Diversity and Inclusion

6 Effective Diversity and Inclusion Strategies to Focus on in 2023

Diversity and inclusion strategies are essential for any forward thinking business to implement.  

Businesses that recognise the importance of diversion and inclusivity can look forward to improved employee satisfaction, higher retention rates and the ability to attract top talent. 

The big question is, how do you ensure diversity and inclusion in your workplace? We’re about to give you top strategies that you can implement in your workplace. 

Why is a diversity and inclusion strategy so important?

Throughout history, people have fought for equal rights. From the suffragettes to the Disabled Persons Employment Act of 1944 and today’s Equality Act (2010), we’ve seen many changes that ultimately protect all individuals today across communities that have faced discrimination and oppression. 

However, diversity and inclusion aren’t guaranteed in every workplace, so developing a strategy is essential. Given that almost half (47%) of UK employers don’t have a D&I strategy in place, despite the benefits, putting one in place will set you ahead of your competition.

And when employees trust their employer’s commitment to DE&I, their engagement can increase by  20% and the likelihood they will leave their organisation can decrease by 87%.

Making DE&I strategy not only the right thing to do, but essential for business progress.

a group of people celebrate LGBTQ+ inclusionDiversity and inclusion strategies ensure:

1. A positive company culture

Creating a positive company culture isn’t a luxury; it’s a necessity. According to Workplace Insight, 57% of people prioritise company culture over salary, which means every HR department needs to ensure employees feel supported and valued. 

2. Happy employees 

When you have an inclusion and diversity strategy, you ensure your employees feel safe and secure. Individuals from diverse backgrounds will be valued, and it also prevents bullying. 

Considering that SME Loans revealed that 23% of adults suffer bullying in the workplace, it’s clear how solid policies can make a difference. 

3. Diversity breeds creativity 

As the saying goes, two heads are better than one – and many people from different backgrounds mean you have a highly creative workforce. 

Different life experiences often mean people have unique perspectives of ideas and can contribute positively to business growth. 

What do D&I strategies get wrong?

Despite the growing emphasis on diversity and inclusion, many organisations struggle to develop effective strategies. One common mistake is treating diversity and inclusion as a checkbox exercise rather than a long-term commitment. 

Merely hiring diverse employees or implementing tokenistic initiatives is not enough. True inclusion requires creating an environment where everyone feels respected and valued and has equal growth opportunities. 

This is where it’s important to understand the difference between diversity and inclusion – luckily we’ve covered that in our article here.

Unfortunately, despite massive changes over the past decades, there is still inequality in the workplace, and companies might not even notice their biases

For example, research shows that Asian Americans are the most unlikely group to receive a promotion to management level in the US, and research by McKinsey indicates that African Americans are still likely to experience discrimination in the workplace. 

A lack of accountability can also hold a company back, especially when its leaders don’t prioritise diversity and inclusion initiatives, because they’ll quickly lose momentum and fail to bring about meaningful change.

Women in tech forum white paper: mentoring for womenEffective diversity and inclusion strategies 

So, now you know more about D&I strategies and why they’re so important, it’s time to look at how you can develop the right plans for your business and ensure you give your employees the support they deserve. 

1. Implement mentoring

One effective strategy is establishing mentoring programs for D&I that pair individuals from underrepresented groups with experienced employees who can provide guidance, support, and career advice. 

Mentoring programs create opportunities for knowledge transfer, skill development, and networking, helping individuals overcome barriers and advance in their careers. 

They’re also highly popular with forward-thinking companies that want to create a strong culture of support and inclusivity. 

Mentoring is proven highly effective for building inclusive cultures and reverse mentoring in particular can be transformative for improving cultural competency in your organisation.

2. Create sponsorship opportunities

Sponsorship goes beyond mentoring by providing active advocacy and support to individuals from underrepresented backgrounds. Sponsors use their influence and networks to promote their mentees, champion their accomplishments, and open doors to new opportunities.

By creating sponsorship programs, organisations can empower talented individuals to rise through the ranks and bridge the representation gap at leadership levels.

3. Start employee resource groups and networks

Employee resource groups (ERGs) and networks are voluntary, employee-led communities that unite individuals with shared backgrounds, experiences, or interests.

These groups provide a platform for networking, support, and cultural celebration. By fostering a sense of belonging and offering opportunities for personal and professional growth, ERGs contribute to a more inclusive workplace.

According to McKinsey, ERGs are central to inclusivity, so there’s never been a better time to implement one. 

4. Hold leaders accountable

Leadership plays a pivotal role in driving diversity and inclusion efforts, and clear expectations should be in place. Whether it’s company owners or stakeholders, leaders should have measurable goals to ensure progress when dealing with D&I policies. 

Leaders prioritising diversity and inclusion create a ripple effect throughout the organisation and set the tone for an inclusive culture.

5. Embed D&I into business strategies 

To ensure that diversity and inclusion become ingrained in the fabric of an organisation, they must be integrated into the overall business strategy. 

Aligning D&I goals with the company’s mission and vision, incorporating diversity considerations in decision-making processes, and integrating diversity and inclusion principles into talent management ensures the company doesn’t exclude anyone. 

By combining D&I into the company’s far-reaching mission, organisations can drive change and make inclusivity a core value—as long as its leaders support the strategy. 

6. Make sure D&I is everyone’s business

Creating an inclusive culture is not the HR department’s or diversity officers’ sole responsibility because it requires a collective effort from every individual within the organisation.

Companies should promote awareness and education about diversity and inclusion topics, encourage open dialogue, and provide resources and training to equip employees with the knowledge and skills to contribute to an inclusive environment. 

When diversity and inclusion become everyone’s business, organisations can foster a sense of belonging and create a thriving and equitable workplace.

Final thoughts 

In 2023 and beyond, organisations must prioritise diversity and inclusion to remain competitive and relevant in a rapidly changing world. 

D&I strategies, such as mentoring programs, sponsorship opportunities, employee resource groups, and accountability measures, create an environment where diversity is celebrated, inclusion is embraced, and everyone has equal opportunities to succeed. 

If you want to enhance your D&I strategy, why not get started today with our top-rated mentoring software and give your team the support they need to thrive? 

Diversity and Inclusion

Celebrating LGBTQ+ Mentors in History

Pride month is upon us once again, and Guider is celebrating some of our favourite LGBTQ+ mentors in history. From famous singers to activists and groups of mentors who teamed up together, you’re about to discover some of the most inspirational people ever. 

So, sit back, relax and get ready to be amazed at the impact these five mentors have had on society, progressing the rights of LGBTQ+ people around the world. 

The importance of celebrating LGBTQ+ figures 

Celebrating LGBTQ+ figures is vital for many reasons. Recognising and honouring their contributions fosters inclusivity, promotes equality, and creates a more accepting society. 

Let’s take a look at the top reasons why celebrating LGBTQ+ figures is important: 

Representation: Celebrating LGBTQ+ figures provides representation for individuals within the community who have historically been marginalised or overlooked. When we can see role models around us, it helps us feel seen, heard and valued. 

Challenging stereotypes: LGBTQ+ figures have contributed to fields such as the arts, science, politics, activism, and entertainment. By highlighting their achievements, we challenge stereotypes and misconceptions that still persist. 

Inspiring future generations: Recognising and celebrating LGBTQ+ figures sends a powerful message to younger generations. It shows them that their sexual orientation or gender identity does not limit their potential for success and that they can aspire to impact the world positively. 

