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Seven steps for building an inclusive company culture

It’s well known that a diverse workforce is a successful workforce, with diverse management teams proven to be more innovative. But the ‘I’ – inclusion –  in DE&I is often forgotten and is equally important. Having an inclusive working environment is at the core of attracting a diverse talent pool,  retaining that talent, and ultimately supporting diverse candidates into leadership roles.

We believe fostering an inclusive culture at Adzuna is one of the most important steps we can take to create success. But we also recognise that we – and the whole Tech sector – have a lot of work to do and we’re committed to improving.

With that in mind, here are the seven steps we’re taking to build an inclusive company culture.

Have you got other ideas of what else we could be doing? We’d love to hear more about other company’s journeys – get in touch with us!

 

1. Establishing a Diversity & Inclusion panel

To improve inclusivity within the workforce, first you must make it a priority. At Adzuna, that meant setting up a company-wide Diversity, Equity & Inclusion panel with responsibility for driving DE&I initiatives forward and creating more visibility within the business. Our panel draws experience from different business areas, genders, nationalities, ethnicities and educational backgrounds to reflect a diverse range of opinions. Our co-founder and CEO Doug acts as our project sponsor, helping us prioritise and push through the initiatives we are working on. We have quarterly goals and we report progress back to the business regularly, ensuring we are held accountable.

 

2. Welcoming diverse voices

Hearing from diverse voices is critical in order to share varied perspectives and encourage an inclusive working environment where everybody feels safe to voice their opinion. However, the diversity (or lack thereof) of an existing workforce can limit the range of perspectives available – or put too much pressure on individuals from minority groups. Welcoming diverse voices externally, as well as internally, is one way to address this. We’ve recently had talks with tech founders, NGO workers, as well as speaking to one of the few women to own a football club. We’re also actively looking to engage with community groups to increase our knowledge and broaden our talent pipeline.

 

3. Rebranding our company calendar

One of the first moves made by our DE&I panel was to evaluate our social and events calendar to improve inclusivity. This meant inviting our colleagues to join in with celebrating and learning about  a range of religious and cultural events. Alongside regular emails giving educational context to events like Diwali or Black History Month, our social committee have been running a varied programme of events with highlights ranging from Polish Fortune Telling, to Pancake making for Shrove’s Tuesday, to an Australia Day quiz. We’ve also rebranded our annual Christmas celebrations to ‘Winter Week’ incorporating wider sessions such as exploring festive traditions around the world – reflecting our growing global footprint and the diversity of religious backgrounds at the company.

 

 

4. Being intentional with how we communicate

This is about being deliberate about inclusivity within meetings. That includes considering time zones when booking in company meetings – and social events – to make sure our colleagues in America, Europe and Australia can join in. When it’s not possible to pick a time to suit everyone, we consider moving around a meeting time to suit different sets of people. This ensures no one group of people are consistently missing out. 

Another top tip is to distribute meeting materials ahead of time and encourage any advance questions. This can help drive contributions from more introverted staff as well as making everybody feel more involved.

 

5. Measuring progress

Measuring DE&I can be tricky, but with care and consideration it is possible – and it is well worth creating metrics to track progress. At Adzuna, this meant creating our own DE&I scorecard, with targets to increase the diversity of our workforce anchored in our hiring efforts. We are also tracking inclusivity. One way we do this is to regularly ‘temperature check’ how employees are feeling through anonymous surveys. The key lesson here is to listen and to learn from our employees.

 

6. Being transparent about our culture

We welcome employees from all backgrounds and that is reflected in our perks and benefits – including generous paid maternity and paternity leave. We’ve also reviewed our recruitment to ensure our hiring processes are inclusive and unbiased, including efforts such as reviewing our job ads for bias, using standardised interview questions, and introducing unconscious bias training.

Given the pandemic, most of us are working from home at the moment, but a large proportion of our workforce has been remote since we were founded ten years ago. Flexible working is in our DNA.

Having said that, the pandemic has taught those of us normally office-based the challenges of working from home. Especially those Adzunians who have had to juggle childcare with work over recent months! If there is anything we can take away from the last year, it is to be more aware of our colleagues’ lives and responsibilities and more understanding of the need to be flexible.

 

7. Encouraging allyship among colleagues

Finally, to create an inclusive culture, we are encouraging allyship among colleagues. This could be in the form of creating mentoring opportunities to help foster talent and develop the next generation of leaders. But we are also encouraging cross-functional working, to help different business areas connect, share their experiences, and share growth opportunities. Ultimately, creating an inclusive workplace is the responsibility of every Adzunian, from every background, on every continent.

 

Useful resources for further reading:

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Still Matter in a Pandemic, BCG, December 2020

Inclusion at work: perspectives on LGBT+ working lives, CIPD, February 2021

Diversity wins: How inclusion matters, McKinsey & Company, May 2020

5 Strategies for Creating an Inclusive Workplace, Harvard Business Review, January 2020