Consultancy Snapshots

Our consultants are qualified professionals, and experts in inclusion, equality and diversity, communication, Human Resources, organisational and cultural change and general management.

Whatever the need, our approach is flexible and responsive and solutions are always bespoke, adaptable and creative.

Every so often we share consultancy snapshots - showcasing the challenges which have faced our members and clients as well as the solutions we provided for creating real change.

We think differently and do things differently. Find out more below.

Attracting a Diverse Workforce - Consultancy Snapshot

The organisation: Financial Firm

The challenge: Increasing the diversity of the workforce to expand the talent pipeline and drive business success.

Studies have confirmed what we know intuitively – that companies with diverse workforces significantly outperform their competitors and possess a vital advantage in competitive markets (McKinsey, Diversity Matters).

With out-performance levels of up to 35% (for ethnically diverse companies), increasing the diversity of the workforce is increasingly acknowledged as a business imperative and many organisations are looking to create real and lasting change.

Inclusive Employers was approached by a large financial firm, which was looking to increase the diversity of their workforce by eliminating bias in their recruitment.

One of our consultants noted how important these practices are for success: ‘the client works in a highly competitive hiring market – they need to ensure they attract and retain the best talent’.

Our approach to this challenge was two-fold: to conduct a comprehensive review of their existing processes to identify potential issues of bias, and to make a list of recommendations of achievable action to bring the processes in line with best practice.

One of our consultants noted how important these practices are for success: ‘the client works in a highly competitive hiring market – they need to ensure they attract and retain the best talent’.

Our approach to this challenge was two-fold: to conduct a comprehensive review of their existing processes to identify potential issues of bias, and to make a list of recommendations of achievable action to bring the processes in line with best practice.

Data Review

To gain a full understanding of how these processes affected the make-up of the workforce, we:

  • Conducted a full review of the demographic data to identify key trends and diagnose areas of under representation.
  • Conducted a full review of their recruitment and talent pipeline – matching trends in the demographic data to less structured policies that might permit bias in decision-making.

Interviews

We then conducted interviews with around 20 members of staff from across all areas of the business, discussing their experiences and reflecting on how these processes were applied and viewed internally.

The interviewing consultant noted the positivity of these discussions, commenting that they demonstrated the ‘desire and drive for real change’ and produced tangible action points.

Recommendations

Inclusive Employers presented our findings to senior leaders within the organisation and made more than 30 recommendations of actions informed by expertise gained through collaborating and working across sectors with our different members.

These actions included dynamic short-term change and long-term structural adjustments – beginning the process of a culture shift that reduced bias in promotions and recruitment, enabling a more diverse set of colleagues to be promoted and the best talent to be recruited and retained.

Feedback from the client praised the evidence-led approach, noting that the project had ‘identified a lot of interesting and useful evidence points’ to drive change within the organisation.

Outcome

The report further prompted deeper thinking about bias across the organisation. Evidence suggests that the language in our processes has a significant impact on inclusion – with one ZipRecruiter study showing that job listings with gender-neutral wording get 42% more responses.

One of our recommendations was to look at wording within competency frameworks and how they could be made more objective and measurable – one example being ‘confidence’.

The firm later sought further insight from Inclusive Employers on this topic – and noted that they ‘continued to make improvements’ in their recruitment processes.

If you’d like to find out more about this project or talk to us about how we can support your consultancy needs, please email info@inclusiveemployers.co.uk or give us a call on 0207 803 0689.

Diagnosing the Challenges – Consultancy Snapshot

The organisation: Train Operation Company (TOC)

The challenge: to assess the existing company culture and previous diversity and inclusion initiatives and diagnose the inclusion challenges facing their organisation.

Our consultant’s approach was to work across three main strands: to run focus groups to find out about employees’ experience of the organisation, to review existing inclusion, diversity and HR policy and to produce a report offering recommendations for cultural and policy change.

