Archives for category: Diversity Data Audit

We have thought long and hard about the challenges involved in creating a diverse and inclusive workplace. It is not an easy ‘fix’ – if it was, businesses would have succeeded by now.

These are what we see as the key challenges:

We are operating from a place of unconscious incompetence
We literally don’t know that there is another way. What we see happening around us is what we know, and it is difficult to grasp an alternative way of doing things, let alone the benefits that might bring. Despite strong research (research done by McKinsey), the business case remains largely intuitive and conceptual.

The human brain wants to fit in
The human brain is wired for survival – meaning that it likes certainty and to feel like it fits in. Growing up, we learn that compliance makes us safe and that belonging feels good. The shift to a diverse and inclusive workplace is going to require vulnerability, swimming against the tide and a comfort in being around people that are ‘not like us’. The other side of this coin is that those who don’t feel like they ‘fit in’ experience imposter syndrome and operate from a place of ‘not enough’ – meaning they often play small. We can help people recognise and move beyond their imposter syndrome, at the same time creating cultures which are less likely to give rise to this phenomenon.

Unconscious bias
The human brain is also wired to categorise and to stereotype. It is a universal human trait that helps us to make sense of the world. Unfortunately, that skill comes with a less useful by-product – that of unconscious bias. We, unconsciously, hold stereotypes about groups of people that may make it harder for those groups to succeed in the workplace. We may also internalise stereotypes about the groups to which we ourselves belong.

Fear of conflict
Most people have an aversion to conflict and certainly would prefer to be surrounded by people who agree, rather than disagree, with them.  Getting a more diverse range of opinions in the room is going to mean greater disagreement. Period. We need to show people that conflict doesn’t need to be feared, that it can be a place of personal growth and give them the tools and skills to have difficult, challenging conversations.

The ability and knowledge of how to build diverse and inclusive teams
We like to be right, and the current leadership model, whilst shifting, is still in the ‘all knowing leader’ paradigm. Often, we don’t have the resilience to align rather than agree and we are not aware of our greater role in the system. Asking for help is seen as a weakness, whereas it could in fact mean listening to other people’s valid, different and possibly more useful opinions. Diverse teams need a skilled leader to harness them otherwise homogeneity is probably preferable. Such leaders let go of ‘coerce and control’, understand our interconnectedness and know how to align teams on a common purpose. It is a volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous world and team leaders need support in being able to deal with that, when they have been taught to look for certainty.

We are too busy
This is a two-fold challenge. Often teams feel like the D&I agenda is going to be resource intensive within teams that are already stretched to breaking point, (we would argue that it requires shifting your ‘being’ rather than a series of time intensive initiatives and that operating from the current place is more time ineffective). Alongside this, when we are operating at full pelt, we neglect to access our intuition and we ignore our emotional needs. We need to listen to both to move forwards – as individuals and as teams. When systems ignore their pain, it is stressful and this makes us less socially intelligent, empathic and creative. We are functioning from our limbic brain, we waste human capital and stress shuts down our neural pathways.

We value certain ways of thinking
Culturally, we value the left brain over the right brain. We value reason, judgement, cause and effect… and yet what could be possible if we valued feelings, relationships, intuition and creativity? Some experience shame at being ‘differently brained’, again dampening their productivity.

We have developed a suite of products to support businesses in creating a more diverse and inclusive workplace. 
DOWNLOAD OUR D&I TOOLKIT
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THC’s view on The Great British Diversity Experiment

Emily Philp, Head of Marketing and Operations, The Hobbs Consultancy

 

the great british diversity experiment

 

I attended The Great British Diversity Experiment Report Launch on Wednesday 25th May at BBH London with over 250 fellow advertising folk. As you walked into the room, you could feel the nervous energy bubbling below the surface, what findings were in store for us… For those who don’t know what The Great British Diversity Experiment is, it’s the first diversity initiative conceived for, designed and launched by the communications industry. Over 20 teams of truly diverse individuals took part in an experiment, answering a brief from Tesco to attempt to solve problems of food wastage. The winning team received an all-expenses-paid trip to SXSW Interactive in Austin, Texas, and a weeklong placement at BBH London. Meanwhile the findings of the diversity experiment were collated into a report, which were presented on the evening of the report launch along with talks from industry leaders on the very specific and practical insights the experiment uncovered and a review by the winning team on their individual poignant experiences, challenges and self discoveries.

One particularly interesting, but not surprising insight for me was that the teams that performed the best in the experiment were those where the individuals could be themselves. Furthermore, it is emphasised in the report that diversity works for the creative industries because working with a diverse group of people allows individuals to show up as their authentic selves, which means you can contribute more creatively and effectively in your job.

As mentioned this isn’t a surprising insight for me as one of the main focuses of our energies and offering at The Hobbs Consultancy is to enable people to show up as their true selves in both personal and professional life.

The Hobbs Consultancy’s mission is to bring a more inclusive culture to the workplace and coaching is a core part of what we believe can deliver that mission. It is through coaching that individuals can work out who their authentic self is, understanding what makes them tick, what holds them back and what enables them to be the very best version of themselves when they enter the workplace.