Education and awareness: Celebrating LGBTQ+ figures help educate the broader society about the community’s challenges and the ongoing struggles that need attention and support. Remember, Pride is a protest. 

Fostering social change: Recognising LGBTQ+ figures contributes to the broader movement for social change and equal rights. By highlighting their achievements and stories, we encourage a shift in societal attitudes towards greater acceptance and respect for LGBTQ+ individuals.

LGBTQ+ mentors image5 LGBTQ+ mentors to celebrate

1. Elton John 

World famous musician, equally talented singer and global superstar… you’d think Elton John had his hands full already, but he also mentors young singers, helping them find their feet. 

We all know that Elton John is an out and proud man, who made it easier for young people to embrace their sexuality, but he goes even further with outreach, ensuring emerging talents can contact him. 

Elton spoke to Lorraine Kelly in an exclusive interview, stating that if he sees an impressive new talent, he reaches out to them and offers his support with their careers. 

These small gestures ensure new artists benefit from his wisdom and share their music with the world. He’s a prominent LGBTQ+ mentor in the music industry and shows us all the importance of supporting those following in our footsteps. 

Win-win for everyone? We sure think so. 

2. Audre Lorde 

Audre Lorde certainly had the odds stacked against her, being born at a time when being both a lesbian and African American were discriminated against. Despite the adversity facing her, Lorde fought for her rights, becoming a famous activist – and later – mentor. 

The spoken word artist was a passionate activist, fighting for civil rights, LGBTQ rights and rights for women too. 

While spending time in Berlin, Lorde became a mentor to May Ayim and other minority artists, academics and activists who had previously struggled to find their voice. 

She even approached heterosexual, white women, attempting to build bridges and relationships for all females to thrive. 

While she tragically died of breast cancer in 1992, her legacy lives on, and she remains an inspiration to African American and homosexual women worldwide. 

3. Switchboard 

While Switchboard is a helpline and not a person, it has mentored LGBTQ+ people for decades, and famous activists such as Lisa Power volunteered there. In March 1974, the helpline answered its first call and became a 24/7 service just a year later. 

Of course, Switchboard was instrumental during the Aids epidemic, offering support to people ostracised by society. 

Today, the helpline still supports people struggling to come to terms with their sexuality, giving them actionable tips and friendly advice. 

Switchboard might not be a single person, but its mentorship gives people a chance to accept themselves and enjoy a happier life. 

4. Leanne Pittsford 

If you’re in the tech industry, you’ve probably heard of Leanne Pittsford. The American entrepreneur grew up in a conservative household and found it hard to accept her sexuality until the end of college, but the experiences would inspire her future career. 

Having worked for Equality California, Pittsford started her own agency, Start Somewhere, and co-founded the Lesbian Mentoring Programme. 

However, she wasn’t done there because, in 2012, Leanne created Lesbians Who Tech – her most famous organisation. The organisation gives gay women in the industry the opportunity to network with other professionals and support each other. 

By 2016, there were over 15,000 members of the organisation and scholarships available through the programme. 

There’s no doubt that Pittsford has achieved a lot in her lifetime, but her willingness to help others sets her apart. She was also listed as one of Business Insider’s most influential people in tech. 

5. Ryan Murphy 

Ryan Murphy needs no introduction, with a host of TV shows under his belt, and actors like Sarah Paulson and Zachary Quinto regularly collaborate with him. The writer and producer is best known for American Horror Story, American Crime Story, Glee and Pose. 

Both Glee and Pose were instrumental in representing LGBTQ+ characters, but he also has a mentoring programme that aims to help female and minority directors get valuable experience and support from more experienced professionals. 

The Half Director Mentorship Programme ensures that all directors working on Ryan Murphy productions mentor minority and female directors through all stages of the production process. 

Not only does the initiative foster a supportive environment, but it also gives aspiring directors hands-on experience. It will continue to encourage more females to enter an industry once dominated by men. 

Final thoughts

As you can see, these mentors broke boundaries, were fearless in reaching out to others and made positive contributions to society as a whole. 

There’s so much we can learn from them, so why not start today and build a mentoring programme for your organisation?

Most importantly, have a fantastic pride month and don’t forget to pay it forward – support your LGBTQ+ colleagues, friends and partners in any way you can. 

Find out more about mentoring with Guider:

How to Make Your Workplace LGBTQ+ inclusive

How to Avoid Rainbow Washing This Pride Month

D&I Statistics to Bookmark in 2023

How to Improve D&I Through Mentoring

Racial Diversity in the Workplace: Boosting Representation in Leadership 

Diversity and Inclusion

Tackling Unconscious Bias in the Workplace: Definition, Examples, and Solutions

Unconscious bias happens without us realising it.

When we meet someone, it’s natural to make judgments about them based on a variety of characteristics. These may be positive  or negative and based on factors such as age, weight, accent, religious values etc.

Our brain makes quick judgements to help us understand someone even if we don’t feel that way. This unintentional bias can impact the way that we treat people, extending to recruitment, onboarding, and work-related activities. 

Without paying attention to bias – understanding our own and calling out other people’s – the negative effects can be devastating.

In fact, according to studies—25% of employees reported that their workplace tolerated racial jokes, 1 in 8 trans people were attacked, and 41% of employees reported having experienced discrimination due to their age. These stats prove biases and discrimination are still major issues in companies. 

The knock-on effects of this can affect the confidence, career-opportunities and mental health of those on the receiving end. As well as impacting company productivity and morale.

For HR and upper management, tackling this bias is of utmost importance as they are in charge of hiring, training, and upskilling employees.

In this guide, we will go over unconscious bias and discrimination, examples of unconscious bias, and how to deal with it. 

Tell me, what is unconscious bias exactly? 

Unconscious bias is making a quick judgement when we see or hear a person for the first time without knowing anything about them. We draw on our past lived experiences, stereotypes, or other social conditioning to form a quick impression of who someone is. 

Having biases is something natural, everyone has some level of it. This is because our minds need to compartmentalise information to understand better and make sense of it. The same protocol is applied to everyone we meet and have met in our lives. This also helps us to make quick decisions instinctively in high-stress scenarios that may protect us.

However, in a workplace, this can have a negative impact. Judging someone based on their name, appearance, or gut instinct can be unfair, even if the judgment is positive. We might not notice it, but the individual on the receiving end certainly can, creating a rift between employees and departments.

Women in tech forum white paper: mentoring for womenWhat is unconscious bias in the workplace? 

Unconscious bias in the workplace is what it sounds like—it’s biased opinions or judgements in the workplace. But, again, this is unintentional and a product of past or current experiences, notions established due to stereotypes, gut instincts, and cultural or societal expectations. 

There are many instances of employees being subjected to implicit bias, these include: 

  • Managers preferring employees with a specific education as they deem it important for the business
  • Women or people of colour being given menial or ‘non-promotable’ tasks

Physical conditions can also be a source of discrimination, as 50% of pregnant women reported having faced some kind of bias towards them due to their condition. It is also vital to understand that workplace discrimination leads to low morale, efficiency, and productivity, resulting in an unfavourable company image and low retention. 

What are examples of unconscious bias? 

As we have established, there are plenty of reasons for people to develop an unconscious bias in their daily lives and the workplace, but these can be categorised to help us better understand because only when we understand the issues can we move past them. 

Age bias in tech

According to AARP—the technological sector has the highest percentage of employees facing ageism, and a study from the University of Gothenburg (Sweden) resulted in a statistic that said people in tech deem “35” to be old. 

