How can leaders make equality, diversity and inclusion a priority?

As a follow on to our webinar about the inclusivity of hybrid working, we asked ourselves how business leaders can make equality, diversity and inclusion a priority when considering the “new normal” of work.

Nickie Le Roy Chen
Nickie Le Roy Chen Client Services Manager

For a long time, people have been scared of sticking their head above the parapet and properly focusing on equality, diversity and inclusion (ED&I) in the workplace. Where to start? How to make sure that everyone is being considered? How to ensure no one is offended? There is a lot to consider but ignoring ED&I is not acceptable anymore both in terms of current employees (staff retention) and future employees (recruitment). The current climate of change provides an ideal opportunity for businesses to make sure ED&I is front and centre of any new plans and policies. 

Within Ghyston, we decided to create an ED&I committee as an action following the Black Lives Matters movement last year and we had almost a 3rd of our employees volunteer to be a part of it. Clearly this was important to our employees. We wanted to share a few ideas, based on our experience, of how to move the ED&I discussion forward and hopefully make positive steps towards a more equal, diverse and inclusive workplace:

  • Acknowledgement

Take a step back and acknowledge that ED&I needs to be considered no matter the size of the business – this affects everyone.  With the change to hybrid working, providing an inclusive workplace is going to be key to employee retention.

  • Accountability

Ensure that someone is driving the ED&I agenda from within the business and that they are able to hold the business to account. If nobody on the senior leadership team has capacity, find someone else in the business who would relish the role, create a committee or employ/contract an ED&I professional to help. Not only does this give accountability for the issue, it shows employees that ED&I is firmly in scope and that the business is open to change. 

  • Planning

Formulate a plan and come up with a clear strategy. ED&I is a vast topic with so many different areas to consider and so having a clear mission and then breaking down goals into manageable chunks will ensure that everything is not too overwhelming.  For Ghyston, we came up with 4 key areas of focus within our committee, Marketing, Recruitment, Company Culture and Industry outreach, and listed quick wins, short term goals, and long term goals for each. 

  • Openness

Do not let the fear of making mistakes stop you from moving the ED&I conversation forward within your business. If you don’t understand something, educate yourself – through research, speaking with friends, discussing with colleagues – these conversations may be uncomfortable but if we don’t talk about ED&I then nothing will change. I believe that the feeling of being uncomfortable is a reason why ED&I has been missing from the agenda for so long. 

I am not an expert on ED&I but I am passionate about creating a diverse and inclusive workplace and that’s why I offered to head up the ED&I Committee within Ghyston. The Committee is a safe place for us all to discuss everything and anything; we listen, we learn and we come up with ideas. Here are a few small changes we’ve made in the last 6 months: 

  • Providing a mechanism to include pronouns on email signatures to show that we are welcoming to and inclusive of trans and non-binary people. I notice LinkedIn have also recently added in this functionality as a standard option…hurrah!
  • Creating a 'book club' which is our internal resource of book titles written about or written by people from marginalised communities
  •  Building a Ghyston Guide for Allies to provide advice and resources for allies of people in marginalised communities including guidance around what language to use, what you can do when you see or hear acts of discrimination and supporting others to gain a greater understanding of issues surrounding diversity and inclusion
  • Reviewing our marketing and recruitment communications against diversity and inclusivity measures and recommending changes to the business.

I’m really proud of what our ED&I Committee has achieved so far and really pleased to work for a business that cares about our agenda. I hope this period of time will be one of great progress in the equality, diversity and inclusion space for many other businesses too! 

Read our ED&I policy here

If you would like to find out more about our Equality, Diversity & Inclusion work please email  nickie.leroychen@ghyston.com

Nickie Le Roy Chen
Nickie Le Roy Chen
Client Services Manager

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