Best Practice | Count Me In: Diversity & Inclusion at Mitie
Mitie’s Count Me In learning and development programme is aimed at challenging the way colleagues think about diversity and inclusion, while stimulating healthy conversation. The programme was developed based on feedback from Mitie colleagues regarding their experiences with inclusion.
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Why was the practice needed?
When certified Top Employer, Mitie Group, created a new Head of Diversity and Inclusion they saw an opportunity to step beyond traditional unconscious bias training for a more mindful approach to issues around D&I. After receiving employee feedback that showed a need for the organisation to focus more on the needs of women in the workplace, race and ethnicity, disability, sexuality, and age-diversity. These were all issues that fall under the umbrella term of diversity and inclusion.
In 2021, against the backdrop of the company’s recent merger with Interserve, the pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement, Mitie’s Count Me In programme was able to deeply connect their people to each other. The aim of the programme was to not only understand their own company culture but also the culture of their employees and the challenges that are brought with different cultures. The programme also wanted to try and represent all these different cultures and people in their company story.
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How was the practice implemented?
Mitie wanted to challenge the way that their people think with their Count Me In programme by encouraging them to have authentic and open conversations. Most importantly, Mitie wanted to create an environment where every employee felt able to bring their authentic and whole self to work. To meet these goals, they designed the programme as a journey of growth that would happen over four phases:
- Count on Me: starting point in which employees look at their own strengths and biases.
- Count on Us: this phase focuses on team culture and provides the opportunity for teams to create an environment of trust and empathy in which colleagues feel safe to speak up.
- Count on Mitie: as part of an inclusive organisation all employees feel a sense of belonging.
- Count on the Future: the Count Me In initiative continues to support and encourage an inclusive culture as well as to ensure that ED&I strategies remain in focus going forward.
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Across the programme, Count Me In covered the following topics:
- Assumptions and bias
- Strengths and superpowers
- What is and isn’t ok to say
- Inclusive conversations
- Conscious Inclusion
- Building relationships
- D&I basics
- Speaking up
- Inclusive leadership behaviours
The first two phases of the programme encouraged employees to reflect on their own understanding of diversity and inclusion while developing new awareness around it. While doing this they also worked on creating an environment that was safe for everyone to speak up in. The programme was not designed to be stagnant. Instead Mitie carefully constructed the training to be continuously developed over time with new training developed on further feedback from employees at the organisation.
When the programme progressed the focus shifted from internal reflection to ensuring that the organisation had a culture of psychological safety that allowed them to speak up and speak out.
The programme was not only limited to non-executive employees, but rather it extended into leadership levels with reverse mentoring and training to help manage escalations. Throughout the programme employees were helped to identify people that they could reach out to for various types of help. Management needed to be prepared for conversations that required the highest level of care and consideration.
While this was happening, the Executive Leadership and Group Leadership teams pledged their commitment to the overarching objective of the programme, which was to create an environment of inclusion throughout the organisation where each person feels comfortable in being themselves at work. In all of the leadership meetings at Mitie D&I is a standing topic with quantifiable metrics for follow-up and measurement across the company.
To learn more about how they implemented the programme you can find this practice on our HR Best Practice database. Access it now or learn more about it here!
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Results of implementing Count Me In.
The programme’s first activity was an online self-assessment was completed by over 6 000 people at Mitie. It was followed by ‘Let me tell you a story…’ during which over 4 000 participants listened to a story being told before they were asked to answer questions designed to illuminate biased assumptions about the characters.
After the programme was implemented across Mitie they found:
- Over 24 000 employees have engaged with some or all the learning activity.
- Average NPS across all activities is 99%.
- Over 17 000 inclusivity commitments have been made by employees at all levels.
There were also several strategic benefits revealed by the programme:
- The number of colleagues registered in Mitie’s diversity networks grew fivefold.
- Mitie continued to report their Gender Pay Gap and they voluntarily published their Ethnicity Pay Gap report.
- This initiative helped Mitie to become number 10 in the top 50 Inclusive Employers in the UK.
- Mitie has improved gender and racially diverse representation in senior leadership roles, 21% of Women and 8% of Racially Diverse.
To get more details about how Mitie made their Count Me In programme work find this practice on our HR Best Practice database. Access it now or learn more about it here!