Hi everyone, and welcome to today’s webinar hosted by Marshall E-Learning, a Ciphr Company. Today we’re exploring why diversity and inclusion is about so much more than compliance. I’m Cathryn Newbery, Ciphr’s head of content. Joining me today, I’m delighted to have with me Ann Allcock, who’s head of diversity at Marshall E-Learning, as well as Gregor Brown, who’s head of account management modules. Ann, Gregor, thank you so much for joining me today.
Just to kick us off, we’re going to have a look at today’s agenda. points we’re going to be covering today include:
- What do we mean by equality, diversity and inclusion?
- The business benefits of creating a more inclusive workplace culture
- Tips for creating a culture of inclusion and belonging for all
- Highlights from Marshall’s Elearning Consultancy services that can help you move the dial on inclusion.
Ciphr is a provider of integrated HR, payroll, LMS, and recruitment solutions. Our integrated HCM platform helps organisations manage that end-to-end employee lifecycle, helping them to deliver a better employee experience. Ciphr’s organisations can be confident that all their people data is in one place, and they can also integrate specialist third-party applications to Ciphr’s solutions by API.
With the recent acquisition of Marshall E-Learning, we also offer a range of off-the-shelf e-learning services and content, which we’ll discuss in more detail later. And with that, I’m going to hand over to Ann, she’s going to give you a little bit more of an introduction to Marshall E-Learning before diving into D&I.
Thanks for that introduction. We are really, really pleased to be with you this morning. Marshall E-Learning is a specialist eLearning company. We focus on diversity and inclusion, and we’ve been in business for about 20 years or so. We became part of the Ciphr Group, which is fantastic news. Not very long ago now, in the spring of this year. And it’s been an absolutely fantastic opportunity for us here at Marshall’s to be working with a really well-established company, such as Ciphr, and we’re still finding our way around the business through our various inductions. But we’re absolutely delighted to be part of the Ciphr Group. And as I mentioned, we’ve been in business for over 20 years, my boss, the founder of the company, David Marshall, was really keen to set up an elearning company that had very much a broad specialist focus, so around diversity and inclusion. And he initially started working with the higher education sector. And we now work with pretty much every university in the UK. And we also engage with and provide services and products across the globe. In fact, yesterday, I was just telling Cathryn and Gregor, David and I met with the head of diversity at Southern Methodist University in Texas, where they’ve got some really interesting diversity and inclusion challenges going on there. But now we work with much more, many more sectors. It’s not just higher education focus. And we do we pride ourselves in fantastic customer service, and we’re really keen to get to know our customers well. And we have exemplary client retention, many partnerships span more than 10 years. One of the key and most valuable aspects of our elearning products is that we regularly update our courses to ensure that they are relevant. And if there are any changes to legislation, we make sure that they’re that they’re really accurate. So that’s something that we believe our competitors don’t really do. And that sort of sets us aside and sets us apart in the in the market. The other really important point to mention is that we have specialist subject knowledge, expertise,
I’m the Head of Diversity, so my background isn’t elearning – my background is diversity and inclusion. So I bring that real subject knowledge and expertise to the content. But we also don’t develop everything internally. We have our own technical expertise as well, our own instructional designers, and our own developers who actually create the learning modules. So that’s just a little bit about Marshall elearning please do reach out to us. At the end, I hope you find what we’re going to talk about today. interesting and informative. But if you have any questions at all about our elearning, do get in touch.
Just before I move on to talk about what is EDI (equality, diversity and inclusion), I just wanted to set the scene a little bit and give you a bit of context. So as I mentioned, we’re a specialist elearning provider. And we’ve been asked, we get asked not infrequently, why do we have Why do you have so many modules on EDI? Don’t we just need one mandatory course which tells people about the Equality Act, it warns them against falling foul of that legislation. And that module, that compliance module might sit alongside other topics such as information security, risk management, anti-fraud. Very legislatively-based and compliance-based. So why do we need more than that?
I do think it’s a very sensible question. We all know that in order to avoid liability for discrimination that takes place in the workplace, and indeed in service delivery. Employee, employers must indeed take what’s called all reasonable steps to ensure that their employees understand what constitutes unlawful behaviour. And for many companies, the focus of EDI remains quite narrow and is actually limited to legal compliance. But I think ticking that compliance box doesn’t really mean that you’ve nailed diversity and inclusion. And it doesn’t mean to say that you’ve maximised all the benefits.
The business benefits, the proven business benefits of a diverse workforce, and a respectful organisational culture. I think compliance is very much a minimum standard, which we should all take as read, we must go beyond that. Beyond what must be avoided, we must go beyond avoiding discrimination. That’s clearly critical. But it doesn’t mean that all staff feel included or that they belong in your organisation. And not discriminating doesn’t automatically translate into a diverse demographic, in terms of your workforce profile, where there’s a legacy of barriers and bias to dismantle. So today’s session really is an overview of diversity inclusion, it’s an opportunity to consider how your organisation can take this forward on behalf of and in partnership with your staff.
What really makes a difference to the everyday workplace experience of diverse employees? And how can that translate very importantly, into business benefit? So one thing I wanted to mention right at the start is the importance of understanding concepts and the nuances of terminology. I’ve already talked a lot about EDI and we can talk about D&I, we can talk about EDI, we can talk about it the other way around DEI, different organisations will talk about different things and have different acronyms for this. But I think all those components within that broad agenda can tend to merge into one. And we use these acronyms, very liberally, sometimes as shorthand and that is really fair enough. And that’s really helpful in one respect.
But we’ve got to remember that each word is a different concept entirely. And we must use the correct language for each specific cons for each concept, and in each specific concept context. So it’s so it’s relevant. And I think for those listening to a speaker and discussing this broad agenda, it can actually come across as quite lazy, maybe a bit inappropriate, maybe to some, it’s even a little bit offensive to us catch all phrases that don’t really mean anything when you lump all these concepts together. And that involves avoiding any kind of platitudes.
