Research shows that organisations benefit from an equitable workplace. One that champions different voices and skills from all backgrounds, and values and includes all colleagues. Equity, diversion and inclusion (or EDI) is now a business imperative.
So, how can internal communicators play their part in embedding EDI principles across their organisations?
When creating an employee value proposition for Mitie, the internal communication and EDI functions became one team. Sim Sian, Head of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, and Yvonne O’Hara, former Group Head of Internal Communication and Engagement, worked together to create, embed and communicate the company’s EVP, ensuring it would work for everybody.
The ambition was clear. “When I was thinking about culture, and the type of culture we wanted to create at Mitie, I was listening to the CEO, to the executive team, to senior stakeholders, to colleagues… just really trying to get a sense of where the organisation was at that moment, and where it wanted to be,” Yvonne told Katie on a recent episode of The Internal Comms Podcast.
“One of the biggest themes that emerged was the desire for the culture to be one of belonging and inclusivity.
“It was really important for me to reach out to Sim to talk about, in effect, our shared responsibility in really driving that culture change.”
From then on the pair were joined at the hip as they took on the challenge.
The two ways internal comms can help push the envelope for EDI
As Sim says, internal communicators can be both an enabler and a gateway for colleagues working in EDI.
Internal communicators can use our language to simplify EDI concepts, making the ‘why’ accessible to all colleagues and enabling the team to get their key messages across.
“Your comms has to address people with language barriers, people with hidden disabilities, people for whom English isn’t their first language, and those that are visually impaired,” she told Katie.
Internal communications is also the gateway for all EDI messaging. IC teams often hold the key to leadership comms, newsletters, blogs and internal social media channels. For campaigns, standalone pieces and drumbeat comms, the team can create while guided by the principles of EDI.
“We work with Yvonne and the team [to understand] how we embed and how we land EDI messages in everyday comms,” says Sim.
“Yvonne and the team guide us in terms of what’s the best way to get it out to our audience.”