From Imposter Syndrome to Energy Angels: How Rochdale Boroughwide Housing are keeping the Inclusion conversation alive

Pictured are 3 delegates and a wheelchair user speaking with one another. The quote readings: "The impact of the workshop was so significant, I didn't want it to be a one off. Other colleagues also wanted to continue the supportive conversations... the Imposter Syndrome Support Group was born!" Culture and Leadership Manager, Rochdale Boroughwide Housing

Inclusion at Rochdale Boroughwide Housing

Rochdale Boroughwide Housing’s (RBH) pioneering model of being the first tenant and employee co-owned mutual housing society highlights it is an organisation with inclusion at its core. They have been members of Inclusive Employers since 2017. In order to take action on their intention to keep the inclusion conversation alive, RBH are running quarterly inclusion workshops, delivered by Inclusive Employers.

Imposter Syndrome and the Opportunity to Include

When Sharon Cooper, Culture & Leadership Manager, working in the People & Culture team, was approached by her Head of Service to discuss Imposter Syndrome she had not heard of it before, but the explanation immediately resonated with her. She considered how many other colleagues may well feel the same and how these thoughts and feelings could be holding people back. It was decided then that the first of RBH’s quarterly workshops would focus on Imposter Syndrome. This workshop was specifically for female colleagues: research has shown that 66% of women have experienced Imposter Syndrome at work. RBH were thrilled with the interest shown, the take up was great for them, having reached 37 colleagues, and the feedback extremely positive. The workshop was led by Rosie Clarke, Inclusive Employers Senior Inclusion and Diversity Consultant and Sharon reflected that:

“Rosie really brought the subject to life, sharing personal insight and creating an environment where people were comfortable sharing. It really made people think about decisions they had made about their career and the fear around ‘being found out’ or not being ‘good enough’. For one colleague, it even helped make their mind up about applying for a promotion: they felt it put a lot of things into perspective and gave them the confidence to go for it! The interview went well, the colleague didn’t get the job but they were OK with that… they now feel much more confident about applying for other jobs in the future.”

Taking Action and Making Inclusion An Everyday Reality

At Inclusive Employers we are passionate about taking action on inclusion. Holding quarterly workshops is a great way to do this and RBH have gone one step further after this session. Sharon felt the impact of the Imposter Syndrome workshop was so significant that she didn’t want it to be a one-off. She contacted the attendees and was delighted that she was not the only colleague who wanted to keep the supportive conversations around Imposter Syndrome going… the Imposter Syndrome Support Group was born! They meet every couple of months to discuss any challenges they are facing and share thoughts on personal development. The group use Strength Finder tools to focus on ‘what’s strong’ rather than ‘what’s wrong’ and have enjoyed webinars to prompt discussion. One of these webinars focused on the importance of ‘energy angels’ – people who radiate positivity and are good to be around. As Sharon says: “We thought this would be a great name for the group, so the Energy Angels we are! I’m really proud to be a part of this, I get support myself and I support others.”

As you might expect the Energy Angels are an inclusive group and welcome anyone. The positive reputation it has, means other colleagues naturally want to be a part of this safe, supportive environment.