Diversity Briefing

November 2021

Inclusive Culture Training with Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service

EW Group is delighted to be working with Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) to design and deliver a series of bespoke inclusive cultures training courses to create a positive and inclusive environment for all staff.

The interactive sessions will build on the work that SFRS have done and are doing towards D&I, incorporating new EW research findings into internal values and behaviours, and qualitative data collected from consultations with the SFRS Service Leadership Team, representative bodies, the SFRS EDI working group and the SFRS staff engagement group.

Our expert trainer, Pamela Jones, has been working closely with these different groups to scope and design the workshops, ensuring the key priority areas and themes are captured within the syllabus.

Following this collaborative design approach, Pamela will facilitate a series of workshops taking place across Suffolk County in early 2022. The workshops will see over 200 full-time staff and on-call personnel given training to develop a greater understanding of the values, behaviours and culture throughout SFRS.

Having worked with SFRS for over four years, EW will utilise its existing knowledge of SFRS and its in-depth expertise in diversity and inclusion to deliver an engaging and effective programme of workshops.

Cara Low
November 2021

Suffolk Fire Workshop Delegates

Reverse Mentoring and Race Equality: An Audience with Babita Sharma

To celebrate Black History Month, this week EW Group was delighted to host a round-table discussion on reverse mentoring and race equality with Babita Sharma, BBC presenter and author, Mark Lomas, the Head of EDI at High Speed 2 (H2S), and EW’s Sharla Smith.

With a number of attendees joining in person at EW’s London office, and over 100 joining online, the session discussed how much leaders themselves can stand to gain from mentoring, coaching and sponsoring Black, Asian and minority ethnicity staff.

Sharing some of their personal experiences in their careers, our expert speakers also considered the impact positive action programmes, such as the BBC’s RISE programme which both Babita and Mark worked with EW Group to implement, can have. These programmes can move the dial on race equality when they actively engage leaders from across the organisation.

Find out more about inclusive leadership here.

Cara Low
October 2021

Association of Charitable Foundations

We always appreciate feedback from our clients and were delighted to hear from Carol Mack from the Association of Charitable Foundations (ACF). ACF is the membership body for UK foundations and grant-making charities.

“Working with EW has been invaluable in helping me as CEO to establish a brand-new leadership team, and in supporting us all to lead our organisation through substantial change. Quite simply, I don’t think we would have made the progress that we did without this tailored support – having an informed ‘outsider’ has just been so helpful in navigating the many issues that crop up as you find new ways of working together.”

Carol Mack, OBE, Chief Executive, ACF
October 2021

Rethinking privilege, Unlocking allyship & Disability awareness

EW Group is delighted to be partnering with Exasol to facilitate a series of 60-minute virtual speaker sessions for their staff. EW Consultant and award-winning speaker Winston Ben Clements is joining colleagues in the UK, US, and Germany to present three separate sessions: Rethinking privilege and racism in the workplace, Reversing the diversity bias – Unlocking allyship through the power of social capital, and Disability awareness: Who are you excluding?

Catherine Manser
September 2021

Diversity shining through at the Met Gala, New York

As an ardent follower of fashion, it was fantastic to see the LGBT+ community represented with such style at this year’s Meta Gala. The theme of this annual fundraising event for the Metropolitan Museum of Fine Art’s Costume Institute was American Independence. Rescheduled from last May, the gala raised an incredible $16.75 million for the institute.

Transgender YouTube star Nikkie de Jager, more often known as NikkieTutorials, impressed, paying homage to activist Marsha P. Johnson. Johnson was an African American gay man and drag artist at the forefront of the Stonewall Riots. A sash in the train of Nikkie’s dress had Johnson’s famous phrase ‘pay it no mind’ woven into it.

And Canadian actor Dan Levy made his Met Gala debut with a powerful ensemble that celebrated gay love. The artist who inspired the outfit was David Wojnarowicz, an AIDS activist who was heavily influenced by his own personal battle with the disease, which he sadly lost in 1992. Levy wanted to “celebrate the resilience, the love, and the joy of the community while honouring a crucial American voice that was taken from us too soon”.

