Culture vs Policy – how to separate it whilst allowing it to work as one!
Culture is a living, breathing thing which changes and grows over time, whereas policy is needed: a framework that is black and white; what is acceptable, and not acceptable. In our opinion, a policy should operate as a safety net you should never need, and instead, ensure that the rules within the policy are already embedded in your culture. This is one of the ways in which you can embody true inclusivity!
We sat down with Joanna Jewitt, our People and Operations Director to talk more about inclusivity, and what it really means to her and Orbis.
What does the phrase ‘championing inclusive growth’ mean to you?
“The role of a recruiter changes daily. In the past, it’s been drummed into my head to look out for sports leaders, graduates from certain uni’s, or people from disadvantaged backgrounds and challenging family environments, as it’s assumed that these categories have the right qualities.
But, it’s not realistic in terms of doing the role and fitting into company culture, the ‘right kind of person’ is so much broader than ticking certain boxes. It’s important to be multifaceted in the way you assess people.
Also allowing leaders to build their own teams and benefit from those different perspectives and ideas, across every discipline in your organisation. Let’s say the talent team, for instance, needs to be representative of a broad and inclusive group itself, within the wider company, so that this team in particular benefits from different angles of thought.”
How do you diversify your recruitment channels?
“We’ve had great success with referrals, but you have to be very mindful of how you use them. If your team is predominantly from a certain demographic, certain area or community, they’re likely to refer to similar types of people. So, diversity begets more diversity in this way. It can be a catch 22 because you can’t start building out authentically from the existing diversity in your team until you’ve established and welcomed that diversity in the first place.
So, it’s important to be really cohesive and collaborative as an organisation, letting everyone get involved across the business to maximise that potential and really integrate different perspectives across all you do.”
What is your stance on tokenism?
“Avoiding tokenism, on the flip side, is absolutely crucial. I’ve experienced being invited to events etc because I was the only woman in a business, and it gets old. The weight of responsibility should not be placed on one person, and taking advantage of someone as a token of diversity is not truly valuing them as a colleague and a person.
One tangible thing which has supported us in terms of diversity is expanding across different locations, where we then discover different talent. Hybrid working works in the same way.
We eliminate those obstacles of commute or living costs that might otherwise have prevented someone from working with us, this way we’re not just targeting some kind of ‘elite’ group living in a certain area. Olivia, our marketing executive lives a distance away and is an example of someone who might not have accepted the job if there was not the option to work from home several days a week!”
In summary, you have to approach D&I as a collective effort, and understand that it’s going to take time, money, and resources to continuously work towards a more inclusive workforce. You also have to be open to change. What you’ve always done may have worked in the past, but it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t revisit your inclusivity formula in the future!