Of the 5 practical actions that the report sets out for businesses to do now, the one that resonates the most for me, is ‘retrain your leaders’. It’s vital that leaders of organisations take action. Without the buy-in and demonstration that company bosses will put their money where their mouth is, without inclusive leadership, we wont have the power to transform the industry, making it one that thrives with creativity, connection and innovation, that attracts and retains the best talent and ultimately delivers game changing work for clients. Here at The Hobbs Consultancy, we offer executive coaching and Leadership Programmes, which focus on leaders doing their own internal work, recognising and then accepting responsibility for our circumstances and taking action to create a more inclusive culture.

The GBDE report also calls out that there is a huge need for more diversity training in the industry – in order to change the creative process and leadership styles. We agree and believe passionately that Diversity and Inclusivity training is key to helping companies create a more creative and innovative working environment, which is why one of our main product offerings is a Diversity 3.0 workshop which gets participants behind the business case for D&I, looks at what their unconscious biases might be and finally moves into action.

Alongside D&I training and Leadership Programmes, we offer Mentoring training, Conflict Resolution workshops and a D&I audit – this product offering has been designed to help businesses provide a more diverse and inclusive workplace.

My biggest take out of the report launch was that there is hope; to quote the founders “if every leader across the communications industry implemented the recommendations of the report, we would build a better communications industry” – I believe collectively, we are on the way to making this happen.

To read the full findings of the Great British Diversity Experiment, click here.

For more information on The Hobbs Consultancy’s products and services, email Emily@thehobbsconsultancy.com

Vantage Points (1)

The IPA have recently announced that they will publish a comprehensive agency employee league table listing measures such as gender and diversity versus department and seniority. ‘This table will be part of positioning the industry as enlightened and progressive in order to attract and retain the best talent.’ This comes at a time when clients are also demanding information on diversity as part of the RFP on a pitch brief.

The Hobbs Consultancy welcomes this move on a number of levels.  It positions diversity as a key metric for business success – via the attraction and retention of the best talent. And clearly what gets measured tends to get done – without data we simply don’t know the extent of our business challenges and whether we’re moving in the right direction.

Many diversity initiatives focus on the push factors – identifying what barriers can be removed or what additional support can be provided to individuals to encourage and enable their success.  Examples of this kind of diversity intervention would be mentoring and coaching.

What the IPA are doing is creating a PULL factor.  This is something that is going to create traction and energy at the very top of organisations – creating a stimulus for change. Understanding the business case for diversity is a pull factor and recent research by EY found that ‘companies that say they are good at ensuring that teams are comprised of individuals from diverse backgrounds and experiences tend to have higher EBITDA* growth rates’. (*EBITDA : Earnings before interest, taxes and depreciation)

And the publication of positive statistics in itself brings clear business benefits. When Daren Rubins (CEO of PHD) recently said, ‘We’re 40 per cent female on our board and at Exec level there are four of us and two of those are women.  So a 50/50 split exec team..’, women all over the industry sat up and listened.  When we shared his comments on our facebook page, one industry female commented, ‘Great article Daren Rubins, when can I come and work for you again?!’

Clients may well also be sitting up and paying attention to any published statistics – in addition to the emotional appeal of the ethical case, it may be that agencies who get this right are going to be better at understanding clients target audiences.

The Hobbs Consultancy offers a data audit to support companies in the lead up to the publication of the IPA league table, helping you to understand where you are now in terms of diversity.


The Hobbs Consultancy Diversity Data Audit

What is it:- A deep dive in to your company’s data to build a picture of your key diversity metrics, key areas to focus on and position vs industry norms.  The audit will also include a confidential, short all staff survey to measure the correlation between diversity and inclusivity in your organisation.  The audit will provide a detailed report pulling out the key statistics, stories, hypotheses and recommendations that can be shared at a senior level. A powerpoint version will also be supplied that can be shared more widely within the company, suggested to be used to on board key stakeholders or as part of wider training.

Key outputs:-

  1. A summary of your company’s performance vs a number of key, pre agreed, diversity metrics
  2. An understanding of where you don’t have meaningful data and recommendations as to how you can start measurement
  3. A summary of how you perform versus industry norms and benchmarks, other sector benchmarks and UK population
  4. An understanding of the correlation between diversity and inclusivity, i.e. how engaged and included people feel in your organisation sorted by gender and ethnic background.
  5. An understanding of the story behind the numbers (for example – is a low number of senior women driven by female leavers, or females stalling in their careers?).
  6. Recommendations for next steps.

Cost: from £2500 + VAT

This includes three key milestones – a briefing meeting, a data request session and a findings meeting.  The length of the project will depend on how readily accessible your data is, but it can typically be completed in 4-6 weeks.


Testimonial

“Roxanne completed an audit of our data so that we could see how we performed on various diversity measures versus both industry norms and the wider population.  This enabled us to identify where we wanted to focus our efforts and also showed us where meaningful data was currently not available.  Most importantly it has given us a benchmark so that we can now track progress over time”. Tracy de Groose, CEO Dentsu Aegis

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