Sporting a black tuxedo and calf-length white lace shirt, Formula One driver Sir Lewis Hamilton added further glamour to this star-studded event. Shining a light on Black talent, he hosted a table for emerging young Black designers and innovators. It’s very difficult for young designers to get involved as the cost of a ticket is eye-watering, but this generous move by Lewis gave them crucial exposure within the fashion industry.

Grace Randall
September 2021

Team GB more diverse than ever

As this year’s thrilling Olympics Games comes to an end, the world of sport has once again been at the forefront of diversity and inclusion. With more women than men representing Team GB for the first time in its 125-year history, and a record-breaking number of openly LGBT Olympians competing, there is much to celebrate.

Individual stories like that of swimmer Yusra Mardini, who described how swimming saved her life as a Syrian refugee, are incredibly moving. Meanwhile the honesty and candour of gymnast Simone Biles, who withdrew from all but one event due to her mental health, has once again brought wellbeing out into the open.

The Games also emphasises why challenging unfair practices is essential for advancing inclusion. Norway’s beach handball team faced fines for wearing “improper clothing”, after playing in shorts rather than bikini bottoms. Germany’s women’s gymnastics team wore body-length length clothing to similarly highlight the sexualisation of female athletes. More is to be done until everyone feels comfortable and celebrated for their talents, and we look forward to supporting more workplaces in achieving this.

Mitch Price
August 2021

Using diversity data to harness innovation

Collecting diversity data is critical for understanding employee demographics and the diversity challenges an organisation might face. So we were delighted when world-leading Lloyd’s Register asked us to conduct a diversity audit of their policies and processes to explore inclusion on a global scale. The brief was to understand what works well and what can be achieved. EW Group has worked with Lloyd’s Register since 2019, and during our partnership, we have supported the progression of their inclusive culture and the evolution of their diversity strategy. We are therefore thrilled to be able to showcase the outcome and successes of this recent project.
July 2021

Quote of Rebecca Berry, Director of Culture, Diversity and Inclusion at Lloyd's Register:

The power of realising change through media

Earlier this month, nominations at the BAFTA TV and Film Awards represented some of the very best media of the past year, exploring topics from the Windrush Scandal and racism, to women’s reproductive rights, LGBT oppression and sexual assault.

We were delighted to see Michaela Coel’s triumphant and well-deserved credit for her BBC hit series, I May Destroy You. The creator and star of the series took home four Baftas including Best Actress. It is certainly something that belongs on all our screens, helping to continue the discussions and understanding around racism, sexual consent and assault. It was also wonderful to see nine nominations for Steve McQueen’s Small Axe series. For more must-see films, TV shows and books about racism, see our compilation of Best Anti-Racism Resources.
June 2021

Ending the stigma: Mental Health Awareness Week 2021

We were pleased to celebrate Mental Health Awareness Week this year (10-16 May). Truly inclusive work cultures comprise mental health and workplace wellbeing at their core. They are built by organisations that recognise the importance of educating their leaders and managers about mental health awareness and have policies in place to best support their teams’ mental health. They might also encourage their teams to talk, learn and read about mental health and wellbeing as well as host wellbeing workshops so that they feel empowered to disclose mental health challenges to receive appropriate support.

Mental health challenges are often indiscriminate in who they impact. But people who are more likely to face discrimination have greater chances of experiencing mental ill health. If you are LGBTQ+, you are significantly more likely to report having self-harmed and had suicidal thoughts. If you are a black woman, you are more likely to experience a common mental health problem, like anxiety or depression. And if you are a young person with a learning disability, you are up to four times more likely than your peers to have a diagnosed mental health condition.

Each year, Mental Health Awareness Week highlights how disadvantage, bias and discrimination interacts with mental health. We continued the conversation on our social media platforms and with our team. We were blown away by the range of organisations who shared their thoughts and experiences on this important workplace topic and renewed their commitment to mental health awareness.

Rachael Wilson, EW Group Managing Director
May 2021

Image of two hands holding, surrounded by speech bubbles. With text 'Mental Health Awareness Week 10-16 May 2021'

#Take A Stand against online abuse and discrimination

Racism, sexism, homophobia and any other form of prejudice and discrimination have no place in our workplaces, societies, sport pitches, and online platforms.

