Equality and diversity in smaller companies

Hello all,

I have (finally) had some time today to start reviewing our equality and diversity policy and it's got me thinking about what more I can do to support / promote this subject at work.  We have a policy and E&D training (e-learning) but it all feels a bit like ticking a box rather than embedding it in the company. 

I work in a standalone role for a small company, around 90 employees and was hoping there were people in a similar position that could share some ideas of how they support this subject.  Obviously it needs to be realistic given the size of the company, I was thinking of a quick survey to see how people think we manage E&D.  We don't currently have equal ops data other than gender and age so again that is something else we could ask and monitor moving forwards.  

Any thoughts or ideas that work for you would be great - I want to do something pro-active as I can already hear the imaginary groans of another tick box exercise and my previous experience was always in larger organisations with huge departments dedicated to equality.

Thanks in anticipation!


  • Hi Stephanie

    It's good not only to have a policy but to convene regularly a policy review meeting with the senior management responsible for it etc. from which a detailed action plan can emerge and be monitored at these regular meetings.

    'What can we feasibly do, better to ensure and promote E&D within our organisation?' should usually be top of the agenda for above and seeking suggestions about this from employees generally might well be part of it. Also / alternatively an option might be to have some employee representatives at the actual meetings.
  • In reply to David:

    Thanks David. I agree, it would be good to get input from within the company rather than just senior management to get a more rounded view. Will give it some more thought.
  • Hi Steph,

    I'm in a similar position 120 employees and myself as part time hr.

    I've been contacting different providers and trying to get different training information because I think as an organisation we need to improve as we seem to have a big gender and age imbalance in the organisation. Acas have said they can offer training on advertising to increase the diversity of applicants.

    I would like to hear how your getting on.
  • To what extent is the senior leadership team calling for more clarity on ED&I? If you lack top-level support then whatever plan you come up with, however cunning, will fail.

    That said, if you have even verbal endorsement, the place to start is the one you identify here: data. You need a better sense of the current diversity stats of your organization to be able to understand where you are doing well and where you could do better. Only at that point can you start to ask why that may be so and, from there, begin to formulate a plan to address it.
  • In reply to Robey:

    Honestly...it is never really mentioned in the company at all which is why I was interested to see what other smaller companies do to get some ideas. Agree data is needed first to give a basis for any future plans.
  • In reply to Rebecca:

    Hi Rebecca, we already have an e-learning module which is rolled out to all staff which covers the basics but the challenge is getting the subject embedded more into the company as a whole so that it is something we all think about when recruiting/promoting etc
  • Hi Steph, I would be happy to have a chat about what you can do in a small organisation with a limited amount of resource, incorporating what you currently have in place. Andrea
  • In reply to Andrea Stallan:

    Hi Andrea, I would also be open to having a discussion if you don't mind? We're an SME and I've been watching this thread for a few days hoping to get some ideas! I'm in a similar position to Steph - we don't have a lot of budget (thanks COVID!) or resource.
  • Steve Bridger

    | 0 Posts

    Community Manager

    26 Aug, 2020 12:07

    In reply to Andrea Stallan:

    Hi Andrea - just a gentle reminder that we do not allow people, to promote their own services on this Community. Hope you understand.
  • In reply to Steve Bridger:

    Hi Steve, so sorry my intention was to offer some free advice. Here’s what I would suggest to this group.
    Firstly Rob is correct that data is important in that it will tell you whether you have areas for concern e.g. all-male leadership team.
    Steph - a survey is also a great tool to gain feedback from employees.
    I would also suggest looking at HR Processes:
    Recruitment - are you advertising to a broad range of candidates?
    Training - what do you provide in terms of expected behaviour at work for all employees
    Policies - do they reflect and respond to today’s workplace apart from those that are obvious e.g. maternity leave
    Strategy - draw up a plan, it doesn’t need to be complicated, keep it simple and ensure you have senior management buy in with opportunity to give feedback

    Hope this helps
  • I am studying level 5 cipd and work for a small company and was also interested in raising awareness on diversity. We currently have no diversity policy and I work for a totally white company. After raising this issue after a Director suggested that the company should support a ‘bakers against racism’ event by donating a token amount, I was disgusted at this act of tokenism and jumping on the bandwagon as it seemed to be the thing to do as their competitors were also supporting it. They had no idea how this would look in the black community. After a heated discussion about the lack of diversity and how I required educating on the matter, the meeting ended. 7 days later I was dismissed for not culturally fitting in with the business. No hearing, no discussion - just called in and told the board had decided I was not the right person For the role. Needless to say I am appealing for unfair dismisssal.
    My point is, that due to lack of under-standing and inclusivity some company’s think that just talking about it and jumping on the band wagon of a very important movement to appear to be supportive and understanding is a total act of tokenism and hypocracy.
    So step carefully, some white companies in ‘middle England’ do not want to hear that they are lacking In areas that are important and at the forefront of peoples minds. Look at the post office who have just been called out on their campaign to promote ‘black lives matter’ by painting a number of post boxes black or Sainsbury’s, who want to promote their standing in the black community by improving their diversity policy and shout about it all over the media.

    TOKENISM at the worst level.!
  • Hi Stephanie,
    I am in a role similar to you. We are two in HR and there are 74 of us and we are hiring so expect to be more.
    I am lucky in having support for D&I measures. I report to the board with stats on gender and ethnicity representation and we discuss possible reasons for changes to the gaps. We will introduce Unconscious bias training to all managers and interviewers and hopefully extend it to everyone. We will revise the wording on our job ads and descriptions, there is a lot of info out there on what to avoid.
    The D&I Power list in the July/August issue of People Management led me to look at Suki Sandhu's INvolve and Audeliss websites and I found very valuable info.
    I am also a member of the US SHRM and they recommend to consider different universities, not just the top range: "Institutions that are less prestigious can still have a lot of great talent."
  • In reply to Ingrid:

    Hi Ingrid

    Just to muse that I've had many similar very heated and most distressing interactions with all manner of bigots, and sociopaths, some of them truly disgusting / contemptible thugs and worse, but have learned from bitter experience (a) not to try and fight battles I'm never going to win and (b) that small, even 'token' behavioural changes can be at least better than nothing and sometimes the tiny step forward to begin the long march.
  • In reply to Rebecca:

    Hi Rebecca,

    Can you recommend any training provider on D&I?

    Many thanks.