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How to Make Inclusion an Everyday Priority in Our Workplaces

6 minute read

Guest Blog Writer in February, Lynne Connolly has been applying Inclusion Nudges in her work since 2019 as Global Head of Diversity & Inclusion in Standard Life Aberdeen. As a guest blog writer, she shares with you her experience. We are really pleased that Lynne is sharing with you about her work as a change maker for diversity & inclusion. Reciprocity and sharing are key principles to the Inclusion Nudges global community. Thanks Lynne, we appreciate all that you are doing.

Tinna & Lisa

When there are so many competing priorities for business leaders, how do we make sure that ‘inclusion’ gets the attention it deserves? How do we make sure that it’s ‘in the room’ and embedded in all that we do?

As a practitioner, the way I look at it is that inclusion is about the everyday – it’s how people feel when they come to work. It’s about the experience our people have inside our company and whether they want to stay working with us. It’s about being the company that we want to be and it’s much more than just another item on the agenda. It’s an agenda topic which can flow through all we do to engage, develop, and progress people every day – and that’s a commercial case in itself.

But that can’t be achieved by those with ‘inclusion’ or ‘diversity’ in their job title alone. It needs to be ‘in the room’ for every conversation we have, every process we employ, and every decision we make. That means embedding it in all we do as a company.

That is the reason why the work we are doing in Standard Life Aberdeen is based upon behavioural nudges. By critically analysing what we do and how we do it, diversity and inclusion is a foundation for all processes and the language of inclusion is becoming the norm.

That’s where the Inclusion Nudges change and design approach come in. By focusing on the practical techniques to promote behaviour, culture, and system change by mitigating unconscious bias we can design for inclusion to be the norm. And that is helping us make more progress in our diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) work internally.

We mapped our organisations' processes to see patterns

With Tinna’s counsel, we took the end-to-end employee journey (in charts, all around the walls in multiple locations) and assessed the processes we were using and the results we were attaining. Was this good enough? No. While we had pockets of great practice, we weren’t leveraging that across the whole, we weren’t learning as well as we could from each other and we weren’t bringing the diverse voices into the room which really matter in breaking down systemic bias in processes.

We imbed process changes systematically

With the leadership of our brilliant HR colleagues and the help of our employee networks, we’ve been on a journey over the last year - COVID aside - to embed the process improvements we identified by using the Inclusion Nudges examples and designs. Seeing the examples helped us see our own processes in a new perspective and enabled us to identity areas for improvement. While these are sometimes small re-designs, they can have a powerful impact on equity and mitigating bias in all that we do.

Here are some specific changes we have made Using Process Design Inclusion Nudges we have made various changes in our recruitment processes. Small changes really with really significant impact.

Inclusive wording. We’ve embedded technology to analyse all of our job adverts. Using a technology-based tool, we have been able to significantly ‘gender decode’ all of our job adverts and have increased online advert effectiveness by 46%. By building an inclusive culture we hire people who value inclusion. It’s not just about increasing female applications on its own. That’s why we now highlight this explicitly. The language usage has shown to have direct impact on the diversity of applicants. We have integrated this in all our IT platforms - it is right there for recruiting users no matter what platform they are on.

Here are a few examples:

Diverse interview panel. We have also launched a diverse interview panel in recruitment processes to challenge decision making.

Anonymised screening. We’ve significantly shifted the diverse make up of our graduates and interns by using masked screening in early career recruitment as well as working with a wide range of outreach partners.

Inclusive policies. We’ve refreshed our policies by changing the default to be inclusive of all types of family, including parental leave policies where we are now seeing a 55% take up of men.

But it’s not all about Process Design Inclusion Nudges

What can seem like a small thing in the way we think and behave can have a significant impact on how it feels to work here. Inclusion Nudges are instrumental in changing the everyday. These are things we can each do, which cost nothing except the time and curiosity to know our colleagues as individuals better. Listening better, humanising data, telling stories, and challenging our own thinking are what makes the difference.

We’ve applied Feel the Need Inclusion Nudges to build confidence and capability across the company to take courageous actions. Our Global Diversity Summit series reached across all of our geographies in 2020 to hear the experiences of our colleagues and to take action in being changemaker allies and recognising how we move from unconscious to conscious decision-making.

In the investment management industry our DEI efforts means more than what we do inside the company. It’s also about how we use our influence as an investor to push forward progress. We’ve published our Environment, Social and Governance statement on D&I and are now targeting voting policies in different markets. We’re also building better ways to meet our clients’ expectations of us.

As an investment company, that’s an unequivocal investment in our present and our future. Of course, I’m a pragmatist. I know that it will take time and that we need to keep edging along. But getting on the journey, which tackles DEI systemically and behaviourally, and staying on it, despite numerous contextual challenges, is what’s important.

If you want to learn more from Lynne Connolly about their application of Inclusion Nudges in Standard Life Aberdeen, feel free to reach out to her:

lynne.m.connolly@aberdeen-asset.com or her colleague Matt Yates, Head of Talent Acquisition: matt.yates@aberdeen-asset.com

You can also read more about diversity and inclusion in Standard Life Aberdeen here

Here are some Inclusion Nudges that inspired Lynne and her colleagues:

Take a look at these and reflect on how they could support your DEI initiatives.

Inclusive Wording on page 297 in The Inclusion Nudges Guidebook, and page 101 in Inclusion Nudges for Talent Selection

Anonymise People to Focus on Merit on page 253 in The Inclusion Nudges Guidebook, and page 131 in Inclusion Nudges for Talent Selection

Humanise Diversity Data & Trigger Supportive Behaviours on page 488 in The Inclusion Nudges Guidebook and also on page 196 in the Inclusion Nudges for Motivating Allies

The Speech Bubble Intervention on page 148 in The Inclusion Nudges Guidebook, and page 125 in Inclusion Nudges for Motivating Allies.

Would you like to be a guest blog writer about how you are applying Inclusion Nudges in your work? Sharing with other change makers like yourself is a powerful way to join forces to make inclusion the norm everywhere, for everyone, and by everyone.

Reach out to Tinna C. Nielsen & Lisa Kepinski, Co-Founders Inclusion Nudges to discuss your article submission at tinna_and_lisa@inclusion-nudges.org

Want to learn more?

The Inclusion Nudges Guidebook (2020) for change makers gives you 100 examples of Inclusion Nudges

Inclusion Nudges Guidebook

The Action Guide series are shorter plug-and-play guides with 30 targeted Inclusion Nudges:

Inclusion Nudges for Leaders

Inclusion Nudges for Talent Selection

Inclusion Nudges for Motivating Allies

You can learn more and get other free resources on the Inclusion Nudges platform inclusion-nudges.org

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Creative Commons License. The Inclusion Nudges Guidebook, Action Guides, and blog are licensed under the Creative Commons 4.0 International License. This means you can use the material when you share back and don’t use it for commercial purposes.