By Be Kaler-Pilgrim, co-founder of Futureheads Recruitment
Digital recruitment agency Futureheads recognised a need within the business to implement an organised system for approaching ED&I, with targets in place that would help to create a safe space to share thoughts, set quarterly goals and implement training and support.
After six months of progress, growth and continued learning, Futureheads began to make a real impact internally, as well as for clients across the tech sector. Whilst recognising that there is still much to learn and improve upon, here Futureheads share some key learnings from along the way which can be used as a starting point for any businesses looking to address ED&I.
- Get your staff onboard – To impact company culture on a deep level, it’s vital to get staff onboard and ensure they feel comfortable when discussing ED&I within the business. Why not try setting up a staff communication channel, where you can share relevant insights? Whether it’s an article or a programme about inclusion on TV – try to create an easy way for your team to share thoughts about these issues.
- Address your own diversity profile – There is no point trying to create industry change if your own approach isn’t up to scratch first. A big part of this means assessing your internal diversity profile and making it a priority to build and maintain a balance within your senior management team. This will be key to ensuring a diverse and inclusive workforce that meets the diversity profile goals of the business.
- Implement pronouns – It’s important to encourage your team to update their pronouns (even those who are cisgendered), as it demonstrates inclusivity. It’s a small action, but can make a huge difference to non-binary and trans employees and create a sense of belonging.
- Provide training and make ED&I an available agenda item in 121s, appraisals & board meetings – Providing ED&I training courses to all staff to improve their awareness, as well as publishing clear career progression guides, is vital to implementing a successful ED&I strategy. And don’t forget to look higher up too; commit to including ED&I as a fixed item on board meeting agendas, with executive level accountability to deliver on OKRs against ED&I goals.
- Update and improve your policies – Make sure your ED&I policies and procedures are not just words on a page, but are lived and breathed every day. Auditing and updating all your policies to ensure they are inclusive and offer as much flexibility as possible is key to this, and a work in progress.
- Make them visible – The next step is to make these visible by creating an internal website where you can publish your inclusive benefits and policies, along with regular updates. To make yourself accountable, set yourself goals and publish your ED&I statement externally too. You can read Futureheads’ here.
- Positively engage your clients on diversity – From discussions with the team, Futureheads realised that its staff needed to understand when to raise the conversation of diversity with clients, and how to positively engage, challenge and educate them. Creating a client onboarding and post-project process map, which defines the standard for good ED&I and ‘how to’ advice and consultancy, will help optimise client processes to ensure authentic inclusion.
- Diversifying advertisement channels and writing inclusive jobs descriptions – i.e. actively inviting people with protected characteristics to apply for the roles that you advertise when recruiting new staff – and ensuring inclusive job descriptions are used on your site.
- Schedule quarterly updates – Communicating your goals and progress to your staff on a quarterly basis, and continuing to invite staff to contribute to your journey at every level, will really help to track your ED&I progress. For example, try circulating a questionnaire internally to measure your progress on these goals.
- Partner with diverse organisations – Begin by assessing potential partners who you can support over the coming years, and form a charities and partnerships group internally to do this.
Futureheads is still only at the very beginnings of its ED&I journey – and still has a lot more to do. This means acting on its ED&I statement, implementing training and advertising better to truly make sure everyone is welcome at Futureheads.
Crucially, Futureheads has learnt that you have to talk about diversity – being afraid won’t achieve anything. It can be hard to pin down everything you need to fix, but this is a process and it’s okay to get it wrong – in fact, there is no wrong. To do the right thing for everyone, you need to be committed to learning and talking, to make sure you really make an impact and create a more inclusive workplace and industry.
If you would like to join the conversation or learn more about ED&I at Futureheads, contact our experts at https://www.wearefutureheads.com/contact-us/.