December 13, 2023

Review, Reflect, Learn: The Equal Group's 2023

As 2023 comes to an end and we begin to think about our plans and goals for 2024, every year we take a look back at the work we have done and how we have developed as an organisation.

Throughout 2023 we worked with various clients to help them on their EDI (equality, diversity and inclusion) journey. We spent time across all areas of organisations, implementing training, audits, policy reviews and more. Amongst the 30+ projects we worked on this year, some highlights included; continuing, for a third year running, our partnership with The Greater London Authority (GLA) to support better outcomes for all Londoners; continuing our work with Energy and Utility Skills for a fourth year; and also beginning a second year working with CAFOD to help build a strategic and internationally relevant approach to equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI).

The Greater London Authority 2023 Highlights:
This year we worked with the GLA to deliver the Workforce Integration Network’s Inclusive Employer Toolkits, designed to help employers make meaningful progress towards equal and inclusive workplaces. Industry-specific, for organisations from hospitality, healthcare, the creative industries, the green economy and the digital and technology sectors, the toolkits specifically address how to provide targeted assistance to priority groups of people.

Each toolkit is designed to be used by employers of different sizes and at different stages of their EDI strategy. The actions suggested are tailored to be appropriate for the size of organisation and the relevant sector.

Our consulting team has really enjoyed working with the GLA on this long-term project, spanning so many different sectors, it has been really rewarding to see the first four of the toolkits published (with the digital and tech sector toolkit to be published in the near future).

Energy and Utility Skills 2023 Highlights:

For the last four years, The Equal Group has been working collaboratively with EU Skills to facilitate the Inclusion Measurement Framework (IMF). This year, we collated demographic data of 31 organisations (spanning across the Water, Waste, Power, Gas and Supply Chain sub-sectors) to provide an overview of the current position, including how this has changed over the last four years. These data insights enabled us to draw conclusions about the state of equality, diversity and inclusion in the sector and make recommendations for the next 12 months.

Our team has really enjoyed working with EU Skills, and we have particularly enjoyed seeing the improvements being made across the sector each year, such as an increase in female and ethnic minority representation in leadership and through the recruitment, promotion and development stages of organisations.

The Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (CAFOD) 2023 Highlights:

Being a global, faith based, development charity, we understand that CAFOD needed a framework that was tailored to their needs, ensuring that the nuances of language, historic context and culture were considered throughout. We worked with CAFOD to initiate a communications plan that sought to build trust and ensure the aims of the new EDI approach were understood and that there was significant levels of buy in from CAFOD staff. CAFOD recognised some gaps in knowledge across the organisation and asked us to lead a programme of learning with a significant focus on anti-racism, microaggressions, intersectionality and privilege.

With the whole workforce trained (with 99% of training participants being confident in understanding and discussing the material), a new people strategy in place and plans to conduct The Equal Group - led follow up audit in 2024 - it's clear to us that The Equal Group have sorted CAFOD to make significant progress over the last few years, with CAFOD being seen as a trail blazer in the international development sector.

We are thrilled to continue our partnership with CAFOD. We are confident that they will continue to make progress on their anti-racist and inclusion agenda, driving their mission of working in partnership with others locally and globally who experience poverty, are most vulnerable and excluded, and strengthen resilience in ways that protect and regenerate communities and the environment.

Although we have continued to work to enable a business world without bias we cannot review the year without also acknowledging the difficulties faced by all those working towards this goal.

2023 has been a somewhat difficult year for some of our clients and particular industries, with detrimental knock on effects for EDI teams and budgets. On more than one occasion, we had heard of budgets going from 6 figures to zero, as well as significantly sized EDI teams hit by wave after wave of restructures and redundancies. As a business, we were not immune to this and had to initiate redundancies across our team in response to market pressures. However we are confident that our new structure provides the right balance to enable us to support our client base both now and for the foreseeable future.

Whilst internally we had to make adjustments we continued to deliver education and insight to our expanding audience. In 2023 we hosted 5 free webinars and masterclasses discussing a range of topics from equity in the transport, construction and energy sectors to unconscious bias in the recruitment process. We were joined by over 10 industry experts who shared their personal experiences, insights and shared helpful actions for our audience to take into their own organisations. Alongside these sessions we also provided free resources for those wanting to further develop their knowledge and take immediate action.  For more information, visit our Education Hub and download the most helpful documents for you.

So as 2023 draws to a close, and we take the opportunity to Review, Reflect and Learn from all of the years events, we look forward with optimism, acknowledging the fact that changing markets give us the opportunity to innovate and ensure we continue to deliver meaningful and impactful, data-driven equality, diversity and inclusion transformation services.

Our ambition remains the same; to continue to provide the tools and support companies need to truly reap the benefits that come from investing in equality, diversity and inclusion. We are looking forward to the new year and working alongside new clients and old to enable a business world without bias.

Depending on whether you celebrate the festive season or not, we wish you a wonderful Rohatsu, Pancha Ganapati, Solstice, Christmas, Kwanzaa, Ōmisoka, or New Year!