Inclusive Cultures: learning from focus groups
In July, 59 people from 19 different market companies participated in focus group discussions with the aim of gathering insights and experiences of inclusion in the market from the people who work there.
Discussions were scheduled for women only, men only, LGBT people, minority ethnic people, disabled people, one mixed open discussion for anyone interested in contributing, and one that targeted managers and supervisors.
Across these groups, three standout drivers were shared among respondents; wanting to be respected; wanting to be connected; and access to opportunities for success. Overall, though some perceptions of the market remain traditional and masculine, changes have been noted. Positive interpersonal behaviour, an increase in leaders advocating greater diversity and changes to company practices on D&I were all observed as encouraging steps towards progress.
Upon completion, five calls to action were developed against the biggest perceived barriers to more inclusive cultures in the organisations represented:
Systems and practices: Further gather data (at minimum on gender and ethnicity) at company level to ensure progress is tracked systematically
Opportunities: Set standards and develop an action plan to reduce barriers to recruitment of talent from a range of backgrounds
Respect: Take action to enable people from all backgrounds and at all levels in the market to speak up about inappropriate language and behaviour
Advocacy: Encourage all market firms to raise their corporate standards on inclusion and diversity. This includes training about language and behaviours and embedding expectations about diversity and inclusion into induction and the performance review process
Connections: Enable direct communications with senior market leaders and widen their understanding about the experiences of more junior people from different demographic backgrounds, alongside fostering connections between men who are willing to act as advocates for cultural change