Michelle Jackson is the Senior Equality Diversity and Inclusion Advisor at Shaw Trust, where she leads on EDI, helping the organisation to put EDI at the heart of everything it does and meet ambitious targets set out in its organisational strategy.
How can you truly represent the people you support if they’re not reflected or represented in your workforce? Shaw Trust is committed to a fully diverse and representative workforce, where diversity and inclusion are embedded in everything it undertakes. This commitment is firmly written into its strategy, and it has set ambitious targets. But how do you ensure that you can meet your objectives and get everyone in the organisation on board?
eLearning that goes beyond compliance
With a dedicated equality, diversity and inclusion team, Shaw Trust goes way beyond compliance eLearning. They deliver a suite of EDI training, have dedicated staff network groups, and organise events that help staff learn about EDI and understand how it relates to their roles and society.
Michelle Jackson, Senior Equality Diversity and Inclusion Advisor at Shaw Trust, said:
“EDI is one of those areas where the more you train people, the more it uncovers additional learning needs. Like most organisations, initially, our training was around compliance. But what we wanted to do was help people understand how the legislation and the issues impact them in their role and how it impacts the people they are supporting. So it goes from simply compliance to application.”
To move beyond simply understanding legislation, Michelle suggests that people need a baseline of information and understanding of EDI. Staff can then identify the gaps in their knowledge and suggest training that will fill in those gaps.
Charities – register here to access free content for training in EDI in the Clear Lessons video learning library
Extending the conversation
“Equipping people with that baseline knowledge means that you can start having conversations with staff about how they can make their services more bespoke and more relevant to their client groups.”
At Shaw Trust, eLearning is a great way to ensure that everyone reaches a baseline level of knowledge around EDI. However, many nuances need to be addressed – which is where face to face training comes in. In addition, training is developed around areas of topical interest – such as race and Black Lives Matter – contextualising them for staff who are keen to learn more about societal issues.
As well as eLearning and training, Shaw Trust has a diversity and inclusion working group that works collaboratively to help embed best practice within the organisation. This helps to ensure that the charity is on track to achieve its ambitious EDI targets.
Employees can also get involved in staff network groups, which provide a safe space for them to share ideas, make suggestions and provide feedback on how the organisation’s plans are working and their impact. The groups include the Disabled Employee Network, Racial Equality Network and LGBTQ+ Network.
We’re all on a learning journey
“When it comes to EDI, people can feel vulnerable about identifying and acknowledging that there are gaps in their knowledge or understanding. People can feel that they should know things, but I don’t know everything, and this is my job! We try to convey to staff that we’re all on this learning journey together. And things are constantly changing, so there’s no need for you to think that you should know it all.”
In addition to the various eLearning, training and staff network groups, Shaw Trust has a diversity calendar that highlights events such as International Women’s Day, Pride and Black History Month. This offers an opportunity to celebrate and raise awareness about the staff’s lived experience and the people they support.
A snapshot of EDI at Shaw Trust
- Ambitious targets
- A specialist advisor
- eLearning and face-to-face training
- A working group
- Staff network groups
- A diversity calendar
The Shaw Trust Strategic Directive 2030 sets out a commitment to achieve the following:
- No artificial barriers or ceilings to advancement whatever the individual’s background
- Positive action where appropriate to shape its workforce
- Creating safe spaces for anyone in its workforce, especially those with Protected Characteristics
To achieve these commitments, it has put the following measures in place:
- Diversity and inclusion policy sets out its commitment to closing the gap in achievement and outcomes for staff and people that it supports.
- Diversity and inclusion strategy, which sets out how it will achieve these ambitions and commitments
An ambitious five-year diversity and inclusion plan, which sets out the activities it will undertake to remove barriers and meet the commitments and ambitions outlined in the strategic directive, with a particular focus on:
- Improving the impact of the advice, guidance and support it provides to help people enter good quality employment, apprenticeships, education and training.
- Learning and development
- Inclusive recruitment and selection practices
- Targeted talent development activities
- Adding social value to the communities where it works
Progress reports are regularly provided to the Shaw Trust Board.