Cultural Ambassadors: Making a difference

26 May 2023

Have you ever heard of a Cultural Ambassador?

Our Cultural Ambassadors at Salford Care Organisation, part of the Northern Care Alliance NHS Foundation Trust (NCA), provide support to managers across the NCA during HR processes, specifically, recruitment and disciplinary processes, by helping to identify and challenge any discrimination and cultural bias that may take place.

“The role of Cultural Ambassador is to see things from the person’s perspective and try to understand how their experiences can affect their actions or responses. We can help to provide a level of understanding that others may not see,” said Refaht Khan, Lead Nurse and Cultural Ambassador, Salford Care Organisation.

Cultural Ambassadors are provided with formal training and can use these skills in their role as a neutral observer within hiring processes, formal investigations and grievance hearings involving ethnic minority staff.

“As a Cultural Ambassador, I’ve had the chance to sit on interview and disciplinary panels to help identify and explore issues related culture and bias. It’s a great opportunity, as you get to provide input into the decisions being made and help support your colleagues by ensuring they are equally represented and heard,” said Gladys Rimayi, Ward Manager and Cultural Ambassador, Salford Care Organisation.

According to the RCN, research has shown that NHS staff from black and minority ethnic backgrounds often experience inequality, discrimination, and prejudice in the workplace. In addition, it has also been shown that there is an over-representation of black and minority ethnic staff in the employee relation process, particularly the disciplinary process. Cultural Ambassadors help to identify issues of culture or behaviour, where staff may be being treated less favourably, or be facing potential discrimination and unconscious or conscious cultural bias.

Refaht said, “As a Cultural Ambassador, part of our role is to stand up and call out what’s wrong and make sure that our colleagues who are facing these processes are listened to and understood. I really appreciate that at the NCA, they value our input and representation and that this is an important part of the process and not simply a tick box exercise, which is why we need as many ambassadors as we can get.”

Gladys adds, “Being a Cultural Ambassador is not only gets you involved in making positive change for our colleagues, but it’s also a great chance for career development. You get excellent exposure and insight into the different HR processes, and you get to meet people from across the organisation.”

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