We are proud to have supported Kick It Out, The FA, Premier League, EFL, FA Women’s Super League, FA Women’s Championship, PFA, LMA, PGMOL and the FSA, who united to boycott social media platforms to demand that online hate and discrimination is eradicated. Between 3PM on Friday 30 April and 11:59PM on Monday 3 May, we joined the football community in logging off from our social media accounts to highlight the urgency for social media companies to act in eliminating online abuse on their platforms.
May 2021

Building an extraordinary experience at Europe’s leader in designer outlet shopping

We are delighted to have partnered with McArthurGlen Group, the leading designer shopping outlet with 26 locations in 10 countries, to design and deliver an Equality, Diversity and Inclusion education programme for senior leaders across Europe. The programme aimed to raise awareness of the key principles of an inclusive McArthurGlen, ensure everyone felt empowered to challenge inappropriate behaviours, and assist leaders in building a personal action plan for promoting change across the business.

Jane Leadbetter, Head of Learning and Development at McArthurGlen, said “We are delighted to be partnering with the EW Group to support us in building a culture where our opinions and contributions are listened to and respected, where everyone can be themselves, so together we thrive…[EW Group] are currently supporting us to deliver awareness training for our leaders and colleagues. We are benefitting from their expertise and insight.”
April 2021

Writing pregnancy loss into your policies – Channel 4

Leading broadcaster and television network, Channel 4, has announced a new and pioneering policy around pregnancy loss. It is believed to be a world first and the organisation’s new policy means that all employees who have experienced loss – including miscarriage, abortion and stillborn – have access to paid leave, mental health support and buddy schemes, and flexible working options. The broadcaster encourages other organisations to follow their step – see their Pregnancy Loss Policy in full.
April 2021

Championing change and remembering Stephen Lawrence

Workplaces, schools and people across the UK marked Stephen Lawrence Day (22 April), remembering Stephen Lawrence who was murdered in a racist attack in 1993. The day is an opportunity every year to celebrate those who have tirelessly fought and continue to fight for equality and justice and to recognise everyone who has been a victim to individual and systemic levels of racism.

It is also an opportunity to continue our commitment to being actively anti-racist and making our cultures and systems fairer for all. Read how to stop racism at work, listen about embedding anti-racism and inclusion in your organisation, and check out our books, films, TV and podcast recommendations of anti-racism resources.
April 2021

The power of hearing about leaders’ experiences of inclusion and exclusion

This month we have heard from leaders about their experiences of identity and inclusion. On Yom Hashoah, the Jewish remembrance day for the Holocaust, leaders pledged to fight anti-Semitism in the workplace and in society. We also listened as actor Thandiwe Newton announced that she is reclaiming the original Shona spelling of her name, shining a light on identity and belongingness in our places of work.
April 2021

Bank of England recognises LGBT pioneer

We are delighted to see that, following February’s LGBT History Month, the new Bank of England £50 banknote design will feature mathematician and codebreaker, Alan Turing. This is a huge acknowledgement to the contributions made by Turing and other LGBT people throughout our history. The announcement follows the passing of the Turing Law which in 2017 pardoned men who were cautioned or convicted for homosexual acts under historical legislation thought to have affected more than 50,000 men. Turing himself was convicted and placed on a chemical and hormonal programme, prior to his suicide in 1954. He is remembered for his work developing a coding machine which successfully deciphered German Army communications, seen as pivotal in shortening World War Two and saving lives.
March 2021

International Women’s Day – 8 March

#Choose to challenge is the theme of this year’s International Women’s Day. It’s an important time to celebrate the impressive achievements of women across the world in social, economic, cultural and political affairs. But it is also an opportunity to raise awareness of continuing gender inequalities and the need to lobby for gender parity. #Choose to challenge means calling out gender bias and inequality everywhere, both individually and collectively.