Age-based discrimination means older employees are seen as “out of touch” and can’t provide value any longer as times have changed, but this is based on the assumption that older employees haven’t stayed up to date with the latest trends. 

Disability bias

Employees with disabilities can be considered challenging to work with as their disabilities would keep them from ‘pulling their weight’, but a study conducted by Walgreens showed that abled and people with disabilities are equally as productive

In fact, many people with disabilities or long-term health conditions, are actually working harder than the average person to stay on top of their work while managing their health. The bias they experience can be stressful as people may feel that they have to over-work to be seen as equal to an able-bodied colleague.

Halo effect

The Halo effect has other names, such as the “what is beautiful is also good” principle and the “physical attractiveness” stereotype. This is a bias of our cognitive abilities in which the human mind transfers the perspective of one trait to other aspects.

For example: If an individual is physically attractive and well-spoken, then the overall image is that they are also good at their job and liked by others. However, this overwhelming positive influence can also subject the target to be seen as someone with no flaws and alter our judgement of them in a way that’s actually negative. 

Horns effect

This is the opposite of the Halo effect. The Horns effect is the overwhelmingly negative perception of any trait that leads to skewed or unfavourable judgement towards them. 

For example, a company releases a defective product that negatively impacts its image and reliability—while they may recover it over a period of time, that mishap will always be a part of the conversation whenever the company is being discussed.  

Affinity bias

Birds of a feather flock together—you probably have heard this before, and it’s an important point to explain how affinity bias works.

When people see others with similar experiences, educational and cultural backgrounds, upbringing, etc., they form a likeness towards them and favour them more. Which can lead to others being excluded and a loss of innovation as the group may not challenge each other to think differently. 

Listen to Angie Vaux on the Guided podcast on the importance of mentoring, coaching and personal advisory boards.How do we tackle unconscious bias and promote inclusive behaviours? 

This is infamously tricky, however there are various methods organisations can employ to tackle unconscious bias—let’s look at a few of those: 

1. Acknowledgement

The first step to dealing with any issue is realising and coming to terms with the fact that there is an issue that needs to be resolved. Everyone, regardless of where they come from, their religion, race, sexuality, or education—holds some form of unconscious bias.  

So only when you accept that these stigmas and notions are a part of life and are everywhere, affecting millions of people globally—will you move towards breaking them down and making a change for the better. 

2. Mentoring

Designing and implementing a custom-tailored mentorship program can do wonders to tackle unconscious bias in the workplace as it can focus on the root cause of the issues and provide experiences that can change the established notions. 

When you pair employees with different backgrounds to work together and learn from each other—they establish a bond beyond the workplace. Employees see the other side of the fence and realise that the stereotypes or assumptions they may have are just that and the other person is more or less like them—coming from similar backgrounds, having similar experiences in life, and facing the same challenges. This develops a feeling of relatability that eliminates bias and creates a diverse and positive working environment throughout the company. 

A mentoring system can also help streamline the onboarding process and provide employees with a comfortable and positive environment where they can be vocal about their issues and receive guidance from others, which will help them better settle in and raise their confidence and satisfaction. 

3. Lead by example

The employees will do what upper management asks them to do; if those actions have a negative effect, it will result in a negative company culture. Therefore, HR, managers, and other employees in a leadership positions should be role models for others to follow.  

Allow yourself to make mistakes, be vulnerable, and learn from them. This will create an environment where learning is prioritised, and the culture is diverse and cohesive. In addition, if the senior employees are facing these issues and have actively worked on them to reduce the impact of discrimination, then this will motivate others to do the same. 

4. Take an assessment test

These subtle stereotypes are so deeply and carefully embedded within us that, at times, even when we want to work on them, we can’t because it’s challenging to differentiate and pick out our flaws to change these deep-rooted notions. 

So self-assessment can be done via different tests, such as one test developed by Harvard called the “Implicit Association Test,” which helps you root out different associations you may have that result in the development of unconscious bias. 

The verdict 

Now that you better understand unconscious bias and how it can deteriorate an organisation’s culture, environment, and productivity, you can start to tackle it in your day-to-day work life.

Remember that, employees being discriminated against may have low motivation, confidence, and satisfaction, leading to a low retention rate for the company. 

And that mentoring is a highly effective solution to deal with implicit bias within your company as it helps employees understand each other and grow closer. So, If you’re looking for help setting up a mentorship program, consider talking to our expert team!

Check out our other articles for further reading: 

How to Champion Diversity in Remote Teams

Unlock the Power of Employee Resource Groups

50 D&I Statistics to Bookmark in 2023

How to Improve D&I With Mentoring

How to Build Psychological Safety

Avoid Rainbow Washing This Pride Month

Retain Top Female Talent With Guider

6 Effective Diversity and Inclusion Strategies to Implement

Diversity and Inclusion

Why We’re Refusing to ‘Embrace Equity’ This International Women’s Day

Wednesday 8th March 2023 marks International Women’s Day. First celebrated in 1911, the day originally forms part of the wider movement for women’s rights to vote, work and be free of discrimination. 

A quick search will tell you that this year’s theme is ‘Embrace Equity’ with everyone encouraged to share a hugging selfie. The idea is that this year we want to promote the difference between equality and equity. 

Sounds great right? But what if I told you that the official theme set by the UN is actually DigitALL: Innovation and Technology for Gender Equality? It’s evidence-based and encompasses a tangible real-world issue that women and girls face worldwide. No selfies necessary. 

Each year, International Women’s Day is co-opted and this year we’ve had enough. 

What’s wrong with ‘Embrace Equity’? 

Let’s start by saying that we obviously believe in embracing equity.

Individuals need different tools to overcome systemic barriers. And advancing the rights of women around the globe means recognising that we need the right tools to do it. This is where equity is essential. 

But what we don’t need is to ‘embrace’ equity with a selfie on social media. Who does this serve? 

It makes the fight for gender parity look warm and cosy. It frames the ongoing fight for women’s rights as something frivolous. It prioritises a catchy buzzword over impact. And, to be frank, it’s patronising. 

Can you imagine any other cause telling people to hug themselves to a better future? No. 

Because when we reduce the fight for women’s rights to a catchy phrase and hand gesture that lacks substance, we’re missing a vital opportunity to talk about the real-world impacts of a lack of equity.  

We don’t need to embrace equity with a fluffy selfie. We need to continue to fight for it through ongoing action and education. 

What the UN’s goals mean for women’s empowerment

That’s why we’re choosing to support the UN’s theme for International Women’s Day: DigitALL: Innovation and Technology for Gender Equality

It focuses attention on the digital skills gap between genders. And given that 259 million fewer women than men use the internet, there is a clear, gendered barrier to accessing digital skills. 

This has lasting impacts on:

  • which careers women can pursue,
  • our contribution to the STEM fields that shape our future, 
  • And women’s access to essential information and services. 

On top of this, the theme highlights the disparities in women’s safety online. Women and girls are more likely to experience harassment and violence in digital spaces, adding another barrier to access. 

Based on research and evidence the UN’s theme has clear real-world impact and goals. It highlights a specific and important issue that impacts millions of women and girls worldwide.

Why we support DigitALL at Guider 

Look, we’re all for educating people on the difference between equity and equality. We even put together a guide to help you. 

But we’re also here for tangible, evidence-based initiatives that get results. The UN’s theme is specific, actionable and backed up by stats. That’s what we like to see. 

Because here at Guider, we know how important it is for women to have the tools they need to upskill, find support and progress in their careers. And without essential digital skills and access to the internet, women and girls will be left behind. 

