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Starting point: 5 ideas for starting your diversity and inclusion work

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The business case for creating diverse, inclusive teams is clear. Studies and research show that diverse teams generate more profit, make decisions faster and are more productive. Employee happiness increases in inclusive companies, so people stay with you for longer and are more motivated to give their best work, which also leads to them generating better results. And if you’re recruiting, diversity and inclusion are high priority for candidates when they are sizing up employers. Despite this, around 75% of businesses do not have a strategy and framework in place for diversity and inclusion. Without a clear strategy, your efforts are likely to fall flat, and not achieve any significant changes.

So how can companies approach this? Well, it’s important to look at where you’re starting from first. Otherwise, you’re making assumptions, and you could jump into actions which will not achieve the changes you’re looking for. Every organisation is unique and has different challenges, so just doing what another company is doing will not make the impact your company needs to move forward. What every business needs to do is take a look at everything about their organisation, and put in place a clear strategy and framework. Here are some things to consider to get your starting point right.


  1. Know your data

Start by looking at what data you have to help you. Do you have information on the demographics of your current teams? And what about recruitment data? Have you got information about the people applying for roles, and then who progresses to being offered roles? There might be some surprises in that information. Then look at things like flexible working options offered, how long people stay in your organisation, and what your response rate is like for job advertising.


  1. Ask people what they think

It’s easy to think you understand what your employees think about your progress in creating a diverse, inclusive environment, but have you asked them? Don’t assume you know what people think. Depending on the size of your company, think about doing employee surveys to find out what people think. Consider how you ask questions, whether it’s anonymous and how you will reassure people that they can be honest. If you want to understand more, think about doing some interviews with people to ask them about your company environment. And make sure you ask people across the organisation at all levels so you get a true picture.


  1. Take a look at what people see

Look at your communications and think about how they appear to people from different perspectives. This means looking at your internal communications to employees as well as your external communications. Be honest with yourself about where things are. What are people saying about your company on social media? What reviews have been written about the company? What would someone think if they were to look at your website? Does it look like a welcoming, inclusive environment? Looking at this objectively requires being open to criticism and asking people outside your company about what they think.


  1. How are people working?

It’s not just about who is in your company or the photos you show on your website. An inclusive culture is about how you work too. How do you engage with people to perform at their best in their roles? What methods, structures and processes are used to encourage inclusion? This means looking at what policies and processes you have in place. How inclusive your working methods are. How people can suggest changes, and how any feedback is handled. It means taking a good look at the entire organisation and how people are working. This requires being objective and looking at where changes need to be made.


  1. Who will tell the truth?

All of this work to look objectively at what you do is really tough to do yourselves. It’s easy to jump into being defensive, or saying things are great, when it’s clear to many others that changes need to be made. It means being really open and honest. It requires analysis to give an overall view and benchmark your company against others.

Inclusion audit

That’s why we have created our Inclusion Audit. We use our audit methodology to look at all aspects of your company and work out your ‘inclusion score’ to break down your strengths and weaknesses. Based on these findings, we provide you with an inclusion roadmap, outlining our suggested goals for you to work towards and the actions you need to take in order to make the changes that will meet those goals. Then we also offer help to support you on your journey to creating diverse, inclusive environments where everyone can thrive.

If you want to learn more, get in touch.