Diversity & Inclusion

Diversity is the art of ‘thinking independently together’.  Inclusion involves more than a physical presence; it requires a mindset change and a culture that embraces difference. Here at OE Cam we recognise that Diversity & Inclusion in the workplace embraces diversity in all its forms; it goes beyond gender, age or ethnicity and includes difference in personality, experience and thinking styles.

Effective organisations build a shared sense of purpose and are able to connect the vision with individual behaviours to make it a reality. Diverse perspectives are important in developing a stronger customer proposition and delivering better business outcomes.  However, humans are hard-wired to seek out people who are similar to themselves; not simply in terms of characteristics, but also in terms of identity, status, attitudes and beliefs.  Furthermore, we make assumptions about people and situations based on our expectations and past experience.

This underlying ‘unconscious bias’ means that truly embracing diversity is a challenge for most people.

Our Approach to Diversity & Inclusion

OE Cam’s approach to Diversity & Inclusion focuses on creating the right culture and environment that enables people from different backgrounds and with different characteristics to flourish and to succeed.  This will enable them to be their best selves and to work together to build richer and more diverse ideas.  This approach builds on the potential of people and the diversity of their thinking and approach.  Decision-making is enhanced by viewing things through a  different lens and seeing challenges from multiple perspectives.

We typically start by working with you to understand what diversity looks like for your particular business and how bias is potentially influencing decision-making at critical points across the organisation.  We then apply that understanding across the talent framework; helping you to review diversity best practice in employee attraction, recruitment, promotion and retention.  We enable you to challenge underlying assumptions and to build a culture and mindset that increases collaboration and contribution.

As Business Psychologists, our approach is underpinned by our knowledge of the subtleties of human behaviour and how to change ways of working.  In our experience, you cannot remove all bias, but you can increase self-awareness and equip individuals with the tools and techniques for better and more informed decision-making.  By building trust and increasing productive working we can support your business to make the most of diversity.  We do this through highly interactive workshops and mentoring programmes that provide a safe place for discussion and debate; focusing on decision-making techniques rather than simply attempting to ‘train out’ bias. We focus on attitudes and behaviours and practical solutions that work for your organisation.

Our research and experience strongly suggests that successful Diversity and Inclusion interventions incorporate work with top teams, therefore a core part to any of our programmes programme is securing stakeholder buy-in, engagement and sponsorship.  The latest psychological research shows a common thread between building empathy and authenticity in leadership behaviours and increasing openness to diversity. Our highly interactive and energising workshops on diversity engagement are based upon these principles – illustrating the dangers of groupthink and builds an understanding of differences in thinking styles.  Through coaching, individuals learn how to bring their ‘whole self’ to work and play to their strengths. Members of the top leadership team can begin to see the benefits of how diverse perspectives come together first-hand to create more holistic, more innovative solutions.  These team workshops are broader than diversity, in that they energise the key stakeholders to collaborate, focus on the common purpose and the mutual benefits.  They therefore bring a wider organisational benefit.

What’s Involved?

Every OE Cam project is bespoke, however our diversity & inclusion projects typically include the following aspects:

  1. Diagnostics – what does diversity mean for your organisation? What’s working well?  What could be improved?
  2. Analysis of key themes – barriers & challenges, what’s next? Identification of core sponsors
  3. Diversity Engagement Workshop with MDs – linking talent strategy with diversity
  4. Agreement of pilot initiatives – small scale but high profile
  5. Unconscious Bias, coaching, interviewing & communication development workshops
  6. Review of the Talent Framework through the diversity best practice lens – policies and practices for attraction, recruitment, promotion and retention. For example, a review of how competencies are defined and assessed
  7. Recommendations and agree actions
  8. Roll out of specific initiatives & embedding ways of working across the workplace. For example, initiatives to support women to build social capital, coaching mentoring programmes or flexible working practices.

What are the benefits of a holistic Diversity & Inclusion programme?

The core benefits are:

  • An integrated approach; links policy, process and best practice
  • Increased buy-in from key stakeholders
  • Best practice and benchmarking in promotion decisions
  • Enhanced diverse talent at senior levels within the business
  • Enhanced external communications and profile; better attraction for the future.

Why OE Cam?

OE Cam provides practical advice and support based on the facts and evidence.  We appreciate the complexities in implementing diversity and inclusion and that a ‘one size fits all’ approach does not work.  Change and transformation happens at a different pace depending on organisational needs.  We encourage agile thinking and build robust solutions that will go beyond the surface level.  We combine the latest research and evidence with an in-depth understanding of people, teams and how organisations work in practice, to support you to get the best solutions for your needs.

To learn more about our Diversity & Inclusion services, please contact Hazel McLaughlin at hazel.mclaughlin@oecam.com or phone our Cambridge office on +44 (0)1223 269009.
We welcome all enquiries.