"Roundtables are a great way for businesses and their most important stakeholders to explore how effectively performance is being progressed, sharing challenges, learning and practical know-how, in a safe space, with people who are passionate about making a difference. It's not about talking through the theory - it's learning about what works in today's context, and readying organisations for future scenarios", so says the Head of Engagement and Responsible Business at one of the UK's leading brands. The next Responsible 100 Roundtable Peer Reviews are....Transition to the Low Carbon Economy, 10 May 2018 from 10.30am to 1.30pm. Read more here.
R100's 2017 roundtable on Workplace Diversity brought together leading experts including HR directors, academics and recruitment professionals. We discussed the importance and benefits of promoting diversity and the barriers commonly faced to achieving effective implementation.
Collecting high-quality data that sheds light on the experience of people from underrepresented backgrounds in their day-to-day working life is essential. Without information on existing levels of diversity within an organisation, tracking the success of different interventions is unfeasible. Speaking to staff directly, building trust, and openness about what data is used for can help in this, as the people most affected can give honest feedback, and are more likely to disclose if they know what the information will be used for.
The roundtable found that the success of diversity and inclusion policies was primarily dependent on the actions of line managers. For busy line managers, including diversity and inclusion measures in KPIs and deliverables can encourage buy-in and make promoting diversity a key aspect of their role. Providing training, support and resources that can be used as and when needed was also identified as crucial. One example mentioned was a ‘best practice portal’ where information could be accessed as and when it was needed, rather than simply having a one-off training session.
Working to integrate diversity and inclusion into the culture of an organisation, or making supporting diversity ‘the way we do things ’round here’, was cited as key. When diversity and inclusion is seen as a top-down exercise or an imposition from HR, it is difficult to get buy-in. Integrating it into company culture can contribute to minimising the taboo nature of this topic, enabling people to have open conversations about potentially sensitive issues, both with different levels of management and with each other. This can help overcome a number of barriers to full equality within the workplace.
Different organisations need different approaches and policies depending on the issues they face, and how long they’ve been actively working to support diversity and inclusion. What works for a business that has been working on the issue for years will not be effective for another just getting to grips with it. The business case for increasing diversity and inclusion is strong, but will only get a company so far. Starting small and focused was also seen as acceptable, as it allowed organisations to get the ball rolling and facilitate learning before tackling the whole range of issues, as long as the basics were covered.
Some aspects of diversity were identified as being frequently overlooked. Despite protections having come in after the First World War, the importance of the representation and inclusion of disabled people was singled out as often forgotten. Further, it’s important for organisations to recognise that characteristics are not mutually exclusive. Identities are intersectional, and taking note of this can have a significant impact on policies and practices, and on the experiences of those they affect.
Register your interest for the next roundtable on Workplace Diversity.
Every month for the past 3 years, the Responsible 100 network has quietly but effectively brought together micro businesses, SMEs and some of the world’s largest corporations with leading campaign groups, NGOs, trade bodies, government and regulators. These “critical friend” sessions are really changing the way that business operates one meeting at a time. Read the full blog here.
Responsible 100's shortest question is this: Is your business transparent on tax? As we explain in our guest blog, any business can answer this question. Any business can benchmark their performance as POOR, OKAY, GOOD or EXCELLENT in so doing. Any business can publish its answer and R100 score for anyone to view, scrutinise and comment on via this website. Read more about our methodology and the reasons for being open and honest on tax on The Crowd website.
Looking forward to an exciting year ahead. Looking back on some highlights from 2014. Read the full email newsletter here. And watch the video clip of highlights from our Good Deals debate: