table discussions

Have our DEI activities had a positive impact?

By Sarah Broad 20 July 2021 3 minute read

In common with many organisations, the shocking murder of George Floyd in the US last summer, and the subsequent increase in awareness of the Black Lives Matter movement, galvanised the NPC team to want to refresh and renew our long-term commitment to embedding diversity, equity and inclusion into all aspects of our work.

As Chief Operating Officer at NPC, I am responsible for championing diversity, equity and inclusion throughout our internal operations. In previous years, we focused on our recruitment processes—refreshing our employer brand, exploring new recruitment channels, improving accessibility and working to reduce unconscious bias in our application and selection processes, and providing a warm and engaging onboarding and induction experience. To this day, this remains an important area for continual learning and improvement for us.

This year, however, we have shifted our focus to our existing staff group. We wanted to allow our staff the time and space to explore diversity, equity and inclusion issues; we wanted to refresh our values; and we wanted to be more transparent about the standards we expect of ourselves and others. On this last point, this means: publishing our workforce diversity statistics in our annual report; introducing a new code of conduct for our trustees, staff, associates and other stakeholders; and updating our diversity, equity and inclusion policy and competency framework.

Input from our staff-led Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Group and the wider staff team has been invaluable during our implementation of the above changes. Nonetheless, we accept that our first attempt is unlikely to be perfect and we may well revisit our approaches over the next year or so.

It is encouraging to also see my colleagues making changes to other aspects of our work. For example, we are incorporating diversity, equity and inclusion into our work with charities, philanthropists and funders. In practice, this means making sure that the importance of responding to inequalities, particularly around race, is incorporated into our philanthropy start-up workshops.

One year on

So, what impact have these changes had? Right now, this is a question I can’t answer. To address this, our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Group are working on an anonymous staff survey to establish a baseline of where we stand as an organisation on diversity, equity and inclusion, and from there we can better track our progress over time.

On diversity, the first step here was to review the equal opportunity data we collect during our recruitment of new staff, which is based on government guidance. However, we recognise that the Equality Act has its limitations. For example, it does not consider socio-economic or cognitive diversity. So, we will supplement these questions in our staff survey, based on a review of the DEI Data Standard, developed by the DEI Data Group in conjunction with 360Giving and The Social Investment Consultancy.

Just as importantly, we recognise that equity and inclusion are more about feelings than statistics, which is why we plan to include qualitative questions in this survey. These questions are to be based on invaluable insights provided by participants in NPC’s Walking the Talk series of podcasts and essays, as well as by NPC’s own Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Group.

Here at NPC, we fervently believe in evidence-based decisions. We’re excited to learn from our staff feedback, whether it be good, bad or indifferent. We’re confident that it will provide us with invaluable insights, enabling us to keep learning and to direct our future efforts.