When I came into my role, it had been vacant for a period of time. My first challenge was to create an inclusive culture by systematically making D&I everyone’s job.
It was understandable that events, initiatives, campaigns and activities had to be put on hold until I arrived. They are time-consuming and hard work – they’re great, but they need someone to give them their all and they can’t be easily delegated.
That said, D&I doesn’t start and end with an event or campaign. It goes deeper than that and it affects everyone, so everyone should be involved.
What I’ve done isn’t revolutionary but it is necessary. I’m streamlining our equality processes. Our staff support networks will work together, each of which has a lead, and meet every quarter. But I think the key to what I’ve done is that it has buy-in at all levels.
The network leads are supported, trained and given the time to do this element of their role. They feel empowered and respected for what they are doing: it’s not an add-on. The networks can be informal throughout the year, but they meet formally at forums each quarter. The forums are structured with agendas and terms of reference. The aim of the forums is to meet with purpose and to offer solutions to D&I challenges. The minutes from these meetings and actions feed directly into our senior management, where action plans are established, resulting in positive change so everyone involved can see the benefit.
So, like I said, it’s not revolutionary but it’s consistent. There’s no single point of failure, everyone’s got a role to play, colleagues feel listened to, managers are offered solutions and everyone can see the impact – which frees up my time to go and make those exciting D&I campaigns which will support our vision and engage with the community.