You can’t content your way to EDI success


Simply posting articles about Black History Month or Pride Month does not make you an inclusive employer

As the old maxim goes: if something is worth doing, then it’s worth doing properly. With this in mind, it’s disappointing that there’s still an apparent say-do gap where EDI is concerned at many organisations.

Pretty much every organisation sets out on their careers page that they’re an inclusive employer and welcoming of everyone. Great! So, what are you doing to embed this within your organisation? All too often EDI efforts are based around virtue signalling and box ticking – shortcuts which employees, prospective employees and potential investors can see through.

Don’t put me in a box!

The 2022 study by the London Business School The hidden dangers of the business case for diversity found that respondents wanted to be judged on their actual skills and experience and not on what they can contribute on the basis of their race, gender, sexual orientation, or other identities.

Respondents thought that virtue signalling and box ticking is 'depersonalised' and the overwhelming evidence is that they don't wish to be treated as a “Black Leader”, but as "a leader", for example.

So, employees want to be included, not put into boxes. Therefore, not only is simply posting about EDI issues with no action to back it up futile; posting lots of content which serves to highlight a single aspect of an employee or a defined group of employees could also be counter-productive.

How an inclusive EX benefits approaches to EDI

Organisations greatly benefit from having people from different backgrounds, who have different thoughts, and have different skills. And these employees want to feel valued and to add value.

This wealth of expertise and breadth of experiences should be leveraged when seeking to improve your EX. Our recommendation is that once you have defined your Employee Lifecycle and your Moments that Matter, then you work with your employees in creating Employee Journey maps. If, for example, you wanted to improve the first day experience, then as well as receiving input from the core EX team, you should invite a cross-section of employees from across the organisation to contribute; including some that have recently had their first day. As a part of this process, you would utilise Employee Archetypes and Empathy Maps to discover the employee wants, needs, and pains. These can include aspects related to EDI, Wellbeing, and anything else which crops up during the workshops.

You should trust your employees to raise the issues that matter to them during the Employee Journey Mapping and having an approach of ‘from the people, for the people’ will certainly contribute to inclusion efforts.

In summary, less signalling and more actual including.

You can download our EXO Toolkit for free here.