They held the focus groups across different departments and stations, as well as across departments where challenges had already been identified, for example, holding a focus group with women in engineering to talk about their experiences. With group sizes ranging from two to twenty, the consultant asked people to talk about issues such as whether they felt able to be themselves at work, their opinions on promotion processes, flexibility and shift patterns, what their responsibilities were outside of the workplace, as well as issues around disability and accessibility.

Complementing these focus groups was a comprehensive review of existing policy and procedure – including diversity and inclusion, redundancy, pay, recruitment, retention of staff and learning and development. This allowed the consultant to build up a diagnostic picture of the organisation as a whole – identifying where policy change was required to achieve real and actionable change and where people’s experiences at work differ from the company policy.

Our consultant drew upon all of this information and best practice to produce a final report that focused upon prevalent themes and offered practical and targeted strategies for change. They wrote about communication and why it is crucial to building an inclusive workplace, line management capability, as well as how the train operator could act to reduce the impact of customer harassment. They also explored what fulfilment means at work – whether that is flexible work patterns or addressing structural issues to ensure that there is a diverse talent pipeline. The report took into account people’s lived experiences across the organisation, including the varying experiences of employees in both office and station environments.

The final step of the diagnostic exercise was to present the report to the HR leadership team of the organisation – identifying the most impactful areas for policy and cultural change.

The organisation has now completed the policy change recommendations which means all managers and staff have access to a compliant, consistent, cohesive and transparent framework that will guide day to day management and employment decisions.

The organisation is also in the process of putting other long-term culture change programmes into practice, starting with upskilling all employees who make recruitment decisions with workshops around inclusive recruitment. This will allow them to create a culture shift that reduces bias in promotions and recruitment, enabling a more diverse set of colleagues to be promoted.

Our consultant will be seeing the HR team again before Christmas to continue their advice and support and discuss next steps.

If you’d like to find out more about this project or talk to us about how we can support your consultancy needs, info@inclusiveemployers.co.uk or give us a call on 020 7803 0689.

NHS Foundation Trust – Focus On Inclusion

In 2011, a hospital commissioned us to help ensure compliance with their Public Sector Equality Duty. The first ‘Focus on Inclusion’ document, which pulled together the work of the team in relation to inclusion, diversity and equality for both staff and patients, was published on the hospital’s website on 31 January 2012. The publication has evolved over the years and we have continued to work closely with the hospital on the drafting and design of the strategy in line with changing regulation, and changing workforce requirements. We have also played a central role in the hospital's Equality Steering Group, working with the Trust to develop its ongoing inclusion data, strategy and activity. The key themes have been developed into an exciting and engaging programme of activity.

HR Policy Review

Many employers fail to use their HR policies to reinforce their objectives in relation to inclusion, instead working to a highly prescribed set of rules that are often difficult to interpret.

In 2016 we undertook a large scale review of HR policy for a large, complex and unionised commercial company. Many of the policies under review had been in place for decades and had been subject to union consultation or negotiation. The client recognised that the existing policy suite was difficult for mangers and staff to apply, which placed more strain on already busy HR teams, there were contradictions, duplications and compliance concerns. Importantly, the policies failed to support an inclusive culture.

Our brief was to simplify, streamline and modernise thirty separate HR policies. We needed to respect the spirit and the letter of those policies that were subject to trade union negotiation. Additional complexity arose with a large number of policy stakeholders, local arrangements and variations, and a wide geographical spread.

Following a programme of consultation with stakeholders, we're delighted to hand over the new policy suite with the agreed budget and time scale. The original thirty policies had been streamlined into eight policies that were user friendly with supporting FAQs, standard letters, case studies and sign posts to additional resources.

Follow up work included a decommissioning plan for the old policies, establishing a review framework, communications to introduce the new policy suit, and learning and development activity to embed the changes.

The client now has a simple set of policies that are fully compliant and support their inclusive culture.