Employer Branding

What Structures Can You Put in Place to Improve Diversity?

So you’ve decided the diversity of your company isn’t quite up to the standards that you would like and you want to know how you go about improving? Do you change your recruitment polices? Do you get a diversity expert in to help you make the changes you need?

Well luckily for you our panel of diversity and inclusion experts are at hand to tell you exactly what you need to do and how you can achieve it.

Natasha Broomfield-Reid

Ownership is key, and often diversity is “added on” as an additional responsibility to the HR or Recruitment teams, who are more often than not at capacity already. In order to develop structure, I would recommend:

  1. Firstly establish and communicate ownership.
  2. Gain senior level buy in and the commitment of an executive champion to drive the agenda.
  3. Recognise your starting point, then develop a strategy, with detailed goals and measures.
  4. Recognise and communicate that everyone has a responsibility for championing diversity and developing an inclusive culture.
  5. Ensure D&I are on the agenda for each department.

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

Caroline Stokes

Get the elephant out of the room. Have it as an agenda item in every initial new hire conversation with the hiring manager. Carefully monitor changes to see if hiring has changed and what the ROI might be, so everyone can see the impact from a team dynamic and company success perspective.


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

Nicola Crawford

Workplace diversity should be embedded into the company culture from the shop floor to the boardroom, recruiting processes need to encourage applicants from a broad range of society and not penalise anyone unnecessarily.

The HR function and internal communications champions can help to sow the messaging internally and help to breed a positive culture. Ensuring committees and boards are representative also sends a positive message down through the organisation. Fostering a culture of openness and inclusion via a laid down strategy that is communicated regularly to staff will help with buy-in.

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

Joanna Abeyie

Firstly, educating managers on what diversity really means. It’s not ‘us and them’ – often the term is misused or misinterpreted to mean that there are ‘diverse people’ and then ‘white middle class men’ that’s not diversity. Diversity is difference, if the workplace made this focus on difference and inclusion there would be more buy-in from existing teams and less feeling of those currently within the workforce feeling ‘under valued’ and therefore feeling they had to be the gate-keepers of their position, which can happen frequently when the word ‘diversity’ is misunderstood.

Joanna Abeyie, Managing Director, Hyden, SThree.

 Suki Sandhu

Although targets and quotas are a controversial subject, if you are looking for a structure then they are a good way to ensure you have equal representation. You could also formalise internal reviews of the business, addressing the question of how welcoming and inclusive your organisation is for diverse staff.

Role models also have a huge part to play. It’s important to have diverse role models at a senior level to prove that anyone regardless of sexuality, ethnicity or gender can succeed. It encourages current employees to stay and progress internally, and also attracts external diverse staff.

Suki Sandhu, CEO and founder of Audeliss.

Charlotte Sweeney

Creating a governance framework to ensure the key issues are addressed appropriately and progress is reported back is an important element for anything that is important to business – diversity and inclusion is no different. Some companies create what they call ‘Steering Groups’ that act as the senior level governance to ensure that progress on D&I is made – these generally then report the board or executive committee.

Knowing there is that level of commitment and scrutiny is important for all to see, and experience.

Charlotte Sweeney, Managing Director of Charlotte Sweeney Associates Ltd.

Sarah Nahm

Lever’s first diversity and inclusion “task force” (when we were roughly ten employees) was scrappy and organic, focused on harnessing the existing energy of our employees and turning it into viable action. As Lever has scaled, we’ve added more conventional structures to support our diversity and inclusion initiatives, including employee resource groups (ERGs) and, more recently, appointing someone to lead company-wide D&I efforts. But if you place the weight of expectations on these special structures, you miss the point: to truly create an inclusive culture will require the effort from your full team. Rather than siloing responsibility in organizational niches, you need to bring the entire workforce along on the journey.

Sarah Nahm, CEO, Lever.


By Ushma Mistry

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