So to get where we want to be, we need to think about each of these in turn. So firstly, diversity means difference, which is a fact it’s a simple fact of the human condition. It’s what sets us apart from one another. It’s what makes us unique. It’s also what unites us and enables us to relate to others. And think about which groups we do actually belong to, encompasses all differences in terms of identity in terms of characteristics, and that includes not only those that are protected from discrimination under the Equality Act, I’m sure you’re very familiar with those nine protected characteristics, but also other aspects such as diversity of thought socio-economic profile life experiences. educational background even personality. So if we were using an analogy, diversity is being invited to a party and actually deciding to go along and be there as you are.
What is inclusion then? Inclusion is more about organisational effort and practices that aim to create a culture where all groups and individuals are welcomed and valued. So its what organisations do to make that a reality for employees every day. So whereas diversity is a fact, inclusion is an act. So again, going back to our party is being asked what music you’d like to hear and dance to at the party.
And increasingly, we recognise the importance of belonging. Belonging is an emotion that employees experience, it means feeling valued, it means feeling accepted. And it means feeling connected with and to colleagues, teams, and the wider organisation. And I think the depth and the frequency of our sense of belonging can fluctuate. But it’s related to those acts of inclusion, that we just spoke about our experiences of inclusive practices, inclusive actions and inclusive behaviours that we experience every day. So going back to our party, it’s not just coming on to the party as you are, it’s not just being asked what music you’d like to hear, it’s actually being on the party planning committee, having your ideas heard, and acted upon. So you feel like you belong, you’re really accepted, you’re really welcomed, you’re really valued. And you’re part of what goes on in the organisation. And I think for any company serious about benefiting from diversity, it’s really important to draw those distinctions between creating diversity, and building an organisational culture where people feel like they belong.
Simply recruiting employees from diverse backgrounds isn’t the same as making them feel included. And unless we make people feel included, we’ll be missing out on the economic benefits of diversity. Another couple of concepts before we move on, what does that D&I mean in your organisation? If you talk about DEI or EDI, is it equality? Or is it equity, there is an important difference. So in the first image, we’re looking at equality, where what we’re assuming is that everyone benefits from being treated the same, the same support the same policies, the same practices, the same ways of doing things, people are treated equally.
But in the second image, we recognise that actually, some people need different support, different policies, and different practices, if we are to give them the same opportunities to see the match in this in this case, and have equal access, that is equity. And it’s maybe worth considering what a third image might look like, is it possible to remove the fence altogether, to give everyone the same great experience at work by taking away a barrier? And that barrier, it’s important to recognise might not be a physical barrier, like a fence or it might not be a policy, it might be an attitudinal barrier, something like a bias or stereotyping which can easily take place within organisations – we have norms, we have stereotypical norms within an organisation where we’re used to thinking about a group in one particular way. And we can address those by understanding, raising awareness and trying to tackle those barriers in that particular way. So what we’re actually looking at is to try to eventually to try and remove those barriers completely.
I mentioned the importance of understanding concepts, and using terminology wisely and with clarity, make sure that you’re saying what you mean, you understand what you’re talking about, and actually what you’re meaning to say. So let’s turn to some benefits and opportunities now. So this is really the generic business case, for this broad agenda. What I’ve got on the slide here is an overview of why embracing this topic makes good business sense. And I’m going to give a couple of more specific research findings on the next slide, but just holistically, a diverse workforce, and an inclusive workplace, enable a successful organisation. They are a key part of that success.
To me, you can’t have quality without that diversity, inclusion, equality, equality, equity aspect. So a diverse workforce and an inclusive workplace drive a sense of belonging among staff, and consequently, they’re committed, they’re engaged and they’re productive. they underpin innovation and sound business decisions; they help to minimise risk.
As broad opportunities are considered, all perspectives come to the table. Decisions are really sound, and take on board, all different aspects and all different perspectives. A diverse workforce and an inclusive workplace make the organisation a very attractive place to work. And so that brings access to the best talent, which stays in the company because your staff feel as though they belong, and they become committed.
And it’s about meeting the expectations of customers and the wider public in terms of value organisational values in terms of ethic ethical behaviour, in terms of social governance of your company, which supports a positive reputation for the organisation.
And they also help to ensure that products and services are what various customers or clients, or service users actually want and need. So they open up new markets and new business opportunities. But what’s really important here is that you identify the importance for your organisation. I’ve listed a couple of a few things there several aspects of why this agenda makes great business sense. But what’s the sweet spot for your organisation?
What difference will it make for you, which of these generic factors stand out? And I think it’s really important not to fall into the trap of copying another organisation’s strategy or initiatives, you need to understand your particular context, your drivers, your challenges. And that’s going to if you’ve got that great and really tailored business case, that’s going to convince any sceptics about the value of diversity and inclusion.
For example, are you struggling to recruit? How can you widen your net? How can you attract beyond your usual applicant cohort? What makes you stand out from the crowd as the company of choice for candidates? Or maybe you’re falling behind in terms of product development, terms of innovation? Do you work in an echo chamber? How can you bring new perspectives and ideas to the company? Or are you looking for new markets or realise you’re missing a trick with a whole section of potential clients?
What is your challenge? And how, and why can diversity and inclusion really help? I’ve got some research here, which is the different aspects of the business case that have been explored. I’s really the cost of failing on this agenda.
The first one was a few years ago, the government commissioned some research into race at work, which was called the McGregor-Smith review. And Baroness McGregor Smith found that the potential benefit to the UK economy from a full representation of Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic employee individuals across the labour market, through their improved participation appropriate progression is estimated to be £24 billion a year, which represents actually 1.3% of GDP. So that’s quite a significant missed opportunity. If we’re failing to recruit and promote and use the full opportunities from the Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic community in the UK, we’re missing out.
