Why you need an inclusion accreditation

Our inclusion accreditation is a brilliant tool to measure, celebrate and set goals for your inclusion agenda. Lindsay Lerigo, Programme Manager, Inclusive Employers Standard, explains how your inclusion agenda will be improved by taking part in the Inclusive Employers Standard.

Scroll down to read more.

As you read this we have just launched the first round of our inclusion accreditation, the Inclusive Employers Standard 2021, on 8 March! I don’t know about you but I can’t believe it is March already. The last 12 months have been hard for those in working in Inclusion and Diversity roles – budgets got repurposed, employees furloughed and Inclusion and Diversity initiatives put on hold.

As the days start to get longer and the weather warmer, there is hope on the horizon that we can soon be back around our friends and family and I am jumping on the feeling of optimism in the air. Things are now more settled and the momentum around inclusion is there like never before. It is the perfect time to take stock, look at what you have achieved in the last 12 months, celebrate that and look ahead to what your focus for the future will be. There is no better way to do this than by getting inclusion accredited with our Inclusive Employers Standard (IES).

I am busy having conversations with organisations who are considering committing to our inclusion accreditation, so I thought it would be useful to answer some of the questions I am asked most often as organisations take their first steps towards the Inclusive Employers Standard.

Why measure your Inclusion and Diversity activity?

Understand the quality of the lived experience / organisational culture

The IES is focused on gathering a range of data and evaluates how you find ways to engage with staff across a variety of activities to make sure what you do is evidenced based.

Understand your current position

You need to know where you are to be able to identify goals, objectives and priorities and plan efficient and effective inclusion activities. The IES gives another method for judging progress outside of data collection.

Identify goals, objectives, priorities

Taking part in the IES gives you the knowledge of what is working and what needs to be improved. It is focused around on-going learning through evaluation of particular activities.

Evidence for budgets and legal obligations

The IES encourages organisations to start to measure the return on investment they gain from their inclusion work – to help build the case and evidence the benefits of inclusion.

Why should you take part in the Inclusive Employers Standard over other accreditations?

Obviously, I am biased and think it is amazing, but I honestly believe that. Our inclusion accreditation is fantastic because:

  • We have designed the Standard to bring meaningful positive change to an organisation.
  • Taking part demonstrates real commitment to changing your workplace culture that is not tokenistic or tick box in approach.
  • This is about you as an organisation and how inclusive you truly are across all your organisational activity. We aim to celebrate the areas you are doing well in and working with you in areas that need improvement. We aren’t interested in pitching you against other organisations or taking money from you to attend a fancy awards ceremony.
  • Participating organisations receive a comprehensive feedback report and a feedback meeting with an Inclusive Employers consultant. This allows us to drill down into areas of focus identified in the accreditation process. Participants often find this the most beneficial part of the process, leaving them with expert, practical advice.

What does a gold standard Inclusive Employers Standard accredited organisation look like?

I get asked this a lot and obviously gold is the ultimate goal but I think it is important to talk about all of the accreditation outcomes, not just gold.

Organisations that are successful at achieving accreditation are awarded Bronze, Silver or Gold accreditation status. Those that don’t reach the requirements for accreditation are recognised as committed. Committed is not an accredited status but a recognition of their commitment to creating a more inclusive workplace culture for their staff. A committed organisation has started on their Inclusion journey, they likely have some activity in place across a few departments and pockets of engaged staff. Taking part in the IES has identified their key areas of focus and they can use this as guide to work towards becoming a Bronze accredited organisation.

A Bronze accredited organisation demonstrates a broader range of inclusion activity taking place across the organisation. This activity is present across departments and various levels from staff involved in networks or Inclusion groups to exec/board buy in. The foundations are in place in some identified key areas such as diversity data collection and analysis, staff inclusion training and I&D Strategy.

A Silver accredited organisation can evidence everything in Bronze but also that there is a clear rationale behind the inclusion activity that is in place. They collect and analyse data relating to staff headcount and the employee lifecycle and use this to inform strategy and action plans. There is a clear understanding of who their staff are and what they need to feel included in the workplace.

A Gold organisation has all of the above but also puts a focus on monitoring and evaluation of activity. Ensuring that what is in place is measured for success and there are mechanisms in place to demonstrate return on investment from inclusion activity. Inclusion is considered as part of all processes for all staff. They are leading the way and sharing their best practice outside of their organisation to help other organisations better too. Ultimately everyone in the organisation understands the importance of I&D and what their role is to create an inclusive culture for all staff.

Inclusion requires commitment

We recognise all of that is a big ask it takes time and commitment to achieve and with gold standard being the ultimate and likely longer-term goal. It is important to recognise that taking part and achieving committed, bronze, silver or gold are all massive achievements.

If that already sounds like your organisation then great, we would love you to take part and have the opportunity to showcase and celebrate all of your hard work. If not, but you want it to be, then this is the accreditation for you, let us go on the journey with you, helping you to become a gold standard inclusive employer. Find out more about registering for the IES and preparing your inclusion accreditation submission here.