We’re already using our tech to give access to mentoring and peer learning to women around the world. We believe in the power that mentoring plays in supporting not only digital upskilling but in breaking down systemic barriers for women across industries such as tech. 

So, if you’re looking for ways to support closing the digital skills gap for women in 2023, here are 3 ways that mentoring can help: 

  • Digital upskillingOne benefit of mentoring is its ability to upskill at scale. We are far more likely to retain knowledge that’s been imparted by a person we trust. Making mentors essential for learning.Pairing people across your organisation that have key digital skills, with those that want to learn, is a fantastic way to share knowledge and develop your employees.
  • Opening up access in techWe work with companies such as Reed to power mentoring programs that connect women in tech with the people they need to succeed.Mentoring creates pathways for women to network, plan their careers and grow in order to access promotions and other opportunities. Given the lack of representation for women across industries such as tech, it’s essential that we provide additional support.
  • Creating specific, measurable pathways to successIt’s time to make supporting women specific and impactful. With mentoring software, you can create tailored program objectives and track progress all in one place.No more fluffy women’s empowerment goals. Set yourself up for success by mapping out a clear plan of how you’re going to support women and close the digital skills gap. Best of all you can measure, monitor and improve your program along the way.

📖 Find out more about some of our work supporting women through mentoring here 📖

In order to reach true gender parity in our lifetime, it’s essential that we address the digital skills gap. To do this, we need to create woman focused tech and provide access to essential digital skills.

That’s why this International Women’s Day, we’re supporting the UN’s official theme. We believe empowering women through tech is essential. Without it, we cannot create an equitable future for all. 

Are you ready to join us?

Diversity and Inclusion

Unlock the Power of ERGs in Your Workplace

So, you’ve heard the term, ERG, but do you know what it means? In the world of workplace acronyms, this one’s essential to get right.

ERG stands for Employee Resource Group. It’s important for any workplace, or employee, interested in creating an inclusive culture to be aware of ERGs and their benefits. 

We all know that fostering an inclusive culture has long-term positive impacts on employee engagement, retention and productivity. 

Employee resource groups go further and create communities for people to find support, discuss issues and advocate for themselves and others in a safe, proactive group. 

In this guide, we take you through what ERGs are, who can join and the benefits of setting them up. 

What is an Employee Resource Group or ERG? 

Put simply, ERGs bring people together for mutual support in the workplace. They are communities that an organisation will set up to better support employees. 

They can be formed based on shared characteristics such as race, gender, sexuality, religion or any other protected characteristic. 

“ERGs are not clubs, extracurricular work or hobbies. Fighting the status quo is a hard choice to make.” Cherie Caldwell, Head of DEI (Salesloft)

The group work together to share information, support each other and run events and activities. In larger organisations, multiple ERGs can exist across the business to support a wide range of people. 

What groups can create an ERG? 

As we said, there are many people that can form an employee resource group.

This could be based on a protected characteristic including:

  • Age
  • Disability
  • Gender
  • Pregnancy and maternity
  • Race
  • Religion or belief
  • Sex
  • Sexual orientation

Or other groups such as carers can form an ERG for mutual support in the workplace.

How do ERGs add value? 

ERGs create a sense of community for people who feel marginalised or underrepresented in the workplace. They also provide a way for employees to advocate for and promote diversity and inclusion at work. 

This adds value to an organisation by improving the employee experience of your people, offering channels of support and creating lasting change. This leads to better retention and offers an attractive benefit to new joiners.

What are the benefits of setting up Employee Resource Groups? 

The benefits of ERGs are wide-ranging. From developing leaders to a more inclusive culture, there are many reasons to start an ERG.

Just some of the benefits you can expect to see include:

  • Developing future leaders: Nurture and develop your future leaders by providing opportunities through resource groups. It’s a great way to spot new leaders and nurture talent. 
  • Fostering an inclusive culture: ERGs create communities where everyone can feel seen, heard and supported. By creating these groups you can actively foster an inclusive culture.
  • Creating safe spaces: Finding ways to support your people can be difficult. Creating safe spaces for employees to talk means they can share and resolve issues, leading to higher retention and employee happiness.
  • Raising awareness: ERGs are effective at providing educational opportunities in the workplace on key DE&I topics. They can be a vital tool for advocacy and educating your people across the business.
  • Creating pathways to make change: Bringing people together means that no one will be singled out for speaking up. If you want to create people-led change in your workplace, ERGs are a great way to do that.
  • Enhancing organisational reputation: By demonstrating your commitment to diversity and inclusion through ERGs, you can improve your external organisational reputation. Building better relationships with customers, suppliers and other external stakeholders that value DE&I has lasting benefits to your bottom line and more. 

Can allies join ERGs? 

The good news is, allies can join an ERG to support their colleagues and drive positive change in their organisation too. This goes a long way to creating a culture of support across the business. 

The important thing to remember is that as an ally your role is to listen and act where you can. As an ally, you should aim to listen more than you speak when participating in a group.

Women in tech forum white paper: mentoring for womenAre ERGs effective? 


According to a Deloitte survey, 79% of companies with ERGs saw an increase in employee engagement as a result. 

On top of this, ERGs have been shown to build trust and create more inclusive workplace cultures. They’re a highly effective D&I strategy to implement in your organisation. 

People thrive when they feel safe to bring their whole selves to work. Creating communities is a fantastic way to improve DE&I in your organisation. 

📖 Find out more key stats on Diversity and Inclusion in our guide 📖

How can I ensure I get the most out of my ERG? 

Three ways to improve the effectiveness of your ERG:

1. Make the purpose clear

ERGs work when there is a clear focus to the group. This means that people can join confidently knowing whether the group is for them.

Maintain alignment and direction of your ERGs by setting out clearly what the purpose, goals and structure of your group will be. This includes aligning with wider DE&I strategies to avoid mis-matched priorities.

2. Get senior leadership buy-in 

This goes for any company wide initiative, from mentoring to employee resource groups. Getting support from senior leaders ensures visibility of the initiative and that ERG leaders receive the recognition they deserve.

3. Manage expectations 

ERGs can be incredibly effective at tackling a number of issues in the workplace. However, it’s important that those joining the group are getting the right information about what to expect.

If you’re starting a group to improve career progression for a community underrepresented in leadership, it’s important that this is clearly communicated and that it stays a top priority for the group. Otherwise, members may become disillusioned with the groups progress.

So, what are you waiting for? If you’re a DE&I lead or other people professional, setting up an employee resource group could be the key to unlocking potential in your people and creating an environment in which everyone can thrive. 

And, with Guider’s software, you can easily facilitate connections between your people – we do more than just mentoring! 

Want to connect your ERGs and spark relationships that get results? Speak to our team to find out more. 

Diversity and Inclusion

50 Diversity and Inclusion Statistics You Need to Bookmark in 2023

It’s increasingly vital to create diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace. 

Organisations worldwide are not only realising the value of diverse and inclusive teams but, more and more, it’s what employees are demanding from their employers. 

So, if you’re looking to back up your case for DE&I at your organisation and show why diversity and inclusion are important, then look no further. 