The second one, millennials are significantly more than Gen Xers and baby boomers to consider diversity and inclusion as important factors in a new job. This research was done by Weber Shandwick, and it’s broader looking at the perspectives of millennials at work. And it’s something I find quite frequently with employees and employers, it really signals the importance of diversity and inclusion. To younger employees and younger prospective employees, in today’s job market, that can really make the difference between securing the best young talent or not. So what are your credentials on diversity and inclusion? How do you actually let people know that you’re interested in this topic? You’re taking it seriously; you recognise the value of a diverse workforce and an inclusive culture.
The third piece of research there was done by Cloverpop, they did research on team decision-making, and they found that on average, teams are significantly better at making business decisions than individuals. But not all teams are created equal and Cloverpop or also measured the decision-making of teams based on the gender, age and geographic location of team members. Their top-line observation with high statistical confidence around this is that as the diversity of teams increases, so does the chance of making better decisions. In fact, most of our teams make better decisions 87% of the time.
And finally, McKinsey’s 2019 analysis finds that companies in the top quartile for gender diversity on executive teams are 25% more likely to have above-average profitability than companies in the fourth quarter. And that percentage, as you know, they’ve repeated this research, it’s gone up from 21%, in 2017, and 15% 15%, in 2014. And they also found the greater the representation of women, the higher the likelihood of outperformance. So those are just four bits of research.
There are many more, there’s something around LGBTQ+ that PwC did a couple of years ago. And they found that only 34% of European high leadership potential survey participants believe that their concrete companies actually leverage LGBTQ+ inclusion for business advantage.
And there are some statistics around disability that I have as well, this year 2023, only 43% of disabled people are economically inactive. And the disability employment gap, which is the difference between the employment rate and disabled, and those who are not disabled is 29%.
So we’re missing so much talent here in terms of different identities. So what does a journey to diversity and inclusion maturity look like? Well, whether there are several model models like this, this is actually Deloitte, its maturity model. They’re quite simplistic, and they tend to be a bit linear, but they’re helpful as they offer a helicopter view. And they help you to get a sense check of your whole organisation, they give an indication of a point on a journey towards maturity, which we can see here through the Deloitte model.
Level one is compliance, and that moves forward through to level four, the integrated level. So just quickly going through these, these levels, and I’m going to ask you, we’re going to have a poll in a second, I’m going to ask you, what do you think what level do you think your organisation is at? So just as we go through, maybe consider that. The first level is compliance. So this is around complying with legislation, aligning maybe with sector standards, professional standards, if those are relevant. Diversity is a problem that needs managing actions that are largely reactive, and the responsibility lies with your legal team. Maybe with HR, maybe if you have a D&I, manager or somebody who’s responsible for D&I.
The second level, around programmatic starts to articulate the business case. But D&I is still really seen in terms of demographic numbers, ie it’s about diversity. It’s not about inclusion, it’s not culture-focused. You have ad hoc ad niche initiatives to increase the representation of different groups in your workforce. You might have staff networks, you might do mentoring programmes, or you might run unconscious bias training. Responsibilities still tend to stick with HR, and maybe the diversity person and you move on to leader lead.
And this is where you get a more sophisticated understanding and it’s linked to your business strategy. Senior leaders are on board they accept accountability. The focus shifts from a diversity piece to addressing systemic cultural barriers as a strategy around culture change. And D&I can often become part of organisational values and you start to monitor how you’re doing. And now the responsibility shifts more to the leaders of your organisation.
The final integrated level is where it’s recognised that difference can be used to create business value. inclusive cultures really become a pillar of your brand and are integrated into all functions into behaviours, structures and systems. D&I is led from the top but the whole organisation has some responsibility. We’re interested to know how mature you think your organisation is when it comes to diversity, inclusion and which level you’re at.
Thanks, everyone. I’m going to share those results. So we can see that around a third each, say compliance of programmatic and 18%. Say that at level three, which is leader lead, and 5%, the integrated and does that kind of tally with some of your experiences speaking to clients and prospects?
It’s all absolutely fine. I think the key thing is to understand where you are, and then what you need to build on. And I think those models are really helpful to give you just a broad sense of what you might achieve moving forward and what you’re aiming at. You can search for different models, some of them are much more complex than that and approach in a slightly different way.
But I was reading the CIPDs inclusion at work report from last year – from 2022. They found that around half of employers do not have a diversity and inclusion strategy or action plan in place, and a quarter say that their D&I activities are entirely or mostly reactive to issues that arise, just 7% of employers have a specific D&I budget.
And there was another snapshot done by a different in different research, which was actually across six countries. And that came out with exactly there’s nearly a third of organisations stuck in the compliance stage. So, this isn’t unusual, don’t feel bad, don’t worry about it. But it’s a springboard, even though you’ve got an opportunity to really build on where you are. And the important thing is to know your starting point.
We’ve looked at concepts we’ve looked at the business case, and what the journey to maturity could look like. If we’re going beyond compliance, and thinking about a culture of inclusion and belonging, to unleash those business benefits, what type of things do we think we need to think about, I’ve picked just three topics here, and I’m going to touch on each of them briefly. It’s really just bringing us back to that piece, why, how and why this is so much about so much more than compliance. There are lots of other topics that I could talk about, or we could talk about this morning.
I’m going to mention unconscious bias, micro-behaviours, and inclusive leadership. And I’m going to give a quick walk through each of these topics.
Unconscious bias, you may well be very familiar with this topic in that you may run training already on it. But I think it is so important when we’re considering the decisions that we all make every day at work, that all our employees make every day at work. The behaviours that we display are underpinned and impacted by our biases. We might not like to think about it or realise we’re doing it, but the moment we set eyes on someone, we begin to form an impression of them. That’s based on those immediate things that we see or learn about them. This is unconscious bias. And we know we have these biases because it’s been tested.
