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How to create an inclusive workplace

It is evident that young people from under-represented communities are disproportionately impacted by recent events; more likely to be furloughed, have work canceled or postponed; more likely to be affected by the COVID virus itself and more likely to be impacted by the longstanding structural inequality within the creative industries. Now more than ever there is a need for diverse voices to be heard and amplified. As a sector that aims to represent society, the creative industries have a responsibility to address this issue.

Following many years of working in collaboration with both young people and our employer partners across the creative industries, we’ve put together our recommendations for creating a more inclusive workplace:

1. Re-assess your company brand values: If you’re serious about becoming a diverse workplace is this explicitly stated in your core values? Diversity is not an add-on, it is at the heart of your brand culture.

2. Evaluate where you are at: Look at your data; can you attract, recruit, develop and retain underrepresented workers? Watch out for micro inequities in existing teams. Are there patterns to who is included and whoʼs being left behind? Where there are weaknesses, figure out why and what you can do to solve this.

3. Ask every person at your company how they feel you are doing: Conduct regular anonymous surveys, determine where your short comings are and respond to feedback. Gaining insight on how to improve your workplace from employees is a crucial step towards diversity.

4. Create a diversity and inclusion steering group: Discuss the challenges and solutions, hold your company accountable to your targets and ensure momentum is maintained over time.

5. Set diversity targets and goals: Be transparent about what change you want to achieve, over what period of time and how you will be accountable. Book in regular review meetings.

6. Positively recruit from under-represented groups: Change your hiring process so you are actively recruiting from under-represented communities. Avoid hiring by word of mouth. Advertise opportunities across a range of platforms to enable a broader range of candidates to find your role and apply.

7. Look at your materials: Review your website, job descriptions, imagery and language used to make sure youʼre as welcoming to all. Mix up who you follow on social media and which places you post to.

8. Progress existing staff from under-represented communities: Invest in your team; support their retention and progression. Encourage staff forums and offer support structures and opportunities for sponsorship and mentoring. Ensure reasonable adjustments to make sure workers with disabilities, or physical or mental health conditions, aren’t substantially disadvantaged when applying for roles and doing their jobs.

9. Train your staff: Help people to understand the benefits of a diverse workforce, identify and overcome their unconscious biases and become allies. Become a role model and take personal responsibility for leading change. Invite external speakers and set up industry related networking opportunities to hear new perspectives which challenge your thinking.

10. Become culturally aware: Workers from all backgrounds should feel comfortable in their workplace. Recognise and celebrate special days in the calendar to make every team member feel seen and included.

Any organisations wishing to collaborate with Creative Access on delivering the above can contact the team here.