Here are the key diversity and inclusion statistics you need to bookmark in 2023:

Diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace

The business case for diversity and inclusion

Let’s break diversity and inclusion in the workplace down…

Ageism in the workplace

Gender inequality in the workplace

📖 Find out more about attracting and retaining female talent in our guide 📖

Racial inequality in the workplace

📖 Find out more about boosting racial diversity in the workforce here 📖

LGBTQ+ discrimination in the workplace

Yet, diversity and inclusion in the workplace done right means:

📖 Read our guide to supporting LGBTQ+ staff through mentoring for more 📖

Disability and ableism at work

  • In the UK, there is a disability employment gap with an employment rate of 53.1% for disabled women compared to 84.2% of non-disabled women and 51.3% for disabled men compared to 77.8% of non-disabled men. 
  • There is a 47.5% point employment gap for people disabled by mental health conditions. 
  • A 2019 study showed that inclusive working environments for disabled employees generated on average 28% higher revenue than those that didn’t. 

Mental health at work

  • Following the effects of the pandemic in 2020, feelings of loneliness reached a record high in UK adults.
  • 1 in 6 people of working age in the UK experience symptoms of mental ill health. 
  • 50% of employees have experienced at least 1 symptom of burnout at work
  • Poor mental health costs UK employers approx. £56 billion each year. This has increased by 25% since 2019. 
  • For every pound spent by employers on mental health support, £5.30 is returned through reduced; absence, presenteeism, and staff turnover. 
  • Harvard Business Review conducted a study researching the positive effects of mentoring on mentors. People who served as mentors experienced lower levels of anxiety, and described their job as more meaningful, than those who did not mentor. 

📖 Read our guide to designing mentoring programs to support mental health for more 📖

Workplace social mobility

We hope that these statistics empower you and your business case for DE&I, helping to build a more equitable future for all 🙌

To find out more about how mentoring can support diversity and inclusion at your organisation, speak to our team today. 

Diversity and Inclusion

How to Improve Diversity and Inclusion With Mentoring

It’s natural that companies want their employees to feel nurtured, valued and supported. But it’s only a successful effort if everybody is feeling that way.

A diverse and inclusive organisation is therefore one that employs and equally supports people of all genders, races, religions, sexual orientations, abilities, ages, backgrounds, appearances, and languages.

There are many ways companies can be actively improving their inclusivity in order to achieve a truly diverse workplace. One of those ways is by using mentoring for diversity and inclusion.

In general, the benefits of mentoring are extensive. But utilising mentoring for diversity and inclusion, you can truly make an impact. In this guide, we’ll talk you through how mentoring can support diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives, and provide some tips from our learnings here at Guider.

But first…

Why is diversity and inclusion important?

Everybody navigates the world differently. Our characteristics – both physical and personal – affect the way we experience life, resulting in a vast range of perspectives.

In order to best understand anything (be it a problem, a method, or an experience) we need to have as many of these perspectives involved as possible.

Seems intuitive doesn’t it?

Unfortunately not. When managers were asked for factors stopping them implementing diversity, many quoted the worry that too many differing opinions would hamper productivity.

When the reality is, diversity in organisations has been proven time and time again to have a positive impact on innovation and success. When it comes to decision making, diverse teams outperform both individual and non-diverse teams, making better business decisions every time.

Naturally, this positively affects the bottom line. A study by BCG found that companies with diverse management teams make 19% more revenue, showing how D&I is not limited to an HR goal, but is ultimately good for the economy.

We’ve written a guide on Racial Diversity in the Workplace: Boosting Representation in Leadership with actionable tips for businesses to step up and tackle systemic racial inequality

What is diversity and inclusion in the workplace?

Firstly, it’s important to acknowledge that diversity and inclusion are different things:

      ️  Diversity is the goal for a workforce to be made up of a broad variety of people.

      ️  Inclusion is a method to ensure everybody is equally factored into that group.

So, despite diversity and inclusion being grouped together, the way to tackle these issues can actually be contradictory.

For example, if you’re looking to run a mentoring program to increase diversity, you may select a particular minority group and pair individuals in that group with mentors in order to achieve a goal. However, this will not be inclusive if you only make the program available to that one group.

This is something to be aware of before you group them together and set up a ‘Diversity and Inclusion Mentoring Program’.

11 Examples of inclusion

What does inclusion look like in real-life? Here are 11 examples of inclusive behaviours at work in action:

  1. Make sure everyone is heard. Noticed someone was interrupted in a meeting? Actively direct the attention back to that person to give them the chance to finish speaking.
  2. Create a collaborative environment in which everyone can contribute ideas.
  3. Set-up pronoun options on your company communications tools.
  4. Make sure everyone has the chance to speak in meetings by actively inviting them to talk.
  5. Allow people to select their best ways of working for example 1:1 meetings or a quiet environment for working.
  6. Practice active listening with your colleagues.
  7. Focus on fostering psychological safety where people aren’t afraid to make mistakes.
  8. Openly give credit for ideas and success to the correct person.
  9. Create channels for open feedback that go both ways.
  10. Provide non-alcoholic drinks options at company socials as well as food options that take into account dietary needs..
  11. Implement a bank holiday exchange scheme that means people can celebrate the religious holiday of their choice each year.

What is equity and equality in the workplace?

Another pair of key terms is equity and equality. With diversity, equity and inclusion or diversity, equality and inclusion often grouped together you may wonder what these words mean.

       Equality means giving everyone the same opportunities and resources.

       Equity means allocating opportunities and resources so that everyone can achieve the same outcome.

As you can see, these two terms are similar but not the same. Aiming for equity will mean paying greater attention to the way that you allocate your time and resources. This accounts for the systemic inequalities and barriers that exist that cannot be overcome with the same resources.

Find out more about the benefits of embedding mentoring in your diversity and inclusion initiatives with Guider.

How to promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace through mentoring

Workplace mentoring programs are a great way to promote diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace. As we’ve outlined, there are differences between the key terms, so the way you approach setting up your programs will differ depending on who you are trying to support.

Let’s look at some examples:

Mentoring programs for diversity

The aim of mentoring programs for diversity is to support and empower minority employees in their career progression, developing their skills and network to increase leadership succession.

This typically involves pairing high potential employees from minority groups, with senior management level employees to diversify the talent pipeline within organisations. This is known as reverse mentoring for diversity and inclusion. The other types of mentoring an be used for diversity mentorship programs too, but reverse mentoring is often the most common.

As with starting any mentoring program, businesses looking to implement a diversity mentoring program must first outline the goals. Try and be more specific here than just ‘fostering a culture of diversity’ – perhaps you’re looking to increase employee retention within a minority group, or encourage more black women into leadership roles. Whatever the goal is, define it before starting and understand how you will measure success.

Depending on the goal, size of organisation, and current diversity status, the way the program is set up will differ. In order to avoid the contradiction of a highly-exclusive diversity program, you can make it open but prioritise the under-represented groups that it is aimed to support.

For a full step by step guide to setting up a mentoring program, check out our full guide:

Read our guide: How To Start A Mentoring Program

Mentoring programs for inclusion

Alongside a tailored diversity mentoring program, HR and L&D teams can also run mentoring programs supporting a culture of inclusion. You can utilise your employee resource groups (ERGs) to promote and recruit participants to your program.

A good example of where mentoring for inclusion can have a real impact is age discrimination within the tech industry. 41% of IT and tech workers have witnessed age discrimination in the workplace, and 32% fear losing their roles due to ageism.

In this case, a number of companies have seen great success from reverse mentoring. Younger employees mentoring older employees and supporting them in their learning of digital skills can be hugely beneficial to everyone involved.

In this kind of mentorship, the younger employee will naturally also learn a lot, creating an inclusive culture of learning and development.

