Yorkshire Building Society: Ramadan celebration
Strengthening workplace bonds and cultural understanding
Business in the Community (BITC) member Yorkshire Building Society is committed to creating an equitable and inclusive work environment where all colleagues can bring their whole selves to work. With a large proportion of Muslim colleagues making up their Ethnicity Network, Yorkshire Building Society felt it was important to mark Ramadan and provide an opportunity for colleagues, including members of their Senior Leadership Team, to gain a greater understanding of the lived experience of Muslim colleagues.
On March 23, Yorkshire Building Society held an in-person event to celebrate Ramadan with a traditional Iftaar meal, the fast-breaking evening meal that occurs each day during Ramadan. The event was well-organised, and senior leaders were buddied up with Muslim colleagues to prepare them for the experience of fasting. This allowed for a deeper understanding of what Ramadan is about and provided non-Muslim colleagues who took part with a greater appreciation for what it feels like to fast.
It was wonderful to join colleagues from all faiths at our office in Bradford to end the fast on the first day of Ramadan. By sharing the experience of fasting for just a day, it helped me andSusan Allen, CEO Yorkshire Building Society
others understand how we can support colleagues observing Ramadan
Shahnawaz Rashid, a Muslim colleague at Yorkshire Building Society, spoke about why Ramadan is so important to Muslims and shared a vulnerable perspective of how much it means when businesses are inclusive and allow everyone to bring their whole selves to work. Asim Arman recited verses from the Quran, and colleagues came together to break their fast and share a meal. During the meal, they discussed what they had learned and their takeaways from the day.
The event was a success and received positive feedback from attendees. One colleague commented on how special it was to see so many colleagues observing the fast with their Muslim colleagues, and he hopes that this is the first of many Ramadan Iftaar events at Yorkshire Building Society. Other YBS colleagues expressed their appreciation for the opportunity to connect with colleagues on an important aspect of their faith, and shared how touching and humbling the experience was.
Yorkshire Building Society’s celebration of Ramadan demonstrates their commitment to fostering an inclusive and equitable work environment from the very top of the organisation. Yorkshire Building Society is creating a more supportive and inclusive workplace by providing opportunities for colleagues to connect and learn about each other’s cultures and experiences. This event serves as an example of the positive impact that celebrating diversity can have on colleagues and the wider community.
Reflecting on the event, CEO of Yorkshire Building Society, Susan Allen, commented:
“It was wonderful to join colleagues from all faiths at our office in Bradford to end the fast on the first day of Ramadan. By sharing the experience of fasting for just a day, it helped me and others understand how we can support colleagues observing Ramadan. At YBS we want to continue to grow as a diverse, inclusive and equitable firm and the opportunity to learn was something I could not miss. Thank you to our wonderful Ethnicity Network for opening up this opportunity. Such a special evening.”
Farida Zaman, Local Development Lead: Bradford at BITC, further praised Yorkshire Building Society’s celebration of Ramadan, stating:
“It was great to see the preparedness of the Ethnicity Network at Yorkshire Building Society as they had successfully got everyone ready in their organisation by seeking participation on the first day of Ramadan! It was wonderful to see so many excellent Allies in Yorkshire Building Society support their Muslim colleagues in fasting that day, including waking up early to have a pre-dawn meal and raise their awareness of how fasting impacts thought, behaviour, and self-reflection.
Some of the colleagues shared their thoughts and recounted how difficult it had been to manage without water and how it affected their energy levels throughout the day, as well as how it helped them develop more gratitude in life generally but especially for the food and drink, we tend to take for granted. It was great to see Yorkshire Building Society’s Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Forum Chair, Kate Ireland, and CEO, Susan Allen, lead by example on this, with colleagues very kindly donating the remaining food to the Keighley Women & Children’s Centre (a Domestic Abuse charity). A stellar example from Yorkshire Building Society of allyship with their Muslim colleagues and also giving back to the community during this cost-of-living crisis. On a wider note, Yorkshire Building Society is an effective stakeholder in many of our Place-based interventions in Bradford.”
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