Employer Branding

Which Brands Have Championed Diversity and How?

Being recognised for doing something well can always help boost the organisation’s profile. Sometimes there is no harm in looking at how other companies are surpassing everyone else when it comes to delivering something you strive to want to do too.

Having one of the most diverse and inclusive places to work is something many companies would like to say they are proud. Our panel of diversity and inclusion experts have worked with a number of companies and brands and here they are to tell you who their pick of the best are.

Natasha Broomfield-Reid

In the last few years, a significant number of large employers have taken steps to improve diversity and inclusion and this will continue.

I believe that one of the standout performers in this area is EY, which has been leading this agenda for a number of years and has D&I at the forefront of its agenda.

However, if we look at progress over a relatively short space of time, there are a number of organisations in industries that have faced significant diversity challenges due to demographics and stereotypes such as SSE, SGN and Molson Coors, who have taken huge steps forward by gaining senior level by in and developing D&I strategies.

Natasha Broomfield-Reid, Head of Development at Equal Approach.

Caroline Stokes


Out of necessity, any large Fortune company typically champions diversity well. It’s how they thrive and can cater to various markets.



Caroline Stokes, Executive Headhunter & Coach. Founder of FORWARD.

Nicola Crawford

Many banks encourage equality and diversity in the workplace as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility policies,

Here’s some leading examples of their practices drawn from across the sector.

  • A dedicated global Diversity team and opportunities to participate in diversity organizations within various regions.
  • A variety of networks, affinity groups and diversity councils to engage and support all of our employee groups including women, LGBT people, under-represented minorities, veterans and people with disabilities.
  • Leadership training programs to help increase the number of diverse employees in senior level roles.
  • Several dedicated diversity programs like their Mentoring Advisory Group (MAG) for Female professionals, and various Campus recruitment programs for students from diverse backgrounds.
  • The Real Returns program, which is a program for senior professionals who are looking to restart their career after an extended career break.

Nicola Crawford, CFIRM, Chair of the Institute of Risk Management.

Joanna Abeyie

The BBC do come under much scrutiny for their representation of the diverse audiences they aim to serve, but they are one of the first businesses to listen to the guidance we provided to them with in order to support them in their efforts to improvediversity and inclusion on and off-screen. The strategy of course had to be made public, as did many of the other broadcasters strategies, but this was encouraging and demonstrated a commitment to their plans. This year we’ve ran two pre-application workshops for the journalism and production team and have one more for Tech applicants. These days were designed to increase the success rate of diverse applicants applying for these roles and to increase the number of those hired.

Joanna Abeyie, Managing Director, Hyden, SThree.

 Suki Sandhu

Lots of companies are doing brilliant things to champion diversity. It’s inspiring to see how they’re pushing the agenda forward. In terms of LGBT+ diversity, Aviva is doing great work, as are EY and Barclays. In fact, Barclays was ranked in the top 10 of Stonewall’s Top 100 Employees.

In terms of the BAME agenda, Sainsbury’s and Slaughter and May are both doing interesting work. Sainsbury’s has more than 150 Diversity Champions supporting the agenda across the organisation. Its programme Race for Opportunity is a cross-organisational mentoring scheme that aims to encourage talented BAME employees within the business to progress.

Suki Sandhu, CEO and founder of Audeliss.

Charlotte Sweeney

Many companies are championing D&I at different levels and there are some great examples of companies that have made some change – but there are very few that have made great strides across all elements of diversity.  For example, they may have made progress on getting more women into management positions but may not have even started at looking at the requirements of people with disabilities.

Some companies that have made progress include IBM who has a track record of embedding D&I into their business and creating change.  EY has focused on driving inclusive leadership behaviours throughout their business and Pinsent Masons are making great shifts in getting more women into Partner positions.

Charlotte Sweeney, Managing Director of Charlotte Sweeney Associates Ltd.

Sarah Nahm

When searching for D&I exemplars, it’s tempting to point to large enterprises with impressive parental leave policies, transparent diversity statistics, and resonant brand campaigns. While these efforts can be worthy, I find some of the most inspirational and impactful work goes on outside the spotlight at smaller organizations. It’s companies like npm, who created awareness of daily microaggressions by setting up a “guys’ jar” in which employees (voluntarily) deposited a dollar when they caught themselves using the word “guys” when they meant “people”. Or KeepSafe, who ran a ‘No resume’ campaign to invite applications detailing only the project work completed by the candidate, so that initial candidate screens wouldn’t be biased by the pedigree of the applicant’s school or prior workplaces. Or Buffer, who not only built a real-time dashboard to track demographic diversity like ethnicity, gender, and age – but went a step further by open-sourcing it so anyone now has permission to use, share, or evolve it. These types of tactics underscore that with a little creativity and very little budget, literally any company can carve out ways to champion diversity and inclusion

Sarah Nahm, CEO, Lever.

By Ushma Mistry

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