By making mentoring an integral part of your company culture, you will naturally foster the sharing of knowledge, aspiration and development amongst all your employees, contributing to a diverse and thriving workplace.‍


‍Striving to create a diverse, equitable and inclusive workforce should be a number one priority for all businesses.

While external training and courses may have a positive impact, particularly with leadership teams, the best way to enact change is through the people already within the business. This is where diversity and inclusion mentoring can really make an impact.

Mentoring harnesses the people in an organisation to learn and grow together, to share experiences and knowledge, and level up inclusivity in the workplace across the board. That’s why mentoring is such an effective method to support diversity, equity and inclusion in your organisation.

Want to find out how Guider can help? Book a demo now to speak with our team. 

Read more:

LGBTQ+ Mentors in History

Reverse Mentoring a Complete Guide

Tackling Unconscious Bias in the Workplace

DE&I Statistics to Bookmark in 2023

Unlock the Power of ERGs in Your Workplace

How to Build Psychological Safety at Work

How to Avoid Rainbow-Washing This Pride Month

6 Effective D&I Strategies to Implement 

Diversity and Inclusion

How to Build Psychological Safety in Mentoring


Top takeaways: 

  1. Psychological safety is the feeling that there will be no negative consequences from speaking openly, sharing critical information or being vulnerable. It can apply to our personal relationships and at work.
  2. It’s essential in mentoring for creating the right space to learn and grow together, which means taking psychological safety into consideration
  3. You can factor psychological safety into the design of your program by setting clear expectations, providing training, thinking about location and factoring in feedback 

In any relationship, psychological safety and trust are at the core of how and why that relationship works. This is especially true at work and in workplace mentoring. Unfortunately, psychological safety at work is a concept that you’re most likely to come across when you experience a lack of it.

By understanding what it is and how to build it, we can transform our workplaces and mentoring programs. This goes hand in hand with creating inclusive workplaces too, as we need to feel seen, valued and heard to feel included.

Sounds great right? But what is psychological safety in the workplace and how can we build it in mentoring programs?

What is psychological safety in the workplace?

Put simply, psychological safety is the feeling that there will be no negative consequences from speaking openly, sharing critical information or being vulnerable.

In the workplace, this means that employees can freely share their thoughts and ideas without fear of doing harm to their careers. A company or team with good psychological safety is one where everyone feels respected and accepted.

This is particularly important in relationships such as workplace mentoring, in which the purpose is personal growth and development.

When there is a lack of psychological safety, people don’t feel comfortable sharing ideas, expressing themselves or challenging one another. This leads to a loss of innovation and creativity and inhibits learning.

Find out more about embedding mentoring in your HR initiatives with Guider.

What are the benefits of psychological safety at work?

There are wide-ranging benefits to creating psychological safety in your workplace and in your mentoring program. In fact, a multi-year Google study found that the single biggest contributor to successful, high-performing teams was psychological safety.

And this makes sense, given that psychological safety makes people feel included, valued and connected, as well as encouraging people to share ideas openly, which leads to innovation. When we feel valued in our relationships we are much more likely to thrive. This also goes hand in hand with making workplaces more inclusive, as both activities share the same goal.

Further benefits include:

  • Increased confidence
  • Higher levels of trust
  • More room for creativity
  • Increased innovation
  • More engaged and productive teams
  • Improved mental health and lower stress
  • Faster learning and growth

It’s important to remember there are benefits to psychological safety at work for leaders and mentors too! Everyone needs to feel safe to ask questions, try new things and show vulnerability. When this happens, there is more space to build trust and rapport, leading to growth. In leadership, psychological safety is a powerful tool.

In mentoring, psychological safety between the mentor and mentee is essential for creating a space for learning and growth by allowing both parties to feel comfortable sharing and learning. On top of this, mentoring can increase perceptions of workplace psychological safety, making it an invaluable asset to your organisation’s culture.

When people feel psychologically safe in their relationships, the sky is the limit.

What happens when there is a lack of psychological safety?

Unfortunately, many people may have experienced a lack of psychological safety in the workplace, which has lasting impacts on how we feel at work and in new mentorships.

It can lead to:

  • Lack of confidence
  • Inhibited innovation and creativity
  • Culture of fear and blame
  • Stress and poor wellbeing
  • Lack of employee engagement
  • Higher attrition of staff
  • Avoidable mistakes and danger

As you can expect, teams and relationships in which people don’t feel safe to be themselves, share ideas or be vulnerable are detrimental in a number of ways. It can lead to poor morale, employee churn and, in worst cases, employee burnout. This is why it’s important to be aware of creating a culture of psychological safety and pro-actively work to do this.

So, why not implement a mentoring program to increase psychological safety in your workplace? Or factor workplace psychological safety into your existing mentoring program? With some careful consideration, it’s something that you can build into the very fabric of your mentoring experience.

📖‍ Read more on how to start a mentoring programme in our guide 📖

How do I create psychological safety in my mentoring program?

The good news is that you can level up your mentoring program to encourage psychological safety from the start.

Here are our top ways to build psychological safety in your mentoring program:

Set clear expectations

In order to commit to mentoring and open up to learning and growth, participants need to understand the boundaries and expectations of the program.

As a program lead, it’s important to communicate clearly what the aims of the program are, who it’s for, and what’s expected of participants. Make sure everyone is aware that mentoring is a confidential relationship and not related to performance reviews.

Mentoring relies on mentees being more vulnerable, so it’s crucial to remove it from their performance reports and distance it from their line managers, assuring that layer of privacy.” Megan Taljaard, Learning and Development Business Partner at ASOS

If there’s a lack of psychological safety in your organisation, you will need to do some groundwork to build trust in the program before asking people to join. To do this you can; run awareness events on mentoring, trial a pilot program, build up a bank of mentoring champions and identify strong senior leaders to spearhead your program.

Provide training

It’s the responsibility of us all to build psychological safety at work. To support this, you can provide both mentors and mentees with resources and training to help them to understand what psychological safety is and how to build it. If you’re using mentoring software such as Guider, resources such as this are built into our mentoring platform’s learning hub.

You can also encourage learning as a mentoring community. For example, bringing together mentors to swap stories and advice can help them to feel comfortable being vulnerable. Admitting we don’t have all the answers can be hard, but vulnerability is an important step in creating a culture of safety and trust.

Here at Guider, our new Learning Hub includes articles and videos on topics such as creating psychological safety and more. We also run training sessions at strategic points throughout programs from kick-off to close, to teach people how to be good mentors and mentees.

Guider mentoring software banner advert including a smiling woman looking at a screen


Think about location

Incorporating safe spaces for your mentors and mentees to meet is a great way to reinforce confidentiality. While psychological safety comes down to how people interact, it’s important not to forget how our surroundings can affect how we feel.

For some, speaking in a private room feels like the safest way to ensure confidentiality. Yet for others, a crowded coffee shop is the winner. Offering several dedicated spaces for mentoring is essential for allowing participants to build psychological safety together.

Don’t forget that you can also offer virtual mentoring for remote or hybrid workers and global teams to connect from the place that works best for them.

Read our guide to making virtual mentoring work for more.

Ask for Feedback

Admitting that we don’t have all the answers is a powerful tool in leadership and in building psychological safety at work. This starts with program leads too!

Factoring feedback into your mentoring program will keep you on track. It also shows a willingness to be vulnerable and ask others for input. Role modelling this behaviour in the design of your program shows your mentors and mentees that their feedback is valued and that it’s ok to ask for guidance.

