What is the main objective of your organisation? For the BBC, it is to be the most innovative organisation in the world. And they firmly believe that a diverse workforce is one of the key enablers to achieve this. That's why the BBC recently launched their 2016-2020 Diversity & Inclusion strategy

Taking a step back, what is diversity? It means all the ways we differ and it includes everyone. It includes our visible differences such as gender, race and ethnicity and visible disabilities. But it also includes our non-visible differences such as sexual orientation, social class, heritage, religion, unseen disabilities, different perspectives and thought processes, education, family status and age.

As Toby points out, for any diversity initiative to be successful, it needs to go hand-in-hand with a firm inclusion strategy, which means valuing and celebrating differences and encouraging a workplace and culture where all can thrive. This means individuals are supported, respected, engaged, have a voice, and are able to develop skills and talents. 

Modelling behaviour

If you as a leader want to make sure your organisation follows through its diversity targets, you must yourself embrace inclusive behaviour, demonstrate it and lead by example. 

Fix the leaky pipes

Take a careful look at your talent pipeline from attraction, selection, recruitment, development and retention - where is the leaky pipe? Where are you having difficulty recruiting diverse talent or losing people? 

Toby gives two very concrete examples for tools they use at the BBC.

One of them is Gapjumpers. If you have ever watched The Voice, it's similar.. just for recruiting, instead of singing. The BBC has successfully used their services to recruit programmers through setting an online challenge, which candidates had to solve, without any indication of their background, gender, education. Turns out.. a self-taught programmer can be just as good as someone who studied it at university, or even better. 

The other great advice Toby shares on the podcast is looking at the language you are using, as it may surprise you how un-inclusive it may be, or downright full of unconscious bias. He recommends Textio, a service which helps you fix the language you use to advertise open positions for example. 

Firm up!

Don't be afraid to push back against all-male shortlists, or make sure you have a diverse interview panel. We understand that HR is often between a hard-place and a rock when it comes to recruitment and line-managers and CEOs insisting on shortening the time-to-fill metric... but doing things well takes time. Make sure you stick to the ambitious targets and insist with your recruitment team to think outside the box, use clever solutions to get word out about your vacancy outside of your fixed network to attract people from a diverse background.


It is not enough to merely recruit new employees who are bringing diversity to your workforce, you will also need to retain them. And this is where Inclusion gains perhaps an even bigger role. How to make sure they feel values, respected, welcome, and not part of a tick-box exercise? It's through behaviour and culture, and building inclusivity into the DNA of your organisation.

You can reach Toby on his Twitter account, and make sure you check out his Blog and his podcast series, which are incredibly rich in motivation and advice, no matter where you are in your career.

This podcast was created through our media partnership with the Work 2.0 event organised in London on 25-26 May 2017. For more information please visit the conference website: http://www.terrapinn.com/confe...