Diversity and Inclusion Unlocked – HR Network Event with The Guardian and Havas

On Thursday 13 June we held our third HR Network event of the year with an insightful presentation from Bukola Garry, Diversity & Inclusion Manager at Havas UK and Suzy Black, Group HR Director at The Guardian Media Group

The event was organised in collaboration with KX Recruit and was kindly hosted by the Impact Hub, one of the world’s largest coworking networks focused on building entrepreneurial communities for impact at scale. The Impact Hub in KX is home to innovators, dreamers and entrepreneurs and we were proud to have inspired some of them with our event.

The energetic Bukola gave us a general overview of Diversity and Inclusion, how Havas approach this as well as sharing some best practices and practical examples of iconic situations she found herself dealing with.

Bukola started her impactful presentation by stressing that, according to the British Academy of Management, the potential benefit to the UK economy from full representation of BAME individuals is estimated to be £24 billion a year, which represents 1.3% of GDP.  

She continued by saying that, when with relations to D&I, it is definitely important to talk about equality, but actually, what we really need to talk about is equity. Only by giving people what they need, can we ensure everyone will have the same chances in life. 

Privilege exists, and that’s undeniable, it is a built-in advantage, separate from the level of income or effort. In fact, not everyone can learn about their race in school, or grow up with toys and books that represent their race or receive the same education about their religion. Only by giving the same possibilities to everyone (that doesn’t necessarily mean the same tools) will they also have the same possibilities.

Bukola said that in order to start their D&I journey, companies, and individuals, should ask themselves some simple questions, such as, “What does D&I mean to you?” “Who is responsible and who is accountable in your company?” “What does success look like?”

Once these questions have been properly answered, best practice includes setting some guidelines/policies like language tools (agree on the approach to manage conversations and face internal conflicts). A company should always be transparent about what stage it is at and where it can do more. In addition, partnerships and collaborations with community groups, charities who are already focusing on D&I are great, Diversity and Inclusion should be collaborative and not competitive, so the more people involved the more positive change will happen.

Finally, Bukola concludes her talk stating that D&I is about and for the people, and it needs an ‘all in’ approach, so always remember to:

  1.   Listen, really listen
  2.   Continue learning
  3.   Question first impressions and check for your bias
  4.   Think ‘intersectionally,’ that is to say stopping and observing on occasion
  5.   Don’t assume, ask
  6.   Hold each other accountable
  7.   Be mindful of the impact of language and behaviour
  8.   Participate in creating an open company culture
  9.   Consider other perspectives from your own
  10.   You can’t do this alone

Following Bukola’s inspiring talk, the charismatic Suzy took the lead and focused her presentation on The Guardian’s position towards D&I; she started with affirming that they have been and are continuously on a journey. 

In 2018, she said, it was the first time The Guardian asked all their employees to complete a diversity profile. Some important results showed that 16% of The Guardian population is composed of Black, Asian and minority ethnic, and 65% of the current employees are coming from a state-run or State-funded school. 

These, among others, were a good indicator of where The Guardian stands in the D&I journey and helped to set the objectives for the future. 

Suzy told the attendees about The Guardian’s diversity strategy and how it is built around these 10 pillars: Age, Disability, Pregnancy & Parenthood, Religion, Social Background, Race, Gender Reassignment, Marriage & Civil Partnership, Sexual Orientation, Gender.

In order to acclimatize the employees with these pillars and start a discussion, The Guardian printed these posters that have been spread all around the offices.

These have helped to populate a number of internal networks that meet to discuss internal needs and how best to respond to them, the D&I Forum is one of them and Suzy is the chair.

Suzy then focused her talk on The Guardian’s priorities for the next 12 months, Gender and Ethnicity Pay Gap are definitely a focus together with Mental Health, Mentoring, Trans Inclusivity, Dignity at Work and Social Mobility.

Suzy also stressed that partnerships and collaborations with external organisations are vital for making your business more diverse and inclusive.

Suzy concluded her inspiring presentation with her 10 top tips for companies in their D&I journey:

  1.   Be transparent about where your company is and foster open, candid conversations with and amongst your colleagues.
  2.   Prioritise your work – figure out which issues to focus, you need to know the facts first. 
  3.   What does your data, both qualitative and quantitative, tell you? 
  4.   Top-down approach is not enough.
  5.   Create a sense of belonging for everyone/spread responsibilities evenly across your organisation.
  6.   Support and invest time in your internal advocate/employee networks.
  7.   Allocate budget. 
  8.   Look for diversity beyond skin colour and gender.
  9.   Educate yourself about unconscious biases.
  10.   Take a stand against inappropriate behaviour.
  11.   Ensure interview panels are diverse and minority groups are represented.
  12.   Create accountability across the organisation and measure success.
  13.   Work with external partners/bring in expertise/ask for help.

Both speakers were incredibly inspiring and innovative, and the following Q&A was almost as insightful as the actual presentations. Suzy and Bukola gave many practical tips for both big and small companies and shared important personal experiences.

Some of the key learning tips we got from the Q&A are listed below:

  •   Never organise lunchtime meetings during Ramadan
  •   Ensure your canteen/event catering serves a diverse menu – food is the first thing that makes you appear hospitable
  •   Be aware of the world calendar
  •   React and respond as soon as possible to needs – never lose momentum
  •   During constructive conversations, get rid of the ‘why don’t you’s’
  •   When you are approached by an employee, be clear about the separation between you as D&I/HR manager and you as a person
  •   Open up your offices as much as possible – open days for kids and animals are extremely important.

We hope you enjoyed the event as much as we did, if you would like to follow up with some questions to the speakers please get in touch with us.

Don’t miss our next HR Network event on Brexit and Recruitment, stay tuned and sign up to our Newsletter by emailing us to receive the invitation.