How Inclusive Employer’s membership supported our inclusion agenda

My name is Carol and I worked in one of those 305 organisations. Like many EDI specialists, I found myself inundated with requests for support – for example: how can we better understand the needs of our black colleagues right now, but also in the long term in the light of such systemic injustice?

Scroll down to read more...

We all know that 2020 was an exceptional year, one which both gave us so much hope to advance the inclusion agenda but took so much in the form of the COVID pandemic and its impact on our everyday lives. In this addition I will be saying a short hello as one of the most recent joiners to the Inclusive Employers team and reflecting on my experience of being a member during 2020.

My name is Carol Buchanan and I have recently joined Inclusive Employers as a senior consultant. I have a unique perspective on the work we did in 2020, because I was an Inclusive Employers member in my role as lead of the Diversity, Inclusion and Organisational Listening strategy in Openreach – BT’s largest unit. I know from first-hand experience the value of membership, consultancy and the wealth of resources and learning that Inclusive Employers provide.

My background is that of a HR specialist focused on organisational psychology. Over the last 10 years I’ve specialised in transformational change, organisational culture and Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI). 2020 saw significant impact across all of those areas in BT. We had to learn new skills overnight to respond to the pandemic, shifting thousands of roles to home working in a pace that we would never have thought possible. Then quickly we had to pivot respond to the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement as the death of George Floyd sparked global outcry in the face of systemic racism.

Like many EDI specialists, I found myself inundated with requests for support – for example: how can we better understand the needs of our black colleagues right now, but also in the long term in the light of such systemic injustice; how do we do that in a virtual world where line managers cannot meet their people to get a real sense of how they are doing?

Our Inclusive Employers membership gave us so much.  From the webinars and factsheets sharing top tips to engage and manage people in a virtual world, to the change in approach to deliver content virtually, Inclusive Employers were on the ball and offering us carefully curated content just when we needed it. Find out other ways we supported our members in 2020.

We worked with our relationship manager to think through how to help people make sense of the Black Lives Matter movement, and how to harness the outpouring of passion and appetite to make a difference. Sharing the factsheets and tools gave people a place to start self-education. Addie and Aminata from the Inclusive Employers team then hosted calls to help us further explore race and racism in a safe environment. The year ended with the launch of an Allies programme reimagined for the virtual world.

Drawing on the experience and creativity of the team we were able to fill a very real need for people to find an outlet. A way to become more self-confident in an emotionally charged space, and to learn how to take action to support their diverse colleagues. The programme was a huge success.

Moving from BT to Inclusive Employers was an easy decision for me. The depth of expertise, passion and empathy in the team, and a real commitment to doing the best for their members mirrored my own values. Since arriving I’ve seen that passion harnessed in development of new offerings and tools to support the needs of clients and members in 2021 and beyond. This year Inclusive Employers members can look forward to being a part of Member’s United – a new platform for connection, where we will share best practice and build confidence about inclusion as a united voice. Members look out for more info on how to be a part of this in Everyday Inclusion on February 11. For everyone not benefiting from membership yet, you can find out more here.