It’s also a vital opportunity to assess whether your program participants have the psychological safety they need to grow. Using surveys at the beginning, middle and end of your program, or at regular intervals for an ongoing program, you can check in and make changes as needed.

Cultivating psychological safety in workplace mentoring takes thought and time. In the long term, this can be the single biggest way to ensure the success of your mentoring program and your workplace culture in general. By understanding psychological safety at work and factoring it into the design of your mentoring program, you’ll go a long way toward creating the right environment for your people to make the most of mentoring.

To find out more about how mentoring can supercharge your organisation, book a chat with us today.

Diversity and Inclusion

Inclusion in the Workplace With Guider People Network

On Thursday 8th September, we held our first in-person Guider People Network event; a fireside session on inclusion in the workplace.

Run by our Community Manager, Danika, the event brought together professionals from a wide range of industries to discuss the key challenges, and solutions, to creating true inclusion at work.

It was a fantastic event. We were so impressed by how engaged everyone was and the ideas that came out of the session. To celebrate, we’ve put together the key learnings from our three fantastic speakers’ fireside conversations.

The Speakers

Priyaneet Kainth, Global DE&I Manager at Haleon 

Our first fireside speaker was Priyaneet Kainth who spoke to us about managing inclusion during periods of transition. She is a strong leader in D&I, delivering the global strategy for Haleon that has advocated and influenced change for those with differences, so their voices are heard.

Marcel De Jonghe, D&I Consultant at Capita 

Marcel De Jonghe, CMgr MCMI spoke to us about creating opportunities for groups who previously haven’t had the chance and privilege. Marcel is a D&I Consultant at Capita, who helps to challenge the norms to ensure that all colleagues have a safe space.

Chloë Gillard, Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging Manager at Version 1

Chloë Gillard was our final fireside speaker who spoke on how leaders’ roles are key in advocating for diversity and inclusion. Chloë has been working in the D&I space for about 6 years across various sectors and is passionate about the work she does.

Danika introducing the fireside event in front of a welcome slide

The Event

With a great turnout, we welcomed guests before digging straight into a group exercise. Each group was asked to identify key challenges in workplace inclusion that they face or are passionate about, before identifying what can be done about them and how.

As the groups moved around the tables, it was clear that everyone had plenty to say about the challenges and solutions to creating inclusive workplaces. After a networking break, it was time for the fireside chat with our panel of experts.

Below we share the highlights from each speaker’s presentation:

Priyaneet Kainth on ‘Managing Inclusion During Periods of Transition’

First up, we heard from Priyaneet, a DEI professional that transitioned from advocacy work to a full-time role in DEI. From her own experience she’s learned how to navigate the world as someone living with an invisible disability but it’s not always been easy. This is why she is so passionate about her work in DEI and how she can support others.

She kicked off by sharing that, during periods of transition, the first key point is the importance of getting senior sponsorship.

During her personal journey, Priyaneet volunteered to manage the UK disability network in her organisation. This was fulfilling but challenging as she had to push her own passion to management and get them on board. She now works closely to influence senior leaders and get their buy-in in order to drive inclusion.

Priyaneet also recommended mentoring and coaching as key ways to support inclusion during transitions:

“It’s all based on an individual’s values and beliefs on how you move forwards. Our stories are so different and there’s no right or wrong answer. It’s about being inclusive and not judgemental to understand people’s different perspectives.”

This leads to a wider point: it’s in everyone’s interest to work on inclusion, across departments, particularly when managing transitions it’s important to get buy-in from across the business.

As someone that transitioned herself from activist to DEI professional, she’s learned the importance of self-awareness to the process. You need to understand where you are on your journey and where your values and beliefs lie. This means checking your unconscious bias and prejudice, so that you can put your own feelings aside and focus on what’s right for the company.

“DEI is an enabler for our culture, not an add-on, it’s not a nice to have. It needs to be in the DNA of culture.”

She reminded us that we’re making a culture for future generations. You have to learn your company’s culture and values to drive change, instead of relying on your own. Avoiding emotional exhaustion as a DEI leader is important and a valuable lesson.

Thank you to Priyaneet for sharing your expertise with us in an interesting and insightful talk. 

Marcel De Jonghe on ‘Equity and Privilege’

Marcel’s talk focussed on privilege and how this informs equity. He began by defining privilege and asking us all to think about what areas of privilege we each have.

While conversations around privilege can be uncomfortable, particularly if someone misunderstands the conversation as an attack, he reiterated that understanding your privilege is important for seeing how you can help others.

“Privilege is the birth lottery. There are things which you are given that you haven’t asked for. The best way to explain is that it’s an unearned benefit. Some things we can change over a lifetime but for some we can’t.”

Using the metaphor of a hand that you’ve been dealt, Marcel talked us through examples of the different types of privilege we can have.

A graphic of a selection of cards identifying the different types of privilege: white, religious, gender, heterosexual and socioeconomic

Firstly, he reiterated that white privilege is not an attack, it is a fact that white people have privilege in our society and acknowledging this is not shameful. Similarly, we still live in a predominantly Christian, Anglican country, so there is a religious privilege to following this faith over others. We also know that gender privilege grants development opportunities and affects salary, among other things, meaning being born male is a privilege. There are also heterosexual and socioeconomic privileges, to name a few.

A lack of privilege then perpetuates. So, how can you push through the barriers placed around you and how can you change your cards? Well, that’s where privilege can actually help.

By understanding our own cards, we can use them to help others. Marcel told us to look internally, acknowledge our own privilege and understand that we can use that to empower other people. This is in turn means other people can break through barriers.

So, what do you do with this privilege? 

A graphic of how to pay privilege forwards: introductions, sponsorship, participation, education and elephant.

Thank you Marcel for a fascinating talk – we encourage everyone to take a moment to think about what privilege they have in life, and how to pay it forwards. 

Chloë Gillard on ‘How a Leader’s Role in Advocating is Key in D&I’

Our final speaker of the evening, Chloë Gillard, followed on nicely from Marcel’s talk about privilege and delved into a leader’s role in advocating.

Chloë is a global Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging lead for the tech company, Version 1. Her path into this wasn’t through D&I or tech but she began her career in sport and exercise science and, like many people, ‘fell’ into D&I.

Her first point was just that; D&I shouldn’t be something that’s lumped in with HR or one team, it shouldn’t be a niche that you fall into. It should be driven and filtered down across every team within an organisation.

“We might be the owners of D&I but that doesn’t mean the responsibility lies with just us. It is the responsibility of every single person within an organisation and until that’s the case it is not part of the culture.”

Getting company-wide buy-in on this takes a lot of difficult conversations. She said that a big thing as an advocate in D&I is that we have to understand our own privilege to be able to empower the voices of others.

“If you are a true advocate for D&I, you are not the one doing the talking. You’re the one holding the microphone so that others’ voices can be heard.”

This means that as an ally, you haven’t given yourself that label but it’s given to you through the actions that you are willing to take. Chloë also used the analogy that she is the train driver whose job is to keep the train on track. Her message ties in really well with the other speakers and shows how integral self-awareness and understanding your privilege are in D&I.

She then went on to make three key points:

  • That our role is to change the system, not to ask people to change to fit the system. To get that narrative up to the higher echelons of an organisation is really hard, but when it starts to truly filter into people, that’s when change really happens
  • When you start to understand your own privilege you realise that, to walk in someone else’s shoes, you have to take your own off. That level of self-awareness is needed to understand the work you need to do
  • As a D&I leader, your role is to lead from the back in what’s called servant leadership. It’s also important to understand that not everyone is ready to speak yet, but that when they are, it’s your job to ensure the mechanisms are in place to support them to be heard

Finally, Chloë reminded us that we need to embrace disagreement with empathy. We live in a world filled with unique people and D&I is not just a cherry on top but an essential. By leading with empathy we can create inclusive, psychologically safe workplaces.

