…a round-up of who’s doing what & involving whom

With IP Inclusive week coming up, today’s guest blogger Andrea Stallan from Focal Point Training and Consultancy Ltd takes a look at some of the initiatives organisations are implementing to create a more diverse workforce and build a culture where everyone is respected and valued.

Read on for some inspiration!

Encouraging applications from a diverse range of people is a challenge for many organisations. Returner Programmes are one effective way to engage with untapped talent. Often these are short term programmes designed to encourage professional people back into the workplace after they have taken time out for caring commitments, helping to restore confidence and update skills.PwC has a programme called “Back to Business” – a paid 16 week return to work programme to help bring senior professional women back into the workplace after extended career absence and with an opportunity to apply for a permanent role at the end.Macfarlanes have joined forces with MyPlus Students’ Club to attract, recruit and develop talented people who have a disability.Atkins have created a dedicated “flexible working” page on their website to promote how seriously they take this and have also produced a suite of videos on their YouTube channel which have won awards from

Nurturing talent
Attracting talent in is a great first step, but of course the environment then needs to be one where everyone feels supported and included. Mentoring can be a great way of achieving this.

Addleshaw Goddard’s “Flourish” programme involves 200 women, with a long-term goal of increasing gender diversity at senior levels, and works with them through ongoing alumni activities, master classes and networking events.

The City of London Corporation are currently running a talent programme called “Release your Potential” which combines group workshops, one-to-one coaching and working on a “live” internal project to help forge relationships across teams and departments and break barriers down.

Creating an inclusive culture
Creating a culture which genuinely values everyone’s contribution can often be achieved with small but significant changes. Estee Lauder’s GenNEXT initiative encourages its millennial employees, who represent 70% of its workforce, to contribute to the business’s aims, as part of its ethos of “leading from every chair”.

A key part of a diversity strategy is looking at how the organisation serves its client base. A great example of this is Housing Law Services who work with social housing clients and have encouraged team members to work with socially excluded groups. For example, one of the firm’s paralegals has recently completed the British Sign Language Course 1, enabling her to interact with deaf people and providing the firm with invaluable links between clients and witnesses.

Workplace wellness is quite rightly a hot topic at the moment and many organisations are working to understand how they can support their workers by offering more than just a number to call. The most effective programmes cover physical and mental health, lifestyle and social elements.

Schneider Electrics were featured in People Management Magazine recently – amongst other things, they have launched “Wellbeing Labs” encouraging employees at a local level to try new ideas which would support wellbeing. Suggestions from yoga sessions to trying out stand-up desks have all been “experimented” with.

Planning next steps
Diversity and inclusion (D&I) initiatives don’t have to take up lots of time or resource – it is often the smaller “inclusion nudges” which can make a difference.  But if you are a smaller firm, it doesn’t mean you can’t also think big!

If you are not sure where to start with your D&I plan, our Steps to Inclusion review could offer the support you need to identify some focused practical ideas to get the ball rolling.

(Editor’s note: the Steps to Inclusion review has been developed by Focal Point in collaboration with IP Inclusive’s EDI Charter group: see here for more information.)

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