Team day – the seeding of the idea
At the end of year team day (2021), Agility in Mind reviewed the financial year and took the time to create a compelling vision for how we want the organisation to grow. During the event CEO, Andrew Jones proposed two key themes for the team to consider. “Diversity and inclusion” and “Sustainability”.
We spent some time as a whole team discussing and agreeing on a proposed Diversity and inclusion statement.
Diversity is about everyone, within our team and outside our team. We celebrate the unique characteristics of each of us and it’s our differences that make us stronger.
There is no room for discrimination, bullying, harassment or victimisation of any kind or towards any person, we do not tolerate it and we will stand up against it.
We want everyone at Agility in Mind to feel they belong, there is an environment where all are welcome and we all have the confidence to speak out and share ideas, and we will be listened to.
Success for us is a culture of creativity, respect and empowerment, which we can see in our day-to-day behaviours.
Agility in Mind has always prided itself on being a little bit different, perhaps maverick. Our ethos has always been ‘do the right things and the right things will happen’ and this attitude was reflected in the entire teams’ agreement on the statement. Not only did the entire team agree that it was the right thing to do but also recognised that the company will be stronger and more enjoyable to work in as a result.
Iterating the company values
A final discussion on the team day centred around the company values that had been in place and unchanged for several years. The team agreed they needed a refresh and should include our beliefs on diversity and inclusion. After further facilitated activities, we agreed on the following new set of values:
- We do the right things for the right reasons
- We build trust through honesty and transparency
- We respect individuals and value and promote diversity
- We strive to minimise our negative impact on the environment
- We engage and support each other to find better ways to reach our common goal
- We focus on creating lasting change for our clients
Workshop and brainstorm
We had agreed that we wanted to create a charter that encompassed the standards we would hold ourselves accountable to. It was a real struggle to find anything online on how to go about creating one. We know that a principle of high performance is that any form of the charter must be created by the team being asked to live it, rather than mandating it from upon high. We also borrowed an idea called ‘conflict norming’ to structure a brainstorm of behaviours we expected to see and some that we definitely don’t want to see at Agility in Mind.
We identified 9 aspects of work we felt we should discuss from the perspective of diversity and inclusion. The green notes highlighted the behaviours we should embody and the red those we should avoid.
Feedback from Toby
We enlisted Diversity Expert Toby Mildon to give us feedback at this stage. Toby made several recommendations:
- To reduce and simplify the number of categories
- Rewrite them as “We..“ statements
- Turn it into a graphic
These suggestions were to help make the charter stick in people’s minds, make it easier to live and to use.
We reduced the number of themes down from 9 to 6 and removed elements that sounded good in the workshop but no longer made sense. We had a couple of rounds of peer review to ensure the statements contained within the charter were understood when written and initial conversations were long forgotten.
We wanted to apply a product mindset to our charter. We decided it was much more valuable to get one agreed and in use so we can hold ourselves to it; to learn and improve rather than to wait for the perfect one.
Launch and baseline
On Friday 25 February we added the charter to the HR handbook, updated our website, and surveyed our staff to get a baseline.
Living our charter
We often talk to clients about connecting employees with their visions and the creation of it not being a one-time activity. The same is true for the diversity charter and the phrase “the prayer doesn’t spoil the message” is certainly true. Our intent is to regularly survey the team, talk about diversity and inclusion frequently and drive improvements across each of the dimensions; to make it part of our operating system.
Toby Mildon invites Michelle Meakin, Business Services Director at Agility in Mind to discuss the organisation’s approach to developing a DEI charter and bringing those values to life every day.