Psychologists have explored our unconscious or implicit attitudes. And they’ve done that in two main ways. Firstly, by measuring physiological data, such as our heart rate, our skin reactions, maybe electrical activity and muscle tissue. And these demonstrate the automatic responses, we display in reaction to certain normally visible triggers, things that we see or things that we experience about somebody when we first meet them.
They’ve also measured reaction times to various prompts or stimuli, which can determine to what extent we associate a particular group with a particular set of characteristics – eg ‘women are caring’, to what extent do we each as individuals make that association? What’s the strength of that association? So really bias unconscious bias refers to the biases that we have, but we don’t really consciously control. And this bias pushes us in a direction that feels right, that we’re most used to, that we’re comfortable. So it’s actually quite counterintuitive for us to resist that. And that’s why it’s so tricky.
But the thing is that our natural tendencies can be really misplaced, because we’re acting on that really limited information, and the choices and decisions we make, may not be the most appropriate, they might not be the most, most reliable decisions, they may not be most, they may not be appropriate, they may not be objective, and may not be the best decisions we can make. Because we certainly have a limited amount of knowledge and information at our disposal when we make them.
I really love this image, and it makes me take a step back (or did when I first saw it). I think the question is, what’s your reaction? What do you think about it? May have all different stuff going on with this picture, I’m going to think one thing that stands out for me is that the tattoos are so extreme, yet the guy looks quite formal from the neck down, he has a shirt and tie and a jacket. And I don’t know, there’s that there’s something that doesn’t quite match, for me, around that.
There was research done which involved flashing up images of people with facial tattoos, facial disfigurements, or even a different skin colour than the person being tested. And the research found very clearly identified that a danger response is being triggered in the brain. In other words, the brain associates difference with danger. And in our developed society, it kind of makes sense when we were more primitive because we needed to decide whether someone was Friend or Foe pretty quickly. We don’t need to do that so much in our developed society now. But we do need to manage how our brain responds and to be able to have appropriate reactions.
What would you think if this guy came along for an interview? What are your first impressions? How comfortable are you? What are you thinking? Would you be thinking? Is he suitable for this particular role? Is he customer-facing? Is he back office? What’s the job he’s going for? Are you worried whether he’d conform with you to follow rules? Would you be professional? What is your brain telling you? And then what you’ve got to do is think about assessing him more objectively, finding out more about him and his skills, and experiences and whether he actually matches your personal spec.
I think this is an extreme example of where somebody looks very different to most people. But we need to be aware that there are less-extreme examples every day, which causes our unconscious bias to kick in.
I’ve heard many times people who choose to wear a traditional or national dress to work can really recognise how that impacts the behaviour of others, their choice to wear that dress. When they choose to one day wear a dress which is more aligned with what people normally wear, and then one day, they’ll come in a traditional dress which reflects their culture or their heritage or their ethnicity. And what they’ve said is people, people relate differently to them. We just need to think about that. That’s our biases kicking in there.
And what does that actually mean for those people? There are some hotspots here in terms of workplace situations or processes that we really need to be alert to where bias may kick in. And we need to think about what best practices we can adopt to ensure that our bias doesn’t affect the quality of our decisions in these processes.
In recruitment and selection, and I’m sure, again, some of this will be familiar to you. But affinity bias is a real risk here, we all tend to see value in the people who are like us with whom we have something in common. So if we’re interviewing, we might notice similarities, like appearance, or career history, or sharing the same ethnicity, having the same jacket – “I’ve got one of those at home” kind of thing that actually triggers something in our brains, and we like people who are like us.
Or maybe a candidate is even similar in some way to the previous job holder, they might even look a little bit like them. And that previous job holder was popular, they were good at their job, and we can subconsciously be influenced. Also there’s a whole category of biases, which is around when we treat individuals based on simplistic stereotypes, often treated again by the triggered by those visual clues. So it’s not strictly workplace recruitment.
An example, but I always like the example around the impact of height and the fact that the average height of the 46 American presidents is two inches taller than the height of the average US male. Tall people seem to be favoured by the electorate. What is it about tall people? Why do we recruit tall people? Does it mean they do the best a better job? I wonder? I don’t know. So I think these visual aspects cause us to think in a certain way about certain people.
What can we do in terms of recruitment selection? Well, work with clear criteria in your job description. Apply robust scoring. Try not to compare candidates against each other, focus on individual positive qualities. Try to have a diverse interview panel where possible, and make sure that those involved in recruitment selection have had unconscious bias training.
Recency bias is something that we need to focus on – “What have you done for me lately?” bias. Somebody’s done a really good job, or a really dreadful job in something a couple of weeks ago. But you’re really trying to document performance at different points through the time period to have a longer-term view and review against goals. Set clear goals, set targets to evaluate against, and make sure your assessment of performance is evidence-based and data-driven. And you’re not working on instinct or inclination.
Work allocation is another area where bias emerges. In fact, research shows that women and members of other underrepresented groups are more often channeled into project management type execution type roles, they’re less likely to receive high value, high visibility or stretch assignments. So again, be really objective about your criteria for assigning tasks, or allocating work, are you acting on assumptions or stereotypes and gotten it not giving people opportunities that they deserve?
There are a few very practical things. If you’re making important decisions that affect others, they’re not going to be good decisions. If you’re hungry, if you’re exhausted, stressed, or rushed, take a step back, try to give yourself time, reflect on biases, and ask other people who are a bit different to you, to sense-check what you’ve concluded.
And if you’ve got a very strong immediate gut reaction, and you recognise that, or you’ve had a strong first impression, just really take time to revisit that.
Micro behaviours: we all do this stuff. They’re expressions of our biases. But they can signal unwittingly whether people are welcome and valued or not, whether people belong or not, and whether we think those people belong or not.
