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Croftstone Consulting: “BE IDEAL underpins our entire EDI strategy”

6 minute read

An interview with the winners of the Best Diversity and Inclusion Strategy award

Croftstone Consulting received the Best Diversity and Inclusion Strategy award for their 2022 EDI campaign at our Engage Awards ceremony in November. To form their new strategy, Croftstone turned to their people to find out what they wanted. In turn, they made a commitment to BE IDEAL, focusing on Belonging, Equality, Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Accessibility and Learning.

To learn more about their EDI strategy and the work they did to earn the award, we reached out to Suzanne Sallam, Croftstone’s Director of People, Culture and Operations. In an interview, she has now revealed how they revamped job descriptions to attract a more diverse talent pool, how they address hidden disabilities, and more!

CONGRATULATIONS ON WINNING THE BEST DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION STRATEGY AWARD! PLEASE INTRODUCE CROFTSTONE CONSULTING AND YOUR 2022 BE IDEAL CAMPAIGN.

We are an award winning, rapidly growing consultancy. The company was set up in 2019 and grew from 3 to 60 people during an exceptionally challenging period.  

With roots in both the public and private sectors, we are not just consultants; we are architects of the future. Commercial Management is our bread and butter, and we have recently grown our team of experts to offer services across Procurement, Project management, Risk assurance and Change management.

Everything we do is driven by our purpose to connect our communities so they can thrive and make opportunities within everyone’s reach.

In September of 2022, we launched a new EDI campaign to help us push the dial and create an environment where all our colleagues can thrive. We first asked our people what they wanted and listened to their ideas. This is what they said: 

“If we want our experiences to be ideal, then we must BE IDEAL as an organisation and as leaders for everyone at Croftstone.

 

And that is how our EDI Strategy was born. 


The beauty of this simple term appears when you unpack what it stands for. It's our acronym for - Belonging, Equality, Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Accessibility and Learning.

BE IDEAL underpins our entire EDI strategy, ensuring we have initiatives that deliver on every aspect of BE IDEAL. We made a commitment that this will be part of our DNA at Croftstone, part of our everyday life, and part of the fabric that makes up our employee journey.

HOW DID YOU REVAMP JOB DESCRIPTIONS TO ATTRACT A MORE DIVERSE TALENT POOL?

As a growing organisation, we understand the pains of recruiting in the face of talent shortages. With the launch of our People Strategy in 2022, we made a strong commitment to fostering an inclusive workplace and increasing female representation in our industry. Our recruitment challenge was compounded given the industry's historical male dominance, which has created a perception barrier that deters women and other underrepresented groups from considering careers within our sector.

While revamping our recruitment strategy, we took the decision to overhaul our job descriptions. We meticulously crafted these descriptions to be gender-neutral, ensuring that the language used was inclusive and free from unconscious biases that could deter diverse candidates. Additionally, we:

  • Focussed on essential qualifications: Clearly distinguishing between must-have skills and nice-to-have qualifications. This helped us ensure that candidates weren’t discouraged from applying if they don't meet every single requirement.
  • Highlighted our Diversity and Inclusion agenda: Mentioning our commitment to diversity and inclusion and the work we do to support our people and our communities.
  • Promoted flexibility and work-life balance: Clearly stating our policies on flexible working hours, remote work options, and work-life balance benefits. This is especially appealing to candidates with caregiving responsibilities or those seeking a more balanced lifestyle.
  • Described our culture: Providing a snapshot of our company culture and how it supports diverse employees, including our mentorship programmes and inclusive team-building activities.
  • Provided a clear career path for growth: Showing potential candidates that there is room for growth and development within the company indicating how we are investing in our employees' futures.
  • Made the selection process completely transparent: Detailing information about the recruitment process, so candidates know what to expect making sure we demystified the process and reduce anxiety around applying.

Our BE IDEAL strategy didn't just stop at attracting diverse candidates; it was an integral part of our entire recruitment process, ensuring that all applicants felt valued and had an equitable chance of success. This approach allowed us to not only attract but also retain the right mix of talent, demonstrating our commitment to building a truly inclusive and diverse workforce.

CAN YOU COMMENT ON THE IMPORTANCE OF ADDRESSING HIDDEN DISABILITIES? HOW DO YOU DO THIS AT CROFTSTONE?

Acknowledging hidden disabilities breaks down barriers to participation and allows everyone to contribute fully. When employees feel supported and understood, their job satisfaction, loyalty, and productivity increase. So, it goes without saying that addressing hidden disabilities can lead to a healthier, more engaged workforce.

Here at Croftstone we are committed to nurturing our people and creating an environment where everyone can thrive. To foster an inclusive and supportive workplace environment, we made sure that all employees, regardless of their condition, felt confident that they had equal access to opportunities and are valued equally within Croftstone.

We conduct regular training and awareness programs for all employees to understand the spectrum of hidden disabilities and how they can impact individuals differently.

Our policies explicitly include support for individuals with hidden disabilities (such as Neurodiversity or endometriosis to name a few), and we strive to create a culture where employees feel comfortable disclosing their conditions without fear of stigma or discrimination.

We provide access to support services, such as counselling, employee assistance programs, and peer support groups, to ensure employees have the resources they need to thrive.

We offer personalised adjustments to meet the unique needs of employees with hidden disabilities. This could include flexible working hours, remote work options, tailored communication methods, or modifications to the physical workspace.

We are always encouraging open dialogue between employees and their managers or HR about their needs and accommodations to create a culture of trust and mutual respect.

We also encourage employees with hidden disabilities to use the digital Sunflower badge in their email signature to enable their colleagues to be more mindful and supportive. 

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO OTHER ORGANISATIONS FOCUSING ON DEI IN 2024?

Often HR teams work on their organisation’s DEI strategy in isolation. Every company’s demographic is different, and every sector faces unique challenges, so my advice would be to first speak with your employees and find out what will make a difference with them.

Additionally, DEI should not be siloed as a standalone effort but integrated into all business strategies and processes including recruitment, retention, promotion practices, and even product development and marketing strategies.

It’s vital that DEI is infused in the company’s DNA and is embraced and championed by all levels of leadership. It's crucial for senior leaders to visibly support and actively participate in DEI initiatives, setting a tone that permeates the entire company.

In addition to leadership, data is a powerful tool to support your DEI efforts. Remember, one can only change what one measures, so make sure you are tracking and measuring things you actually want to shift. Use data analytics to identify gaps and measure the impact of DEI initiatives. More importantly be transparent, share your DEI goals, progress, and challenges both internally and externally. Transparency builds trust and accountability encourages continuous improvement.

Learn more about the Engage Awards here.

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