6 ways to develop a great ED&I strategy

5 mins

Whether or not you already prioritise Equity, Diversity & Inclusion (ED&I) in your b...

Whether or not you already prioritise Equity, Diversity & Inclusion (ED&I) in your business’s growth strategy, finding more ways to improve your internal culture in this way is always necessary. 

The thing about ED&I is that it is a continuous journey. As awareness builds and people start to be more open about what is important to them in a workplace, you come across new ways to transform the way we work.  And that can be really exciting if you treat it with a growth mindset: always looking at what new ideas you can implement, what opportunities there are for both learning and sharing knowledge within your teams. 

Amoria Bond’s Chief People & ESG Officer, Natasha Crump, leads the ED&I strategy across the Amoria Group and she shared some details on her journey and her insights in a recent episode of the Progressing Recruiters Lives Everywhere Podcast. 

She also offered the following tips that you can take to improve your culture and ED&I strategy in any business - whether you’re at the beginning of your journey of improvement, or just looking for new ideas to add to your existing policies. 

Formalise the steps you’re making

Your E,D&I strategy doesn’t have to begin on a negative note. Instead, lead with positivity and look at what steps you’ve already been taking. 

 When I joined Amoria Bond I was finding that there were naturally a lot of diversity and inclusion considerations happening, they just hadn’t been formalised. I’ve had the privilege of really ensuring that they were part of our policies and procedures as well as our growth strategy. 

Now they’re formalised, we can ensure we’re sticking to them while we build on them. Setting out your ED&I initiatives or procedures as part of a strategy is the only way you can ensure that they become consistent across the business and manageable as you grow. 

Make it part of your strategy, talk about it, criticise it. And then start looking at where you can make improvements. 

Continuous small steps create giant leaps

We always say we’re not perfect at Amoria Bond and we certainly don’t have all the answers, but we’re committed to making continuous, sustainable changes. 

That can be in the form of introducing E,D&I strategies to launching an internal E,D&I committee, to something as small as making inclusivity book or podcast recommendations to your teams. Just talking about E,D&I helps to ensure it’s at the forefront of people’s minds when launching new projects or introducing new policies - or lets them know that they can be open about their own ideas for improvements. 

You can’t suddenly fix every problem over night - in fact there is always going to be more work that you can do. But driving small changes over time by making it a key consideration in every part of your business will create larger, more sustainable impacts. 

Take a people-led approach

The key to developing meaningful change that will benefit those who work for you is to give them the opportunity to shape the culture their way. A great ED&I strategy should be employee-led, not leader-led. 

If you’re trying to lead from the top down then you’re naturally going to be inhibited by your own experiences. You need the experiences, values and desires of the people in your teams to be the starting point of your initiatives. 

A great solution to that is to create internal committees and inclusion advocates. Committees can be created to plan events or projects internally - at Amoria Bond’s Manchester HQ for example we have a D&I committee responsible for planning inclusion-focused events and education; a social committee who organise fun activities; an incentives committee who run internal competitions among our sales teams; a CSR committee who lead our charity projects and we’ve just launched a wellness committee who are setting out plans for group fitness and mindfulness activities. 

Inclusions advocates can be individuals responsible for leading conversation around inclusivity with other employees and bringing those ideas together with other advocates. If you have multiple offices, having advocates in each location can be a great way of bringing multiple viewpoints together. They can then work with their local offices or culture committees to develop a localised programme that’s part of a wider group strategy. 

That doesn’t put all the responsibility on employees though. It just relies on them sharing their views and ideas. Accountability still needs to come from board level - ensuring those inputs are put into practice, listening to what people are saying in all areas and making sure that they form the processes that will deliver continuous improvement. 

Invest in experts

I can’t stress enough how important it is to take input from all areas, so as well as listening to what your employees are saying, you also need to get advice from external experts. 

No-one has the answers to everything - the remit of E,D&I is too wide and too complex to expect that. So you have to be open to hearing from different people all the time.

At Amoria Bond we’ve developed training materials and shared knowledge in-house; but we’ve also worked with external partners, from wellbeing experts who have held sessions with our teams, to organisations like the aleto foundation, the armed forces covenant and the diversity & inclusion charter (of which we’re founding members). Introducing the views of experts to our internal materials - and discussing the biggest topics for them on our podcasts - has allowed us to gain a better insight into positive changes we can make, that we may not have recognised by ourselves. 

There are plenty of experts out there so seek out someone who can be available for a talk, training session or webinar for your teams and your leadership to generate better ideas. 

Share your progress authentically

What you showcase externally should be an authentic mirror of what’s happening internally. The experience people see in your business should be the real employee experience. 

So if you say that you have a robust employee-led ED&I strategy, or that you’ve made improvements to your employee engagement over time, you need to be able to prove it. 

The changes you make and the experience of your employees should be measurable and authentic. There are many ways to do that but one that we found at Amoria Bond to be the most effective is through the engagement multiplier platform. 

This is an external platform that allows you to run fully anonymised surveys on your employees experiences for an accurate, measurable impression. 

What’s really useful in this platform is having the option to interact with people who have left comments, while keeping them completely anonymous. This means that when people have left feedback - either positive or negative - you can request further information or even for clarification so that you can best implement those changes. 

It comes back to the employee-led approach - the only way you can make effective change is by listening to the people it will impact. There are other tools out there that also do this, and other ways to get those answers - but the important thing is to remember that some people won’t want to be part of a committee and will only be comfortable giving their real views if they know their answers will be anonymous. So look for a tool that will allow you do gather good, measurable and authentic insights. 

Follow through

The biggest challenge when launching new initiatives of any kind is making sure you follow through with them. 

With ED&I it can be all too easy to launch a new incentive or make a resource available to your employees and then move on to the next thing. 

But that is not the solution for long-term, sustainable change. 

The changes you make have to be for the right reasons, not a vanity project or a marketing tool. You have to be committed to making your business a better, more inclusive and more fair workplace for everyone; or everyone will see through you and you won’t get the employee attraction or retention you want. 

Do it for the right reasons and stick with it. Use tools like the ones mentioned above not just to get an initial survey, but to get regular data that you can use to measure continuous, sustained impact. 

Improve your ED&I for better hiring

We’re proud of the improvements we’ve made - and continue to make - to our ED&I strategy at Amoria Bond, to create an inclusive and enjoyable workplace for everyone. As staffing specialists, we also feel it’s important that we share the lessons we’ve learned and the practical changes we’ve implemented with other businesses we work with. 

If you want to learn more about how you can create a positive and inclusive employer brand proposition in your business, get in touch with our specialists today and we’ll happily advise you on the changes you can make so you can hire and retain the best people.