How the Inclusive Employers Standard Foundation Assessment kick started our inclusion journey

Find out how Anchor Hanover used the Foundation Assessment of our inclusion accreditation, the Inclusive Employers Standard, to embed and develop its inclusion practices and go on to achieve a Bronze accreditation. Scroll down to read more.

The Inclusive Employers Standard is an evidence-based accreditation tool that measures your inclusion and diversity agenda. The assessment process includes responding to 35 questions that measure inclusion against six pillars: Engage, Equip, Empower, Embed, Evolve, Evaluate.

Inclusive Employers recognise that organisations are all at different stages of their inclusion journey and may not be ready  for the full accreditation tool. For organisations in that position, we have developed the Foundation Assessment. This assessment also measures inclusion against the six pillars and provides you with a detailed feedback report and action plan, but there are no time restrictions on the submission process, and as the experience of Anchor Hanover highlights below, it can be the gateway to you becoming Inclusive Employers Standard accredited.

Anchor Hanover’s inclusion journey with the Inclusive Employers Standard

Anchor Hanover is England’s largest not-for-profit provider of care and housing  for people in later life. Providing retirement housing to rent and buy, retirement villages and residential  care homes. The organisation’s journey with both the Foundation Assessment and the Inclusive Employer’s Standard, showcases how these tools can support and develop your inclusion objectives.

Understanding the foundations of inclusion

Anchor Hanover have long had an active strategy celebrating inclusion and diversity and in August 2019 cemented this by appointing its first Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Manager to ensure there was a strategic, permanent focus on it.

The first step for the EDI Manager was to develop a clear understanding of the organisations existing strengths and opportunities. To do this, she recommended the organisation take part in the Foundation Assessment of the Inclusive Employers Standard, to gain an expert and objective overview of the organisation’s current position. The results of Anchor Hanover’s Foundation Assessment were delivered via a detailed feedback report and de-briefing meeting with Inclusive Employers. This detailed, action focused feedback was vital to the organisation, because it provided the foundations to develop its strategy and workplan for the next 12 months. As well as setting the goal of taking part in the full Inclusive Employers Standard inclusion accreditation at the end of this period.

Graduating to the Inclusive Employers Standard accreditation

Taking part in the Foundation Assessment gave Anchor Hanover confidence, both in its own assessment of its inclusion and diversity practices and in its ongoing inclusion journey, and after 12 months the commitment to taking the Inclusive Employers Standard was made.

The process

Taking part in the Inclusive Employers Standard requires commitment which is why the submission process includes a guidance document, to highlight what is expected in response to each of the 35 questions that the accreditation assesses.

“The submission website was easy to use and the guidance document detailing what is expected in  answers to each question was very useful”

Ruth Petzold, EDI Manager

Knowledge gathering and evidence

The inclusion accreditation requires organisations to evidence its inclusion practices and therefore it is important to make time to engage with colleagues throughout the organisation who will have knowledge to support this.

“Engage with many colleagues in other teams to be able to provide the level of detail”

Ruth Petzold, EDI Manager

Having done the Foundation Assessment initially, this gave Anchor Hanover a helping hand when it came to answering some of the questions in the Inclusive Employers Standard because some of the more factual information about the organisation and its structure hadn’t changed in 12 months, so could be used to shape responses for the accreditation.

The evidence-based requirement of the inclusion accreditation is important and the EDI Manager had learnt to save emails, screenshots and pictures of communications and other work that would support the application in a dedicated folder. Having these examples stored made the submissions process more efficient for the organisation.

Positive results

The Inclusive Employers Standard results process includes a feedback report and meeting, which Anchor Hanover’s EDI Manager found especially helpful as she was new to the organisation. It can be an opportunity to involve others in the organisation and in this case the Executive Sponsor was involved so he could hear the expert feedback and advice first hand, and be involved in the conversations.

Anchor Hanover received a Bronze accreditation, which was a great achievement for the organisation and wonderful recognition of their work.

“This is fantastic recognition for all the colleagues and residents who have worked hard to drive the diversity and inclusion agenda forward over the past few years.”

Ruth Petzold, EDI Manager

Anchor Hanover can now display the inclusion accreditation logo on its website, demonstrating to potential colleagues and residents how serious its commitment to inclusion is, and what they can expect to be a part of if they join the organisation.

Inclusion accreditation in action

The Inclusive Employers Standard prides itself on delivering action-focused results and feedback. Anchor Hanover have implemented a number of actions that its IES feedback report highlighted:

  1. Investing in external EDI training for Senior Leaders, including the non-exec and exec board
  2. Including a full set of diversity monitoring questions in its engagement survey in order to identify trends and patterns.
  3. Introduced ‘lead’ roles into its colleague EDI networks so that each one has a named member to engage including communications, training, and policy.
  4. Developed a full recruitment action plan relating to EDI.