How to engage your employees with Inclusion and Diversity

Our Programme Manager for the Inclusive Employers Standard, Lindsay Lerigo, shares some best practice examples of employee engagement from accredited organisations. The Inclusive Employers Standard is Inclusive Employers' inclusion framework and accreditation tool.

The Inclusive Employers Standard uses a framework that enables your organisation to understand where you are on your inclusion journey and gives guidance on your next steps towards embedding an inclusive culture. The framework has six pillars: Engage, Equip, Empower, Embed, Evaluate and Evolve. Here are some best practice examples of employee engagement from the ‘Engage’ pillar.

Best practice examples for engaging employees

The first pillar of the Inclusive Employers Standard considers how organisations engage staff at all levels to ensure they have a good understanding and awareness of the organisation’s vision for diversity and inclusion.

It also looks at how they engage with staff so that the organisation has a good understanding of the employee experience from an inclusion perspective.

The questions in this pillar cover diversity data collection methods, the breadth of data collection, disclosure rates, inclusion communications, participation in external inclusion campaigns, methods for engaging with under-represented groups and employee staff surveys.

Below we share some of the best practice we have seen from participants of the Inclusive Employers Standard from within the Engage pillar.

Anchor Hanover: Increasing Disclosure Rates

Anchor Hanover have a robust approach to ensuring staff feel comfortable and encouraged to disclose their diversity data. They do this by running a regular campaign visibly supported from the top down and using a number of communication methods to ensure maximum reach and engagement.

  • The Executive Sponsor for EDI kicks off the campaign by emailing all senior managers asking them to complete the data and to support the future campaign.
  • The Chief Executive posts a message to all staff requesting their cooperation with the campaign and encouraging them to disclose their data.
  • An internal networking platform is used as part of the campaign launch, useful supporting information is made available here including FAQs, User Guides on how to update your data.
  • Communications are transparent and clear around who will have access to the data and why it is needed, helping to build trust and confidence from employees.
  • Briefing packs are sent to managers to help them feel confident discussing data disclosure with their teams.
  • Follow up communications are then done over a 4 week period following the launch to ensure the message is consistent.
  • #CountMeIn is used on social media channels to promote the campaign and colleagues are encourage to post and use the hashtag when they have updated their data.

The House of Lords: Communicating about Inclusion

The House of Lords shares information on a range of inclusion and diversity topics, consistently throughout the year to all staff. They do this by:

  • Having a weekly email newsletter to all colleagues that includes information about upcoming campaigns and events. Inclusion activity features prominently within these newsletters and covers the launch of new initiatives, forthcoming events and celebrating successes;
  • They produce a monthly magazine which is both printed and released electronically to all staff and that includes a section on inclusion and diversity activities, as one of the four corporate priorities. 
  • Each staff network has its own newsletter and printed materials which are shared through the organisation’s communications channels;
  • Information about significant events, such as LGBT+ History Month or Ramadan is included on table talkers and other printed materials placed in communal areas, such as restaurants. 
  • They shared their Inclusion and Diversity strategy and action plan, along with updates on progress of these with all colleagues at an All Staff Meeting, they are also available by request or online.

Serco: Participation in external Inclusion campaigns

Serco have an annual calendar of events and activities, coordinated via their Inclusion Hub, which brings together all of their Employee Network Groups and those that have responsibility for Inclusion and Diversity.

Each of the four Employee Network Groups choose three inclusion milestones that they want to celebrate/recognise throughout the year. The Inclusion Hub also sponsors an overarching inclusion event, most recently National Inclusion Week.

A wide range of activities and campaigns have taken place including those aligned with  LGBT History Month, Pride, Transgender Day of Awareness, International Women’s Day, National Carers Week, International Menopause Day, International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, Black History Month, World Cultural Day, World Autism Awareness Day, World Mental Health Day and International Day of Disabled Persons.

A variety of communication methods are used to promote the events to all staff, including videos, intranet, emails and an interactive calendar, ensuring the reach is wide and encourages maximum engagement.

For National Inclusion Week support packs were provided that included information, posters and ideas for local engagement activities so that staff at all levels were empowered to get involved.

An effort is made to monitor engagement with all Inclusion activity, with video and article views reported on along with attendance numbers at events. Monitoring this activity helps ensure continuous improvement of future activity.

West Yorkshire Fire & Rescue: Staff Surveys

West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue conduct a whole staff survey at least every two years. The survey includes a specific section on Equality and Diversity as well as other relevant questions at other intervals during the survey, ensuring that Equality and Diversity are embedded as a firm commitment.

The questions in the survey have been developed to understand workplace culture, how people feel about working for the organisation and staff perception of Inclusion and Diversity.

The survey also allows for results to be analysed against diversity characteristics, including race, sexual orientation, sex and age. This has allowed them the opportunity to see that in almost all areas of the survey people from underrepresented groups score similarly or higher than their colleagues from majority groups.

To ensure the survey is not seen as tokenistic and that staff know their feedback is valued results are shared with staff and particularly with the Employee Network Groups. An action plan and report is also published and shared with the HR committee to ensure there is accountability for improving any focus areas identified from the results.

If you want to showcase some of the amazing work you are doing around Inclusion and have the chance to celebrate the success of all of your hard work why not register to take part in the next round of the Inclusive Employers Standard.

Need to know more? Get in touch with Lindsay using our quick enquiry form.