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Joanne Lockwood

SEE Change Happen Ltd

Inclusion and Belonging Specialist

Read more about Joanne Lockwood

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Moving EDI from a one-off to embedding it into your culture

Embedding EDI in your organisation means truly valuing the people experience

It is nearly two years on from the murder of George Floyd in the US by a police officer and 18 months on from the kidnap, rape and murder of Sarah Everard by a serving metropolitan police office. More recently, a young 16-year-old transwoman, Brianna Ghey, was fatally stabbed near her home in Warrington, and I have witnessed the vitriol and hate pouring in through the mainstream media.

Are we learning nothing as a society? Or is it an important sign when global businesses like McDonald’s sign a legal obligation with the Equality and Human Rights Commission to protect staff from sexual harassment?

Going deeper

In our workplaces we hold #hashtag events to promote LGBTQ+ history, Black History, International Women’s Day, Mental Health Awareness, etc. but is your business just going through the motions or are you deeply embedding positive people experiences within your culture in a way that is authentic?

Firstly, we must Define & Assess – Where Are We Now?: stop and think about why equality, diversion and inclusion (EDI) is needed in your organisation, and assess the current level of understanding.

Have you got employee engagement surveys? Are they performed regularly or just once a year? How do your people/customers feel about you as an organisation? Do you measure employee and customer experience? Data is essential to provide insights into who has said what and why – build in a ‘you said we did’ mantra or people will stop trusting you to listen to them.

Stop and think about why EDI is needed in your organisation, and assess the current level of understanding

Staying course correct

Next, we should Set Out Plans & Targets which should be tailored to the organisation and its starting point. Assess your velocity and trajectory – too fast and people get change fatigue, too slow and people will become frustrated through lack of action or progress.

Of course, you will have ‘business as usual’, commercial, economic and social factors to consider as well. Find your ‘north star’ on the horizon to set your course.

Why do you want more people of colour or women in your organisation? Do you have this vision or are you just ticking boxes?

Remember that the world changes, priorities evolve and so this north star will also move in the night sky – how do you stay focused, and course correct?

Find your ‘north star’ on the horizon to set your course

First, begin

Then we must Take Action to ensure we communicate our intent, our thoughts and strategy together with the implementation. Involve resources within the organisation, empower your people and create expectations to hold yourself accountable.

Make public statements and be proud of the journey you are embarking on – you won’t always get it right. Starting is important, even if it isn’t perfect.

What can we do?

If we do not Monitor Our Performance then how will we know if we are on the right course, travelling at the optimum speed to achieve our objectives?  Be transparent and publicise the organisation’s progress, internally and externally. Be authentic and hold yourselves to account.

Turn ‘we can’t’ into ‘what can we do’ to ensure positive people experiences.

Make public statements and be proud of the journey you are embarking on

Positive foundations

Check-in regularly, listen and recognise that people communicate and think differently so you may well need to use a multitude of ways to engage with stakeholders, suppliers, colleagues and customers. Remember that the foundation of EDI initiatives must be positive people experiences.

Finally, Repeat – we mustn’t get complacent, this journey is never over. This bridge always needs maintenance and repainting. This is an ongoing process. It is imperative to revisit, assess and replan to ensure action is still relevant.  Don’t be afraid to stop, pause, reflect and if necessary, start again.

Benefiting from diversity

Embedding EDI in your organisation means truly valuing the people experience, ahead of the bottom-line business benefits, which will naturally follow along with compliance.

By working on your culture and ensuring it is aligned with your brand values you will nurture a sense of belonging, which in turn leads to inclusion and you will benefit from diversity.

So are you embedding EDI in your organisation or just #tweeting about it?

SEE Change Happen

If you enjoyed this, read: Equality, diversity and inclusion: Why HR needs to take centre stage


Author Profile Picture
Joanne Lockwood

Inclusion and Belonging Specialist

Read more from Joanne Lockwood
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