Thank you Chloë for an engaging and memorable talk. 

We want to say a big thank you to all of our speakers and everyone that attended the first of many in-person events. Thank you to Danika, our Community Manager, for organising such an interesting event. We hope to see you all again soon!

Want to join us? The GPN is open! If you’re interested in joining a community of like-minded professionals across HR, L&D and D&I, then sign-up today

A banner for the Guider People Network to join the community with three people on it.


Diversity and Inclusion

How to Expand Your Diversity and Inclusion Mentoring Program

This July, we ran a special Guider People Network (GPN) session, with a group of our clients from Deloitte, Clyde & Co, and more.

The session brought together program leads to discuss the successes and challenges of their programs, specifically in the area of diversity and inclusion. This was a chance for people to connect with each other, discuss how things are going, problem solve and share advice.

If you missed our GPN session, or are interested in finding out more about how to expand your D&I mentoring program, we’ve put together the key learnings below.

A big thank you to all who attended; Naomi Boachie-Ansah at Clyde & Co, Hannah Rubin and Marne Braddock at PVH, Helen Giblin at Deloitte, and Laura Kernaghan at The Talent Tap. As well as our Community Manager, Danika Patel for hosting another fantastic session and our Customer Success Manager, Holly Bradfield!

What is the GPN?

The Guider People Network is a fast-growing community of engaged professionals working across Learning, HR, L&D, People and Talent. Led by its members, for its members, the GPN focuses on running sessions that build community and allow us to crowd-source learning together.

To find out more about the GPN and how to join head to our community page.


How to expand your workplace diversity & inclusion mentoring programs

To introduce the session, Danika talked about the key ways that mentoring programs can support both diversity and inclusion:

How mentoring supports workplace diversity

  • Promotion & retention rates: Mentoring can make people feel valued, seen and that they belong at work, which leads to better retention rates as people want to stay and advance in companies where they thrive.
  • Advocates & sponsors: Mentoring is an excellent gateway to sponsorship and advocacy, where leaders use their influence to advocate for positions, responsibilities and networks.
  • Increasing visibility: A huge challenge for minority employees is that you don’t see people that look like you in roles you aspire to be in. So mentoring can help you to find those people, and guide you to reach those top positions.
  • Personal network: Similarly, mentoring can expand your network and connect you to people in your organisation or industry that you wouldn’t normally have the chance to speak to.

‍How mentoring fosters inclusivity

  • Broadening perspectives: Through connecting people that are different from you regularly, perspectives can be broadened leading to more inclusive mindsets.
  • Cultural competence: For cultural competence to improve in an organisation, people need to talk to one another and learn. Mentoring is a great way to do this.
  • Human-to-human connection: Change comes from human-to-human connection. This is what mentoring is all about and is an area that some inclusion programmes lack.
  • Creating safe spaces: Mentoring is a confidential, safe space for people to build trust and be honest. Safe spaces are important in inclusivity, as it means people can bring their whole selves to work and feel safe and supported doing that.
Banner for the Guider People Network: Join the community

Key learnings on expanding your mentoring programs

To kick off the group discussion, Danika asked Naomi at Clyde & Co to discuss how they’re creating better D&I mentoring programs from the start.

Naomi spoke about how they updated their list of skills and experience areas on the platform for users to enter. Previously, diversity and inclusion had been listed as an option that someone might want mentoring on. Now, Clyde & Co have gone deeper and provided more specific D&I topics such as neurodiversity, gender identity, and parental leave. After all, D&I encompasses a huge range of areas. This gives people more context so they can pick what they’re really looking for.

“For those people that have had harder barriers to overcome, it can be really good to have a mentor who’s had a similar lived experience that can encourage and motivate them, and to see somebody that’s like them in a context higher up.” Naomi Boachie-Anash, Clyde & Co

The Clyde & Co program, is giving people space to bring their whole selves to work so that as they go through the journey of mentorship or sponsorship, diversity and inclusion topics will stay part of the journey. If you only focus on reverse mentorship for diversity and inclusion, the onus is on the person in the underrepresented group to educate others, when actually, by matching with someone with a similar background they can find support themselves too.

An interesting point she made is that in matching mentors and mentees, you can focus more on topics of discussion over skills. This helps pitch mentoring to people as a tool for diversity and inclusion.

Danika asked the group to share further advice on how to promote your D&I mentoring programmes within the company.

Naomi talked about how they tie in their mentoring program with other D&I communications, to promote the program in different ways and contexts. So this means when there are events happening, such as webinars, they can tie messaging around mentoring and cross-promote. It’s important to ask the question across your groups “can mentoring help with that?” This way it’s not two separate initiatives but they are seen as one.

Helen from Deloitte then spoke about her experience with sponsorship in particular. She said that D&I is interwoven into the fabric of the sponsorship programs they run, and that seems to be working well. Separate programs can really put people off.

They’ve been using sponsorship to tackle racial and gender diversity in senior leadership in particular, with ambitious goals to promote females and ethnic minorities into leadership positions in a two-year period. The program has been successful so far, with 85% matching in just three months.

“The absolute underpinning principle of sponsorship is having a senior advocate in your organisation. It will provide you with visibility, give you the right networking opportunities, and put you on the line to get you the right stretch assignments. We’re investing a lot of focus to achieve something that has never been achieved.” Helen Giblin, Deloitte  

In terms of promotion, they’ve been making sure to sell the benefits on both sides. Sponsorship and mentoring can benefit both sides of the relationship – this is important to ensure a good cohort of senior mentors or sponsors sign up.

At PVH, Hannah told us that they had expected to struggle to get mentors signed up, but found that, because they had an engaged board, it was actually harder to get mentees on the program. While this is unusual, it’s an important point: senior-level buy-in for your programs can really make a difference. If you have key top-level staff on board, this can set a precedent and attract mentors to your program.

The flip side of this is they then had to do more promotion to attract mentees. This was through employee resource group newsletters, events, and cross-company internal communications.

At The Talent Tap, a social mobility charity for young people, Laura said that what they struggled with when launching a program was getting people to see the value of mentoring. They’d assumed it was obvious that it was beneficial. However, the students actually didn’t see the value in the program. Mentors too struggled to know how to support students that don’t know what they need yet. This is a big blocker in their program; helping students to understand mentoring and what they can gain from the experience.

Hannah agreed that people often see mentoring as a good experience in general, but don’t necessarily know what they can get out of it. She advised that they sent triple the emails they had planned to get sign-ups and that pre-communication is incredibly important to build knowledge and awareness. Identify key mentoring champions in your business and ask them to share their personal experience over video or written interviews. People are more likely to resonate with human stories from colleagues than reminders from their HR team.

At the end of the discussion, Hannah spoke about how, even if numbers in your programs are initially small, you’ve still positively impacted those people. Naomi further reassured us that building these programs takes patience and that with every iteration people will become advocates of what you’re doing and get the word out.

While the initial launch can be difficult, it’s worth the effort to see the impact you can have on your diversity and inclusion programs with mentoring.

Thank you everyone for sharing their thoughts, it was another incredibly interesting and thought-provoking session. To join the GPN head to our website or get in touch with Danika directly

We look forward to seeing you soon!