They’re very small behaviours, but they have a big impact. And they can be positive or negative. They can be micro affirmations or micro-aggressions. But I think the important thing to remember, even micro-affirmations. If you’re affirming – you’re giving positive feedback, if you’re giving lots of nods, and good verbal clues to one person all the time, you might not be doing that very fairly; it’s an affirmation, but you might not be delivering it equitably and fairly.
So just be aware that it’s not just the micro-aggressions that we need to think about. And they’re often very intangible, throwaway behaviours. And the person on the receiving end can get really worried if they if they’ve “made it up”, or if they’ve imagined the behaviour. And that causes stress and actually damages, morale and motivation. So the question for you is: taking this away, what examples of micro-behaviours have you seen and experienced? The key point is, we can all recognise them in others, but do we recognise them in ourselves? The chances are that we do to some degree.
Really reflect on that. And that’s part of being really somebody who’s alert to dynamics within the organisational culture. Inclusive leadership is an approach to leading and managing.
We’ve touched on the benefits of diverse teams. But we’ve also mentioned that throwing a mix of people together doesn’t guarantee high performance. It does include this active and inclusive leadership, to make sure that all team members are treated respectfully and fairly, they’re valued.
They have a sense that they belong, they’re confident, they’re inspired. Sometimes people think “Oh, this is really a form of leadership. It’s a really unfocused, soft form of leadership.” I don’t think that’s the case.
Inclusive leaders – there’s nothing to stop them from being goal focused and committed to getting really good results. But the way it’s the way in which they do that, they’re absolutely committed to doing that, by utilising the diversity of their team maximising that diversity and bringing that to actually create really great solutions and great, great results.
I think is quite a courageous approach, because it does look to those in positions of power and it could be senior leaders, but it can also be on the line management level, day-to-day line management. It does require those leaders and those managers to demonstrate character. It is something that takes a bit of courage to do.
What we’ve got here and again – I haven’t reinvented the wheel – this is a Deloitte mode: characteristics of inclusive leaders. They’ve identified six key characteristics and just run through them really quickly.
Inclusive leaders are committed, they’re committed to diversity and inclusion, and they’re committed in the way in which they understand that they need to stay the course, progress doesn’t happen overnight.
They need to be engaged with this topic for the long term. And they allocate time they allocate energy to speak about diversity and inclusion, and to address it.
As I mentioned, they’re courageous, and they’re courageous because they are not only a little bit vulnerable, they’re honest about their strengths and weaknesses. They talk about imperfections, which means potentially taking a risk.
But they’re courageous because they challenge the status quo. In themselves, they recognise what they need to change in themselves, and what they need to change in others. And what they need to change in their organisation with systems with processes.
They’re conscious of bias, we’ve just talked about that. They understand it, they recognise that not only does it happen on an individual level, but the organisation has its own blind spots as well. And they know that those can potentially be the organisation’s downfall.
They’re culturally aware, they understand that not everybody sees the world through the same cultural contact lenses, and they understand how their own culture and experiences impact their own behaviour.
They value different perspectives. And they really work proactively to bring this to the table. They’re curious, they have an open mindset. They look for learning new ideas, and new experiences, they know that different experiences enable growth.
And finally, they’re collaborative. And this is really important. They recognise they need to create a safe space, they have the power through their own role modelling and the way in which they behave, they create a safe space, a safe space for people to share, and collaborate, people can’t bring all that value of diversity if they don’t feel safe to do so.
That’s very much a summary of inclusive leadership. Again, you can read more, and learn and learn more. Something for you to take away: Who’s your great inclusive leader? Can you think of somebody who you work with now or maybe in a previous role, who you could call an inclusive leader? What did they actually do? What did you experience in terms of their behaviour that enabled you to give them the title of an inclusive leader? What made them stand out? And how did that impact you, your colleagues, your team?
It’s just interesting to actually think about what this means in practice in reality, so maybe take that away and think about it.
If we don’t consciously include, we will unconsciously exclude or we run the risk of doing so. So it goes back to that difference between diversity and inclusion, diversity, yet we bring different people in, but actually, we have to work the organisation and each of us as individuals have to work at including everyone around us. And we must do that consciously and purposefully
Top tips – and I’m not going to look at each of these in great detail.
It’s important that you make this topic relevant and accessible to everyone. It can be seen as something just for a certain group of employees. Maybe people see it, that’s something for those who are in a minority or maybe excluded already. It’s not: it’s for everyone, we can all feel left out at times.
Make it relevant, make it accessible. Going back to that point, your bespoke business case, understand why this is important to you, and get people on board in that way. That’s the way you’ll get the buy-in of your leaders. And make sure you support and enable D&I it can be quite a scary topic to be thinking about it’s there are many sensitivities around it, it can be triggering, and sometimes leaders are quite nervous.
Be supportive, and enable them around it. Build awareness, understanding, a skills drip-feed information about diversity and inclusion. Let people think about it. Make that become the norm that people actually are engaging with this topic much more frequently. Account what you’re good at, and where your gaps are, undertake some sort of audit. And as part of that here, employees lived experiences, you can’t know what’s going on unless you have your employees telling you what it’s like on a day-to-day basis in your workplace.
Again, that really goes back to what we were saying before – linking to your business case. Be explicit about who’s accountable for all this. What are your expectations? How does this align with your organisational values, your company, and company values?
Now your starting point, measure progress, that’s not always easy to do. But think about what good is going to look like and how you’re going to know whether you’ve got there, whether you’re making progress, try to bring those diverse perspectives into everything that you do, try not to work in that echo chamber.
And finally, be persistent. But be patient with this because change does take a long time to get there. There are really many very topics I could have talked about others, we’ve, we can start to explore these through elearning. And ideally, through in-person training or other learning opportunities.
I think enhanced awareness and understanding definitely help minimise the risk of discrimination, and of those legal challenges, challenges. But most importantly, it’s going to play into the creation of a culture where everyone can give their best. And that’s where the true value of diversity and inclusion lies. It’s not about us and them, it’s about each and every employee benefiting and that critically flows through into tangible benefits for the business as well.
