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Taking the first steps

Catherine Garrod

This conversation is part of our series, Walking the talk, which explores the diversity of the UK’s charities and foundations, with perspectives from both in and outside the sector. Find the full collection here. 

Changing the culture of a large organisation, be it a charity or a business, is a challenge. It’s a challenge Catherine Garrod is passionate about as Head of Inclusion at Sky, and we’ve asked her to share her top tips and reflections. What works to make an organisation more diverse and more inclusive, what can we in the social sector learn? Here are Catherine’s three lessons:

Diversity and inclusion are everyone’s responsibility

You might think a big organisation like Sky would have large inclusion team, but we don’t. That’s because we believe a sustainable approach is helping every team to understand the changes they can make for their own people both today and in the future. Inclusion is everyone’s responsibility.

I am a white woman leading on our inclusion work, and I can’t possibly speak for everyone’s life experiences. No one can. ­But I can be an ally, so my job is to identify what we already do well; what we aren’t doing yet; what we need to do next; and influence the organisation to act. I’m not the person who makes the changes, but I connect people across the organisation to do the right things, in the right way, at the right time.

We’re tapping into the inherent sense of fairness that people have, and the times that they themselves were excluded, to connect people with the purpose so they carry these experiences and the need to act into their day to day work. We asked people what inclusion meant to them, and we heard that people want to feel just as valued as the next person and to have equal power to make Sky a great place for everyone. And this wasn’t just related to demographics, but also where people work in the country and what kind of job they do

And of course, we provide practical support too. We have an intranet site for all employees at Sky and we’ve stocked it with loads of things teams can print out, videos to watch and ideas for running sessions within teams all around the theme of improving inclusion. And rather than ask people to take part in once a year mandatory training, we’re weaving diversity, inclusion and unconscious bias into all the employee life cycle development resources available to managers.

Don’t start from scratch

No matter the nature or the size of the organisation you find yourself in, it is very unlikely you’ll be the first to try and do something about diversity. People often group into formal or informal networks of support, so try and find out about these, join them together and give them power.

We found pockets of real commitment that have inspired more people to do more, and now in 2019, we have six  very active and powerful networks  run by volunteers in service of their community; Parents at Sky, LGBT+ , Multiculture, Women, Body&Mind and Armed Forces at Sky.

Hold yourselves to account—measure how diverse and inclusive your organisation is

We track our diversity in terms of ethnicity and gender every quarter and we’re aiming to make that transparent for every team to see, what all the other teams are doing. The reason we track gender and race is because that’s what we’ve got the best data, so we can track our progress meaningfully.

Every six months, in every single part of the business, we run a people survey and use questions that speak to feeling involved, valued and heard to measure how inclusive we are as an employer and as a workplace:

  • eSat: ow happy are you working at Sky?
  • Authenticity: I feel comfortable being myself at Sky
  • Empowerment: I feel empowered to make decisions regarding my work
  • Recognition: I’m happy with the recognition or praise I receive for my work
  • Action: I believe action is being taken on the results of the last People Survey
  • Fairness: I’m treated fairly at Sky
  • Growth: I have good opportunities to learn and grow

When the results come back, we look at how highly people rate their experience  based on their gender, race, sexual orientation, disability or age. If the scores indicate a difference in the experience of working here, we know we don’t yet have an inclusive culture and we need to take action.

It’s really simple, but crucial to keep ourselves accountable, and it helps with one of the biggest challenges in inclusion programs: fatigue. Changing the culture and the diversityin a big organisation takes time.  To put this into perspective, a 5% increase in employees who are Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic (BAME) at Sky would be over 1000 roles. It’s not something that can happen overnight, but a 1% increase could be perceived as a lack of commitment.  Data and measurement can reassure people that even if progress is slow, it is happening.


Catherine Garrod

Catherine’s HR career spans across FMCG, Utility, Behavioural Healthcare and Entertainment.

Now at Sky, Europe’s leading Entertainment company, Catherine is promoting a culture of inclusion for best individual, team and business performance. Where people influence their own worlds and make Sky an even better place for everyone.

The momentum to build a diverse team and inclusive culture at Sky is fuelled by people right across the business. Getting involved in the areas they feel most passionate about to pursue a shared ambition – to be admired as the industry leader for inclusion both on screen and behind the scenes.

Catherine Garrod Sky

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