a flourishing business like ours was the ability to keep a lid on our overheads, Brighton was a low-cost centre compared to London and also benefited from a high quality local workforce thanks to its two universities churning out keen and enthusiastic graduates each year. A lot of these graduates had enjoyed a vibrant Brighton lifestyle and wanted to work in the city post graduating, and we were keen to help young people enter the workplace and gain invaluable experience.
Flexibility within our business was crucial and Brighton’s convenient routes to London, the M25 and Gatwick Airport supported our highly mobile workforce, allowing us to easily meet clients and candidates. We wanted people to find us easy to work with and being able to travel around the UK at a moments notice was vital – we were able to, and still do, travel to Scotland, the North-West & East of England and the Midlands.
Despite the evidence to support our decision I kept being quizzed on why we chose Brighton, others reasoned that we could have achieved the same in Milton Keynes, Reading and a whole host of other locations. As further proof of Brighton being the right place for us to settle, here are a few interesting facts about Grovelands’ home city:
- Brighton is not the correct name for the city, it’s ‘Brighton and Hove’ (actually)
- Within the UK the city has the oldest cinema in continuous use, the Duke of York’s
- ABBA won the Eurovision Song Contest in… Brighton!
- Brighton has more restaurants than any other city in the UK
- Brighton Marina is the largest man made marina in Europe
- The Palace Pier is the only top 10 tourist attraction in the UK not in London
- Lastly, Brighton is the only place where I can pop out at lunchtime and see bankers, students, hippies, drag queens and celebrities all in 60 minutes. This is diversity at its best and Grovelands reflects this today.
The sea views on one side of the office, with the South Downs at the rear and the infamous lanes in the heart of the city all made Brighton a great place to work too. An important characteristic of the city that Mark and I hadn’t considered when we first set up the company, which has grown increasingly important to us (and hopefully all firms) is the diversity of the people that live and work in Brighton.
Being made aware of this culture and incorporating diversity into our business was fundamental to us, we admit that Grovelands has room to improve in this area too, we’re not perfect, but we’ve openly embraced the ethos of the city that we’re headquartered in.
In our experience, as the diversity of our workforce expands, the more innovative our thinking and decision making becomes, opening us up to new opportunities and alternative avenues to success that we may not have considered otherwise.
By having a varied workforce we attract a more diverse range of people that want to work at Grovelands, naturally fulfilling our aspirations to provide fair working opportunities and progression within our firm to all types of people. This leads to varied role models that everyone can aspire to.
I’ve used the phrase “male, pale and stale” about organisation in previous blogs and oddly for a firm just 7 years old, we are slightly guilty of this too, however it is at the forefront of our minds to be open minded and welcoming of people from different backgrounds, cultures and locations so in time we will have a more balanced and representative business.
We’ve been conscious of the more prevalent areas in diversity such as gender, race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age and education but there is another key area that I’ll write a separate blog on soon and that is cognitive style and autism in the workplace. Watch this space for the next instalment.
If you love Brighton as much as us or wish to share your thoughts and opinions about diversity or autism in the workplace we would be delighted to hear from you.
We welcome your feedback and comments, if you would like to contact us directly please call 01273 651 500 or email email@example.com. To keep up to date with our news and updates don’t forget to follow our social media channels and sign up to our newsletter.