So as Ann neatly signed off there, just to explain that we at Marshall’s have been developing elearning courses for over 20 years now. And that continuous thread in our topics has been diversity. The good news is that if you’re a Ciphr customer, or if you’re a prospective Ciphr customer, we’ve put some packs together of our content for you to purchase as part of your agreement. A
We’ve put together initially, six packs. I’m going to focus on two of them today because they’re specifically on diversity, which is the topic of this webinar. And these are off-the-shelf learning content packs that we’ve curated.
The first pack is our equality, diversity and inclusion pack. So very simply, there are ten courses within this pack that we’ve put together. We’ve, with our experience, tried to make these as easy and intuitive to work through. We’ve often partnered with key presenters, and Ann has worked with some of these with key presenters on courses together.
I’m just going to pick out a couple that you can see on the screenshot there. So let’s talk about races hosted by Maggie Sample OBE who is an inspiring, inclusive leader – as mentioned by Ann at the end. Maggie is certainly one of those. That’s one of our flagship courses. It’s called “Let’s talk about race in the workplace” and really discusses that topic in great detail it’s inspiring as it’s instructor-led and there’s a lot of video content – so they’re easy to follow.
We’ve tried to make them intuitive and break out from some of the boring stereotypes that elearning can sometimes accompany.
Quite a new topic in the workplace is neurodiversity. And we worked with again another presenter, Lauren Duffy. Lauren is a successful TV presenter and producer, she does podcasts – an incredibly successful person. She’s an ambassador for the British Dyslexia Association. So again, who better to present our course on neurodiversity than Lauren, while she herself she has dyslexia, dyspraxia and dyscalculia? So that’s the first pack, it’s got 10 courses.
The second pack is micro-learning courses. These are shorter courses. Our first pack of ‘traditional’, standard-length courses is about 30-40 minutes. But we took some feedback from our customers that they were looking for sometimes shorter, more presenter-led courses. And so these courses that you can see in front of you are again diversity is 10-15 minutes. And they focus on individual topics that you might not be able to do justice in a catch-all EDI, course, traditional course. So these are very popular for refreshers. They’re also very popular with people that are busy, on the go.
People’s attention spans are becoming shorter and shorter, so they’re very good for the “YouTube generation”. They’re presenter-led, so somebody talks you through the content, but so it’s they’re very easy to consume. And so we find that people enjoy dipping out of topics just to refresh and enhance their skills on a certain topic.
There’s a familiar range of topics there that we’ve covered. But really, we encourage people to dip in and out of these topics just to hone their skills basically.
Then, finally, just to touch on a little bit about pricing, these packs are available, there are 10 packs in the EDI. We have a tiered range of pricing based on the number of learners and the size of your organisation.
If you’re interested or you want to know more, please get in touch with your point of contact at Ciphr. And we can provide some more information, we’ve actually got a very nice document we can share where you can actually view all the courses in full, just from a simple link. So that’s a very easy way to familiarise yourself with our content to see if you’d like to purchase them. And then yeah, just have a look at the various courses. And we’ll put something together as a proposal for you. Thank you very much.
Cathryn Newbery, Ciphr
Thanks so much, Gregor. Just to recap some of the things we’ve discussed today.
EDI is about so much more than compliance. Ann has into brilliant detail about why it’s so important to businesses, the impact on engagement and also the bottom line.
It’s just so crucial. It’s every facet of an organisation. And we’re talking about EDI being specific and nuanced around the concepts you’re discussing. What do you mean when you’re talking about diversity and inclusion or equality or equity, for example, knowing the benefits and the opportunities?
Think about your journey towards diversity, inclusion, and maturity as a journey. We looked at them to know their model which has four stages or levels of maturity there. And then the need to understand various topics around creating an inclusive culture. And there are lots of different nuances there that Marshalls E-Llearning courses and facilitator training Consultancy Services can help you with as they’ve already helped hundreds of organisations with that EDI journey.
A question from earlier, we were looking at systemic cultural barriers to diversity and inclusion within organisations. Kate was wondering what kind of examples might be of the systemic cultural barriers and how we might be able to address them.
Those systemic cultural barriers? The thing to remember is every workplace has its own way of doing things. Every workplace has its own norms that have grown over time. What is it? What is accepted, and what is usual practice in terms of the way in which people relate to each other, and talk to each other? Make decisions, and attitudes to learning; how open people are, whether people are willing to speak up or encouraged to speak up if they see some behaviour that they’re uncomfortable with or that they can see somebody else is uncomfortable with.
I think every workplace, every company has a different company culture. It’s not necessarily a bad company culture, many brilliant things about company cultures, but what you need to be sure of is that that company culture is not hindering or getting in the way of every person, every employee contributing to the best of their ability.
And unless you actually ask people about those experiences, you’re not really going to, you’re not really going to know. Because you, we all, we all see things the way we want to see them. And what constantly surprises me, when you talk to different people is, sometimes you’re talking about the same thing, and you make that assumption that you’re understanding it from the same perspective. And then somebody will say something and realise, actually, they’ve got a completely different way of seeing it to what you have. And I think it’s very important to unpack that.
So what I would say is, is ask people, and you can ask people in all sorts of different ways, you can mod, you can monitor and measure diversity by, working out asking people to identify themselves, in terms of different, different characteristics. And you can count the numbers of different people at different levels or in different roles within your organisation, but what you also need to be doing, so that’s a kind of quantitative monitoring.
But you also need to be doing that qualitative piece, you need to be offering people opportunities, either through things like focus groups, or listening sessions. Or, if you have staff networks, to come and bring topics, or most normally, through your annual staff survey found to you embed diversity and inclusion into that survey, how do you ask questions about how people are feeling, whether they, whether their manager is an inclusive line manager, whether they have opportunities to express a slightly different view, how comfortable they feel, whether they’ve actually ever experienced harassment or bullying, and what the impact of that was.