This year we have been working with our clients to provide drop-in ‘lunch and learn’ sessions on women in business; we’ve helped a global organisation to set up an international women’s network, which is launched today to mark IWD; and Lisa Jobson has examined how workplaces can best support working mothers and provide flexible working beyond the pandemic. Today’s Guardian article on the experience of the pandemic for women is a sobering reminder of its unequal effect on gender, with fears in the UK of a return to the inequalities of the 1970s.
March 2021

Royal Bank of Scotland

EW Group co-founder and CEO, Jane Farrell, explains why inclusivity must remain a top focus for businesses in the coming months and years, post-Brexit and as we recover from Covid-19. Read what Jane and other leading diversity specialists have to say in this Royal Bank of Scotland article.
February 2021

Federation of Holistic Therapists

Following on from an Equality and Diversity survey last year, the Federation of Holistic Therapists decided action was needed to improve inclusivity across their industry. They pledged to offer their members unconscious bias training to help identify the biases that exist within all of us, understand how unconscious bias might play out in practice and set out a clear plan on how to develop more inclusive behaviours. We are delighted to hear that feedback from our initial online workshops has been overwhelmingly positive. Due to the popularity of the webinars, an additional session has been scheduled.
January 2021

Unconscious bias training scrapped by ministers

The debate about the value of unconscious bias training has been reignited with the news that it would be scrapped across government departments because ‘it does not work.’ This is not a new criticism: it is a real challenge to change individual behaviours and notoriously hard to measure that change. The article goes on to state that, “training had too often been used by employers as a “catch-all”, which failed to really tackle the specific barriers for different groups.”

Unconscious bias training is not a silver bullet and certainly needs to be part of a programme of work, which takes a root and branch approach to understanding the inequalities of any given workplace.  A series of insights must be gained before any of our tailored courses are rolled out, taking into account things such as recruitment and progression data, the lived experience of staff, and the leadership team’s analysis of how advantage and disadvantage play out at work.

Unconscious bias training is fascinating. It’s about our human impulses and our socialisation. It’s about the ways in which our unconscious minds sometimes work against our conscious values. Done well, unconscious bias training leads to positive and constructive conversations about the barriers that exist for different people at work. And most importantly, how we can remove them. And it’s these structural and systemic changes – in addition to adaptations in behaviours – that will mean organisations make great strides in eliminating discrimination and disadvantage.
December 2020

Working with Mercedes FI Team

EW Group is incredibly proud to be working with the Mercedes F1 Team on Accelerate 25, a five-year programme that marks the formalisation of their vision to become a more diverse and inclusive team. As the Team’s external specialist, we have completed an in-depth analysis of Mercedes F1’s recruitment and development processes. Our custom-designed programme has trained all managers in Inclusive Excellence and we will be rolling this out to all staff by June 2021.
December 2020

Diversity and Mercedes

Racism and Allyship

Set against the backdrop of 2020’s major world events (Covid and Black Lives Matter), many of us have looked within ourselves to find a way in which we can make a difference. Companies have needed to address systemic issues that have been exposed such as the disproportionate impact of Covid on Black and Asian staff, and women with caring responsibilities and the best have taken swift and sensitive action. Individuals have also wanted to take action such as contributing more to local communities. With a powerful focus on anti-racism and structural inequalities, there are also two major concepts that have emerged which we can take individual responsibility for also: privilege and allyship.

These two concepts go hand-in-hand. You can’t be a meaningful ally without first understanding your own privilege and we think John Amaechi’s analysis is spot on. We don’t have to feel guilty for having privilege, we just need to use it to good effect in tackling discrimination that others are facing. An ally is just that: someone proactively using their privileged position to help level the playing field for others. For helpful definitions of allyship, the NHS has some great resources and these 10 steps from Dr Muna Abdi are great to keep in mind.

As Dr Muna Abdi says, in order to ‘show up and stand up’ as an ally, you do need to be informed. This recent podcast interview by Louis Theroux with actress and screenwriter Michaela Coel has a wealth of insight into being a Black Britain today.

Bear in mind that being an ally is about more than understanding and empathy. It’s about taking action and often that will mean raising uncomfortable truths. If you’re a member of a dominant group in your workplace (once you’ve checked your privilege you’ll know if that’s you) then take pride in standing up for people in different racial groups, champion them, perhaps mentor them and certainly be proactive in challenging anyone who does not treat them equally.

And remember that as an ally, your actions don’t have to be limited to grand ones. Our blog on racial microaggressions will be a useful tool to help you think about making small changes to your own behaviour. And if you’re a leader then all of the above applies, plus it’s time to start proactively developing inclusive leadership traits. Because if not now, when?
December 2020

Get in touch for help and advice on any aspect of inclusive leadership, diversity audits and training.