D&I Toolkit: 10 practical tips on launching your D&I strategy

What we learned from year one

On Thursday 7th March we were delighted to attend the Diversity in Grocery event as a major sponsor, alongside Tesco, Mondelez International, Coca Cola European Partners, Accenture UK, P&G and many more.

It was a fantastic event, and we had a brilliant time running our speed networking session on building a Diversity & Inclusion strategy, and what we learned from year one. By selecting key learnings we’ve designed a quick D&I toolkit, outlining 10 practical actions to help shape the strategy in your organisation.

Read on to find out more, and download the key highlights here!

1. It can start at grassroots with the passion of just one person

One person’s passion area might set the initial agenda, it doesn’t need to be a senior person. For dunnhumby, this was two individuals who set out an ambition to engage, attract and retain women in our business after identifying an imbalance of men and women in senior roles.

Identify a passionate group of individuals across all levels of the business who are not only keen to get involved, but also determined to drive initiatives (often on top of their day-to-day role).

2. Start small and choose a focus area

If budget and resource is a challenge focus on specific area(s) e.g. gender equality, and geographies e.g. UK, to make real tangible change, rather than trying to change everything at once. A focused plan with clear deliverables and those who are accountable for delivery identified is key.

3. Start with the data

We’re an organisation with data at our very core, so it has been vital for us to start with the data. Collect internal and external research to identify your ‘burning platform’ for change, to provide focus, set powerful objectives and measure progress. Research and data points are fundamental in informing your D&I strategy and should be used to back up any requests for budget or resource requests. We’ve used focused surveys to collect data and identify where we needed to make changes to policies, procedures, training and where we need to be providing support networks etc. This was achieved by setting up a data gathering workstream responsible for running surveys, working with external research partners to run employee interviews, analysing research findings, and examining external research to benchmark and compare with competitors and organisations who lead in this space. Be aware that confidentiality and GDPR compliance is critical, so ensure you engage with your legal team when running internal research.

4. Connecting the right people to make it happen; networks are key

As well as being passionate you need to identify those that have capacity to spend time working on initiatives outside of their day-to-day role. At dunnhumby alongside the D&I lead, there are passionate individuals working across all our D&I initiatives for example, the flexible working and family leave refresh, Unconscious Bias Awareness training development, mentoring programme, changes to our recruitment process, the LGBTQ+ and Women’s networks and many more.

When setting up a network specifically, aim to keep a core working group size to 10 people, and rotate the group (and group leader) each quarter so people can dip in and out depending on workload, also allowing the opportunity for new joiners.

5. Collaborate with others – be bold

Acknowledge where you may need help – reach out to external partners and use your network for tips, best practice advice and knowledge sharing. People are often happy to help within the community and not proprietary over their D&I objectives.

6. Identify senior sponsors and allies

Gain senior sponsorship by setting up a steering group to oversee your D&I strategy, and act as a sounding board. Senior sponsorship will add gravitas to your D&I initiatives, particularly when launching networks or similar, and will continue to help drive momentum across the business.

7. Be open to change in fostering an inclusive culture

Review policies and procedures to ensure they align with your D&I strategy. As part of this exercise in the UK, dunnhumby have been able to reduce the maternity leave qualifying period, revamped our flexible working policy and produced guidance for People Managers around family leave. Share stories of where inclusive practices are positively impacting individuals and teams across the business, to promote engagement and highlight that your organisation is committed to creating a truly inclusive culture.

8. Be clear on where you want to go and take others on the journey

Any plans to shift culture and mindset take a long time, there are no quick fixes! Ensure you clearly communicate your objectives and outline milestones – be mindful of timelines and what’s achievable to set expectations around what you want to accomplish within your organisation. Within any networks, plan a good mix of larger-scale events, smaller group networking and personal development sessions so there’s something for everyone.

9. Maintaining momentum through engagement

Regular, consistent communication via a solid communication plan is key to maintain momentum, following initial kick-off and launch activities. Pause and celebrate achievements to keep people up to date on progress. Review lessons learned and check back in with your organisation by looking back at the data to measure progress and identify opportunities for growth.

10. Look to the future; expand your focus areas

The journey is never over, D&I is always evolving and there are always areas for improvement. We’re broadening our focus beyond gender, looking into mental health & emotional wellbeing and setting up new networks – LGBTQ+, BAME and a Working Parents & Carers. As well as building out these initiatives globally.