Making Room for Diversity

Louie St Claire

02 Oct 2020

This week is National Inclusion week which is designed to celebrate everyday inclusion in all its forms. The theme for this year is Each One, Reach One. It’s an opportunity to connect with another person or business and inspire them into making inclusion part of everyday life. Our people first strategy at Harvard is to create an environment where everyone from any background feels safe and enabled to thrive. Core to that is the creation, nurturing and protection of an inclusive environment built on trust and openness. Throughout the events of the last few months – the Black Lives Matter protests after the murder of George Floyd; the impact of the nationwide lockdown on each person individually and the uncertainty surrounding the pandemic – we’ve seen time and time again how important strong connections are to drive dialogue, drive positivity and to drive change. Making room to have the conversation has been vital to moving forward and whilst I think we’re still on a journey, I know we can all do better. So, I thought it would be worth sharing some work that we’ve been doing recently in Harvard’s journey to becoming a more inclusive workplace
  1. We’re working with an organisation called From BAME To Boardroom, led by Louisa Joseph.All 85 of us at Harvard are taking part in sessions to not only better normalise discussions around race but to educate ourselves on the different stages that we’re all at.
  2. We’re working towards The Blueprint markcommitment (we will be applying in December). This is essentially about us as an organisation better attracting, retaining and nurturing diverse talent from Black, Asian, Mixed Race and Ethnic minority backgrounds.
We’ve found value in taking the 23 commitments that you sign up to as part of the Blueprint mark and integrating them into our existing D&I strategy. They’re worth a look. For example, we’re in the process of completely overhauling our recruitment with a technology partner to broaden our communities and pools of talent, as well as updating all of our ads and job descriptions. We’ve re-written our client charter with the commitments in mind and are currently updating our mentoring programme.
  1. From an external perspective, we’ve talked to some cracking people. We had conversations with Josh Krichefski, Global COO at Mediacom and Rax Lakhani, independent PR consultant and Chair of the PRCA Diversity Network about all things mental health and D&I. And coming up in the next few weeks, we plan to chat with Ruby Aryiku, who co-founded VAMP, the first influencer agency run by black women dedicated to black influencers.
We’ve also run more regular curious sessions which give more opportunities for everyone to hear from a brilliant set of people such as Emma King at Vogue and author of Squiggly Careers, Helen Tupper. Lastly, I wanted to mention measurement; our planning team have now put in place all the metrics needed to measure our efforts properly. So whether that’s a system to ensure everyone is getting the same client opportunities, a new annual D&I survey to measure our efforts or the gender and ethnic pay gap data we need, everything is in place to properly embed these changes into the way we work. As I said at the top of this post, making room for diversity in our business is key to getting exciting new talent that adds to our culture. So it’s paramount that we ensure that once they’re here, we give them great careers at Harvard, regardless of who they are or where they’re from. Image credit - Tim Mossholder, available here.