Equality, diversity and inclusion is about creating inclusive environments and practices where employees can be themselves, are valued for their differences, and be supported to work at their best.
What does an equality, diversity and inclusion specialist do?
Inclusion is welcoming all people, regardless of their personal, physical or social characteristics. It’s about creating a sense of belonging where everyone is valued, respected for their own unique identity. Diversity is about recognising that each person is unique, and understanding their differences. Harnessing these differences creates a productive environment in which everybody feels valued, their talents are fully utilised, and organisational and personal goals are met.
Done brilliantly, EDI goes beyond the basic legislative and compliance requirements; it's about creating an environment where difference is embraced and individuals can flourish.
EDI specialists are key influencers in the organisation, often working with senior leaders to gain their commitment to programmes of work which create long-term value for the organisation. This value could be, for example, improving employee wellbeing, helping recruit more talented people, creating greater equity in reward programmes, or helping to identify bias in work practices. When delivered in an integrated way, EDI creates value to both organisations and wider society. Being able to evidence this value is key to gaining buy-in from stakeholders.
Video: The time has come to be serious about diversity.
At high speed rail network HS2, Mark Lomas is making inclusion integral to every single part of the business model – and he hopes initiatives such as blind recruitment and reverse mentoring will kickstart a revolution.
As an EDI specialist you will need to know:
- The communities and cultures your organisation operates within and how to achieve workforce representation
- How to identify systemic bias and drive actionable change
- EDI legislation
- How to build a culture of trust so people can speak up and feel safe
- how to hold people accountable for their own behaviour and the wider EDI agenda.
Your typical activities
Here are some of the activities you can expect to be involved in as an EDI specialist:
- Providing analysis and expert advice on how people practices can be improved from an EDI perspective.
- EDI assessments of wider organisational practices and processes.
- Creating opportunities for all groups of people to have a voice in the organisation.
- Creating positive action interventions to support under‐represented groups.
- Coaching and upskilling managers and employees on the importance of EDI and the value it brings to an organisation and its people.
- Monitoring and analysing EDI data and information.
- Enabling managers and leaders to identify systemic bias and creating plans for change.
- Celebrating diversity and inclusion through organised events and awareness sessions.
Types of roles in inclusion and diversity
Here is a shortlist of the types of job titles you might find in equality, diversity and inclusion. As you can see, EDI specialists are at all levels of experience and seniority:
- Equality, diversity and inclusion advisor
- Equality, diversity and inclusion specialist
- Equality, diversity and inclusion manager
- Equality, diversity and inclusion lead
- Head of equality, diversity and inclusion
- Director equality, diversity and inclusion
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