5 EDI consultants; 5 EDI webinars; countless practical takeaways

Between November 14th-18th our team of consultants came together to facilitate Equality Group’s first-ever Equality Celebration Week.

Each session offered practical advice to empower Europe’s leading finance and technology companies to build and deliver effective Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) strategies.

There were so many useful soundbites from each presentation, that we couldn’t possibly summarise them all in one article. 

Instead, we have selected a few key takeaways from each session below and recommend watching all five talks for the full learning experience.

Kinnevik: a step-by-step EDI strategy in action

An impactful EDI strategy may take years to implement, as each building block has to be laid down carefully to ensure a stable foundation for the next.

To inspire our audience and showcase an example of how an EDI strategy can be successfully delivered, founder and CEO of Equality Group Hephzi Pemberton highlighted the work of the venture capital firm Kinnevik.

Kinnevik was Equality Group’s only EDI “leader” in the 2022 Honordex report, scoring 77% overall. The group was able to score so highly as it dedicated time and resources to the project, as well as setting measurable targets. 

Check out Kinnevik’s roadmap and the company's EDI milestones in the image above. You can watch the full case study here.

A digestible snapshot of EDI research

The pool of academic EDI research is vast. And although it is encouraging to know there is a wealth of scientifically backed EDI analysis, these papers were not written with a public audience in mind.

To help make this knowledge more accessible Dr Keon West, our Head of Academic Research, guided our audience through a number of studies, offering digestible summaries of 100-page+ documents.

Below are some of the papers he summarised:

Click here to watch Keon’s full summaries here.

How to improve board diversity: expand your network, de-bias your process and be ambitious

When it comes to embedding equality, diversity and inclusion into company culture, it has to come from the top. Without it, progress is stifled and the positive impacts of an inclusive culture are prevented from reaching their full potential. 

But many venture capital and private equity firms struggle to find and hire diverse Board members. 

Our Head of Executive Search, Simon Norris, explained that this is due to limited networks, biased hiring processes and a general lack of resources, time and effort.

Here are his top tips for a hiring environment that enables teams to attract and retain a more diverse board.

  1. Broaden your network and invest time up-front
  2. Building diversity into the criteria for selection 
  3. De-bias the assessment process
  4. Be ambitious: set EDI targets with a clear timeline.
  5. Go public with your targets and hold yourself accountable

Watch the full session here.

Inspire, question, influence, empower, connect, enable

With the rise of environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG), more investors are looking to embed equality, diversity and into their portfolios.

But what practical support, guidance and goals should venture capital and private equity firms discuss with the founders and boards they have backed?

Our Head of EDI Consulting Eva Lauerbach explored 6 different ways to help VC and PE firms work with their portfolio to influence and inspire their EDI journey.

  1. Lead by example - before looking at your portfolio company you have to look inside your own organisation because you will have way more impact if you start by working on yourself and demonstrate results.
  2. Inspire - don't instruct. It’s not your role to implement this very complex topic, but it might be in your sphere of influence. Be collaborative, nudge people and bring them along on the journey.
  3. Ask questions - track progress. Ask your companies to report back on their progress. Use your influence to help your companies progress. 
  4. Identify & empower. It’s not your role to implement a portfolio company's EDI strategy, you depend on the people in the firm to help them drive the topic within their own company. You need to create that desire, passion and incentive to progress.
  5. Create exchange. Connect your portfolio companies through networking opportunities, to highlight how they are part of a bigger social movement.
  6. Share resources. Founders and CEO of portfolio companies are very busy people. Do not expect them to produce their own EDI resources or toolkits. Instead, provide useful EDI resources for them or connect them to an EDI consultant who can help them.

To find out more watch the full session here.

What does a holistic EDI strategy actually look like?

So you’re keen to roll out an EDI strategy but don’t know where to start. 

Our Head of Education Services Sasha Graham, helped our audience understand the multilayered approach companies need to take when building and implementing their own EDI strategy.

  1. Align on the WHY - be sure to identify and understand your values and why your organisation wants to start its EDI journey 
  2. Strategy: the HOW - identify your goals and how you will measure them. Collect and analyse data to understand how your organisation is doing. Think tactically.
  3. Action: the WHAT - implement practical measures to achieve your goals. You might not be able to do everything at the start, so set attainable milestones to begin with.

Rewatch Sasha’s session here.

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