What can employers learn from Strictly Come Dancing?

Tuesday September 28, 2021

Glitz, glamour, dancing, and a side of drama can only mean one thing, Strictly Come Dancing is back.

Grabbing front page storylines already, this season is sure to provide some entertaining viewing as summer draws to a close. Even those not planning on tuning in will be hard pressed to ignore the undeniably catchy theme tune.

Musicality aside though, what might the return of Strictly Come Dancing have to do with SMEs and HR?

Starting with diverse recruitment through to quarrels over vaccine status, we think that there are a few helpful examples of people management of which employers might like to take note.

Leading with diversity and inclusion

Speaking directly to the diverse makeup of Great Britain, it’s clear to see that execs at Strictly Come Dancing understand the importance of representation.

The show has always featured a mixture of ages and gender, but this year welcomes its first deaf dancer and – for the second season in a row – a same sex couple to the dancefloor.

Racial and cultural diversity also contribute to the show’s make up. Professional dancers hail from a multitude of backgrounds, each bringing their own unique spin to classic dances.

For viewers, being able to relate to, and identify with, the stars of the show is all part of the fun. It creates a sense of community and inclusivity.

For a business, diversity and inclusion holds even more benefits. Equal representation in a workforce not only appeals to a broader range of clients, partnerships, and recruits; but it sets the scene for a fair and collaborative working environment.

Strictly Come Dancing shows that diversity isn’t just a checkbox exercise, but a chance for all types of people to be themselves at work, to collaborate, innovate, and strive for success.

Sidestepping vaccine status

The hype surrounding this year’s premier wasn’t just around the celebrity line up. Speculation that some dancers have refused a COVID-19 vaccine sent the media into a frenzy.

Since the first live show, one pair is reported to be self-isolating after testing positive for coronavirus, however individual vaccine status is unknown.

The show must go on, as they say, but the situation could cause HR issues behind the scenes if not handled with care.

In addition to maintaining the health and safety of workers and visitors, those in charge will need to make sure that discrimination does not occur against anyone because of their vaccine status. There are several reasons why someone might not be vaccinated, for example, a medical exemption.

In a statement, the BBC have said that it will not comment on or confirm the vaccination status of anyone on the show. They add that strict procedures are in place to protect those on the show and the wider production.

How should employers approach vaccine status?

If you have identified a need to know the vaccine status of your employees or contractors, for example, because of a COVID-19 risk assessment, you’ll need to implement a clear vaccine policy which sets out your intentions. This is Special Category Data and therefore must be handled and stored in compliance with GDPR.

Keep in mind that the Data Protection Commissioner has stated that the processing of vaccine data is likely to represent unnecessary and excessive data collection for which no clear legal basis exists.

Whether or not you are planning to make vaccines mandatory in your business, the workplace still needs to meet the requirements of the Return to Work Safely Protocol.

You can also provide staff with impartial information to encourage them to get vaccinated. Be sure to keep any such communications on file should you need to refer back to them at a later date.

Here to help

If this topic has raised questions for you and your business, we are here to help.

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