Moving the dial on diversity: how to forward inclusion post-COVID
techUK is exploring the world in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic with a series of weekly webinars. Far from pretending to be able to offer solutions to what’s likely to be the most complicated public policy jigsaw in a generation, we believe that bringing bright minds together will breed good ideas for the future.
The diversity & inclusion webinar showed that though the business case for inclusion in the workplace has always been overwhelming, challenging times call for diverse actions. As we face an uncertain world, we need innovative thinking to address the many varied situations business leaders and Governments are facing. The webinar explored exactly why and how we do that.
The panel included:
- Helen Wollaston, Chief Executive, WISE
- Debbie Forster MBE, CEO, Tech Talent Charter
- Dr Tony Sewell CBE, Managing Director, Generating Genius
- Sally Bucknell, Director, Diversity & Inclusiveness UK, EY
- Nimmi Patel, Policy Manager – Skills, Talent & Diversity, techUK (Moderator)
Design a future with D&I in mind
Although it’s understandable that business leaders are reassessing priorities in this landscape, D&I will be one of the critical differentiators in how companies weather the public health crisis and recovery.
Those that have invested in developing inclusive leaders and cultures and building balanced leadership teams across their businesses will fare better than others. Companies will need to be resilient to get through the immediate crisis and its long-term effects and companies with the most inclusive cultures tend to be the most resilient.
We must embed good behaviours that we expect in a physical world during this virtual shift and continue to create a culture of belonging in businesses.
Continuous focus on data – what gets measured gets done
Data is the way in which we cut through our assumptions. While the use of data does not offer answers, it offers questions that we can begin working on.
Measuring and questioning is a great way to identify the problem and look at ways of growing. It’s easy to stop those processes and stop collecting data at times of crisis, but it needs to be kept up to test and deliver ambitions.
Concentrate efforts on inclusive recruitment techniques
D&I and talent development are linked so to get new talent, businesses need to adopt more inclusive hiring practices including open recruitment – making sure recruitment practices are open and fair for all candidates, including those from different backgrounds – helping companies reach the widest possible pool of talent. It also means exploring the design of the advert and the looking at the process—companies need to build partnerships with other channels who can bring diverse talent and candidates to the table and being mindful of the language and biases on job adverts.
We have seen COVID-19 change the recruitment market. The demand for talent has increased within some industries (logistics, healthcare) and decreased in others (retail/hospitality). Tech however remains needing talent and digital skills which is why this topic is so timely as we continue to meet the needs of the digital economy.
Nimmi Patel is the Policy Manager for Skills, Talent and Diversity at techUK.
She works on all things skills policy, focusing on upskilling and retrain. She is committed to embedding diversity in the UK tech pipeline from classroom to boardroom working with partners such as the Tech Talent Charter and the WISE Campaign. Nimmi also leads techUK’s immigration work, collaborating with techUK members and stakeholders to create an environment that attracts the best talent to the UK.
Prior to joining the team, she worked for the UK Labour Party and New Zealand Labour Party and holds a BA in Politics, Philosophy and Economics from the University of Manchester and is currently studying MA Strategic Communications at King’s College London.