Implementing an intersectional approach is “vital” for diversity and inclusion (D&I) strategies to be successful, according to Clare Corkish, HR director at Vodafone UK.
“People are complex and our approach to diversity and inclusion needs to reflect this,” she said in an email. “It is important for us to address this nuance, through how we report and measure data and how we deliver our initiatives.”
Hywel Ball, chair at EY UK, said data is an important tool to understand patterns within the end-to-end employee lifecycle. Data will “help identify where there are potential blockages and where interventions need to be made”.
Moreover, external benchmarks are a useful tool for businesses to monitor success such as Stonewall’s Workplace Equalities Index, added Corkish.
Endorsement from leadership and the infrastructure to support D&I goals is “critical”, said a Lloyds Banking Group spokesperson.
“What gets measured gets done. The reason a goal is so effective is because it provides focus and means you have to treat diversity and inclusion like any other business issue if you are going to make progress,” the spokesperson added.
Barriers to entry
Only 13 percent of young Black people believe that their ethnicity does not present any barriers to starting a career, according to a recent report from EY. Industries including law (28 percent), accounting, banking and finance (27 percent), and business consulting and law enforcement (17 percent) were highlighted as sectors young Black people saw as more difficult to enter compared to others.
Collaboration between organisations and external forums play a vital role in beginning to remove barriers of entry especially as equality is “too big for any one organisation to tackle alone”, said Ball. This allows parties to “share knowledge, encourage open communication, and to understand the challenges and barriers people are facing”.
“Explore your sector to find out whether there are already any existing forums that bring together your peers, for example, that you can leverage,” she says. “Also, your existing employee forums or internal networks are another great way of gaining important insights and working together to dismantle barriers to entry.”
Gamification and targeted career discovery programmes are helpful tools in encouraging young people to learn more about potential career paths.
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“It’s imperative that we and other businesses continue to accelerate the pace of change by creating diverse and inclusive organisations where everyone feels they belong, and talent can thrive” added Ball. “This starts with leaders, who need to lead from the front to shape the culture in their organisations, listen to Black employees, and set a clear tone. The C-suite must act as a strong voice for change both internally and externally.”