Give people lots of opportunities to tell you, what you’ve got to be careful about, obviously, is that you don’t reveal identities, when you come to report that or when you come to analyse that information, everything must be anonymous, you must, you must put people in jeopardy, otherwise, they’re just not going to share anything with you. But there are lots of different ways in which you can actually get that information about what people’s experiences are of their everyday life at work. And if you don’t ask, you can’t be sure what’s going on.
Yeah, absolutely. Thank you. And a question that quite nicely links onto that from Patricia. And she’s asked me: “How realistic is this – this goal of achieving inclusion? And when we hear every day about how some of the organisations are being cited as inherently racist, or with systemic sexism problems, like how realistic is it that we can make progress in this area or even become an inclusive organisation?”
It is quite depressing isn’t that? I’ve been working in this area for a long time. And one of my first jobs was in the London fire brigade. And I used to work in their Equalities Unit. And, at that time, there was a lot of, racism around, and a lot of sexist behaviour.
When the first women started working as firefighters, a lot of really awful things happened. There was a report a couple of years ago, which highlighted these issues still occur in the fire service, but I’m thinking more about the police, and those sort of high-profile types of organisations that we’re looking at now, similarly, as a uniformed organisation, it feels like we can just think we’re getting a little bit better at this and then we go back and we just another piece of research has told us how to follow so it’s quite disheartening, but I think what I would say is that – and I know many of the organisations listening here may not be particularly large organisations – but what I do know is that the big corporates spend a lot of money in this area, they put a lot of resources in trying to create this inclusive workplace, this inclusive environment and inclusive culture.
So there must be something in it in terms of business benefit, there really must. But I think also it’s so important because it’s about the reputation of your organisation. As I mentioned, one piece of research, particularly for young people, this is what they expect: they expect your organisation to be great in terms of diversity and inclusion, and if you’re not – if they don’t see that on your website if they’re looking for a job – they will choose another company which is similar, but does have or talk about what they’re doing on diversity inclusion.
I think it is important whether we will actually achieve it, it goes through ups and it goes through downs, but there are a lot of positives. But we tend to focus on what’s negative, too. So I think we must remember that progress has been made. And that’s why I say, be persistent, but be patient. It’s sort of courageous to do this type of work because you’ve got to be in it for the long haul. So I think, will we ever achieve 100%? Not necessarily, because naturally, we’re all biased. And we all tend to, work in stereotypes and assumptions. So the world is never going to be perfect, but I think we need to continue to try to make it better.
Great. Thank you. A question from Aisha, here. She says they’re currently looking at writing an EDI strategy for their organisation. Do you have any tips for starting an EDI strategy or useful resources to help tailor it to our organisation? But if I come to you, Gregor, I’m just thinking about the services Marshall offers. One of them, which we haven’t really talked about, is Consultancy Services. Is this the kind of area where the Marshall team leads and supports with consultancy?
Yes, well, I’m going to flip this back to Ann, because as a bit of diversity as I was kind of. Yeah, so you can effectively hire to help and you want to maybe articulate a little bit more about some of the services that we could offer?
Yeah, absolutely. I’m a real believer that you need to look at your organisation where you are. I’m not going to say you need to do that, that, and that. I think what you need to do first of all is work out what the driver is for this work. Why is it important to you, and then understand what you’re currently good at, and what you need to improve on, maybe looking at that maturity model, but lots of other aspects as well.
Some type of some type of overview, review, audit, whatever you like to call it. That can be as in-depth as you like, or kind of as helicopter views you like, it doesn’t have to take months and months and months – it can be quite a light touch. And then, part of that part of that, again, is talking to people, it’s finding out about what is driving this? Why is it important for your organisation? What is the reality currently, and then yet, in order to create a strategy and action plan, you base it on that, you work around different areas, you look at leadership, you look at governance, you look at how you monitor how you measure, you look at your policies, you look at your processes, you look at your culture, and what are the gaps there? What are the strengths and gaps?
There are certain, pillars that you or areas of focus that you look at. And, then you work out what your priorities are. But you will always need to and that’s about bringing diverse perspectives to the table, it’s not just about one person sitting in a darkened room and saying “This is what we need to do”. It’s about finding out what current experiences are and what other people what people think about what would help because what you’re trying to do, mustn’t just be some bit of paper that somebody’s written, that bears no relation, it’s got to make a difference. And that’s why bespoke and tailored work is so important. So absolutely, that’s the type of work that I do.
I also run webinars like this one on a particular topic in more detail or run an action planning workshop with a board – familiarisation awareness raising, trying to create a safe space for people to talk about this. Did an action planning session with an organisation last week, which was “What are you going to do to become an organisation that demonstrates racial justice?” What does that actually mean?
But it was more of a facility, I didn’t give much input, it’s more about enabling the people there to work it out for themselves and then they get and then they become sort of committed to it and actually can buy into it. So training consultancy, other elearning resources, can design toolkits, whatever. Yeah, I mean, just ask or say no, of course.
Cathryn Newbery, Ciphr
So, another question: “We have a growing problem with a workforce self-diagnosing neurodiversity, particularly ADHD, and having to wait years with the NHS for a formal diagnosis. Do they have the same legal rights? And do we have to provide duty of care to someone with a formal diagnosis?”
I think neuro divergence falls within the definition of disability under the Equality Act. And you don’t have to have a formal diagnosis. I will come back to this place, that it’s more than compliance; even if you haven’t got the formal diagnosis – although that absolutely helps, because actually it gives you a better understanding, or hopefully, we’d give you a better understanding of what that person’s needs are and what you can do.
But actually, in my view, you shouldn’t be focusing on whether is this proven. Is it formal if you’ve got an employee who comes to you and says “I have these issues, this is me, I need these things to help me do my job” – it doesn’t really matter if they’ve got it written down on a bit of paper, or the box has been ticked by the NHS or whatever, you need to think about how you can put those things in place to be most helpful for them, the reasonableness does obviously come into it, and you have to decide what is reasonable.
If you’re a small company, you can’t afford necessarily thousands – or if making one change might actually mean that other members of staff are disadvantaged by that in some way. If you do choose to do something differently, because of this one person.
So if reasonable, then this does come into it. But I would say, your problem is you’ve got somebody who’s not working to the best of their ability because they need some support. Doesn’t really matter if they’ve got the diagnosis, although that is helpful, but I would plough ahead anyway. And I think that’s part of your attitude and approach to diversity and inclusion.
Yeah, it’s almost like treating it as an employee coming to you with any other kind of issue that needs a bit of accommodation. It’s the same as “I need to pick up my kids for a doctor’s appointment”, it’s “I need to spend a bit more time working offline” or something like that – it’s treating each person as an individual and supporting their situation as it is now and might be in the future.
Speaking as someone who works with someone with ADHD, and we’ve had to figure out how to manage that and create an environment where they can work effectively, I understand the challenges that presents and just kind of taking them person by person. And you can’t assume that everybody with ADHD, for example, presents in the same way, they’re all individuals.
So that diagnosis is helpful, but not the be-all and end-all.
Next question – Jackie asked: “We are getting pressure from staff to have a designated EDI lead not working in HR, but possibly in the CEO’s office is a common ask”.
Yeah, it is really it is really, I mean, D&I traditionally sits within HR. But if you think about some of the business benefits that we’ve talked about how important it is for D&I to flow through all kinds of business functions. And if you want to get to that place where it’s much more integrated into the organisation and the responsibility tipped over into senior leaders rather than into one person or two people who are in HR, it does make sense in the long run, and many organisations have that model, although probably the majority still have a D&I person in HR. So it’s not a bad place to start. But I think it’s certainly something to consider, because that’s how you get that reality of embedding, if it’s HR, it’s in seem to be somebody else’s job, somebody’s job in HR to do it.
Just to add on, you’ve just written a new micro-learning course, which is coming soon to add to that portfolio I talked about, which is about leading at the executive and board levels.
Yeah, yeah, we’re creating some new micro-learning courses, a new suite of six, which will be not topic focused like the previous ones we had were on neurodiversity, menopause, etc. But these are more for people who are in different roles within an organisation: there’s one around inclusive line management every day (manager’s toolkit microlearning pack), and there’s one for leading diversity and inclusion (diversity microlearning pack). There is also one for inclusive recruitment – so for hiring managers, etc – which aren’t quite ready yet, but they will be in the next month or so.
And this is probably going to be my last question. Ann, how do you deal with the “chicken and egg” situation where maybe you don’t have a diverse people team, and there may be a couple of people who are different in some way, but they’ve, they’re sceptical about the impact of diversity initiatives because the people team is maybe not as diverse as they could or should be?
I think you need to think about who’s going to influence some action in this area. Ideally, it comes back to that thing that we don’t know what we don’t know. And if you’re a group of people who don’t know very much about something, or who haven’t experienced the impact of maybe a negative impact of being different in some way, why would you even think that you needed to address it?
So two things, I would go back to that thing, at least understand that you have to ask a broader group of people about their experiences. And maybe you’d be surprised about what people are telling you, maybe you wouldn’t, maybe everything is fine. But yeah, you’re right, it is just chicken and egg in an organisation where everybody looks the same.
Why would you be bothered about diversity? But I would come back to the business benefits. There’s so much research now on what the business benefits, the extent of the business benefits that come from having diversity within an organisation, that it would be foolish to ignore that.
And the point about somebody can you find somebody who, who is passionate about this in your organisation, a leader, preferably who can drive this and who can ask some questions, and be a bit of a critical friend to the organisation and start to move you to that place.
And there’s also a whole concept about diversity nudges. Which is around behaviours and getting people to behave slightly differently, without actually being quite so “in your face” about it. I mean, if you look at diversity and inclusion nudges, there are two women who’ve written some work on that. And given some really great examples of diversity nudges that can help you help take you in the right direction. And for a while, Marshalls did actually produce what we called a “Diversity nudge” every month, which was a one-pager on a whole range of different topics. And we provide this to clients every month with a view to that being circulated. So it just brings this into people’s mindsets, a diversity and inclusion-related topic, something about that written in very accessible language, not complicated, not academic.
But just trying to bring people into the conversation about why this is important, and why it might be. So I think there are learning activities that you can do, but I would try to get information about experiences. And you might be surprised if it’s just the people team that isn’t very diverse, but the rest of the organisation is you might be surprised at what you find. And you can take it from there.
Thank you, again for joining us and being so engaged and attentive and really appreciate it and we hope to see you at another Marshall’s webinar. Take care.
About this webinar
Despite the many, varied, and proven business benefits of a diverse workforce and a respectful and inclusive organisational culture, for many companies the focus on equality, diversity and inclusion (ED&I) remains quite narrow, and is often limited to legal compliance. So what do organisations need to know, today, to create a truly inclusive culture that embraces diversity?
Join Ann Allcock, head of diversity at Marshall E-Learning, now part of the Ciphr Group, as she shares:
- An overview of the many topics that fall under the equality, diversity and inclusion banner
- The business benefits of creating a more inclusive workplace culture
- Practical tips on how to take steps towards a culture of belonging for all
- Highlights from Marshall’s comprehensive and cost-effective ED&I eLearning course catalogue that can help you move the dial on inclusion
About Marshall E-Learning
Marshall E-Learning, now part of the Ciphr Group, is a specialist ED&I provider and supports over 300 clients to drive enhanced awareness and understanding across a broad range of topics through engaging e-learning. Discover more at marshallelearning.com.