Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at Alzheimer's Society
Learn about Alzheimer's Society's approach to Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) within our organisation and beyond.
1. Our EDI mission
We believe everyone should be able to make a full contribution to society in a world which celebrates diversity and values inclusion. We all have the right to be the person we are, to live without fear or prejudice regardless of race, age, gender, sexual orientation, faith and belief, or a disability, like dementia.
To drive this inclusion, we want to be a place where everyone feels confident in engaging and involving the widest range of perspectives, ideas, and opinions to make an even bigger impact for people affected by dementia.
We believe we can achieve this best through looking at inclusion in the widest sense – where new and different voices are being heard and responded to with a desire to speak up and out to make us a better place to work, support and be supported by.
Starting at the top, we’ve made changes to our Trustee Board to bring in more diversity and this year’s recruitment to Trustee roles will look to improve this further.
In addition, we now have a carer and someone living with dementia as members of one of the Board committees and are looking to take forward this experience to further expand involvement of people with lived experience across our governance structures.
We’ve made good progress in the last 12 months and want to make more of diversity within our workforce, expanding and strengthening our networks for colleagues from ethnically diverse communities, those who identify as LGBTQIA+ and for the Menopause, as well as exploring future groups to help create a platform for more voices to be heard.
We’re also proud to have involved people living with dementia, members of our Employee Forum and Volunteer Advisory Panel and Diversity networks in our selection processes for our senior roles over the last year.
These steps will be built on next year with the recruitment of a team of EDI experts to take actions drawn from our five-year EDI strategy.
From 2022-2027, we’re focusing our EDI work on the following areas:
- Include EDI questions in our main surveys and research to establish a baseline of information and use this to drive best practice and shape our work for the future (covering direct services, fundraising and participation).
- Undertake and publish audience insight work into the experiences of people living with and effected by dementia from ethnically diverse communities.
- Demonstrate how we have learnt from complaints and use this information to improve what we do.
- Review external EDI related benchmarks and accreditations and where determined to be relevant to our work, we will work to achieve these.
- Reviewing the participation of people affected by dementia to increase their involvement in all that we do.
Create systemic and sustainable change
We’ll improve the diversity of our team, including at the leadership level:
- Monitor, regularly review and annually publish data which shows our direction of travel towards recruiting employees and volunteers to increase the relevant proportions in all areas of protected characteristics but focused improvements in the areas listed below:
We will aim to achieve increased proportions of employees by 2027 but will make annual progress towards:
- Employees from ethnically diverse groups
- Employees with a disability, impairment, or long-term condition
- LGBTQIA+ employees
- Employees who have caring responsibilities.
- Use positive action to increase representation particularly colleagues from ethnically diverse communities at Leadership levels and above. This will include, where appropriate, using specialist recruitment organisations to increase our reach into these communities, specialised and targeted internal development opportunities, secondments, mentoring, coaching and mutual mentoring programmes.
- Review and improve our attraction, recruitment and selection processes and practices to ensure they are fully inclusive. This will include looking to recognised good practice in recruitment such as the Disability Confident employer scheme. It will also include ensuring all recruiting managers are trained in appropriate areas of diversity and equality training.
- Actively promote a wider range of opportunities in Alzheimer’s Society through innovative attraction techniques such as targeted work experience, placements, apprenticeship, and school outreach work.
- Improve the consistency and reliability of our employee and volunteer EDI data through raising awareness and demonstrating the importance of this information, by documenting it and highlighting its use in policy decisions, for example pay gap reporting. We will change the way leave related to disability is recorded to be separated from general sickness.
Making the most of our more diverse workforce
To support our commitment to full inclusion, building confidence in EDI and ensuring everyone fulfils their potential:
- We’ll provide a wide range of (mandatory and enhanced) professional training and development to raise awareness on EDI matters (such as EDI essentials, allyship training) to build confidence and to enable an inclusive culture where everyone can be themselves at work. Specific training will be provided to front line employees relevant to their roles.
- Executive Leadership Team (ELT) will champion Alzheimer’s Society EDI aspirations improving their knowledge and awareness.
- ELT will develop and support relevant Equality, Diversity and Inclusion groups and networks, involving them in the development of strategy and other practical activities such as the employee and volunteer engagement action plans.
- We’ll evidence that EDI is an integral part of the organisations work and included regularly on the agenda of Board, ELT and leadership group meetings and supporting Directorate steering group meetings.
- We’ll review our engagement scores and act to ensure those for people with protected characteristics are in line with other group results.
- We’ll act to maintain data rates such as employee retention in line with whole workforce levels.
- We’ll encourage and support EDI team discussions and the celebration of EDI related dates in our calendar, focusing on those most relevant to the areas highlighted above.
A dedicated team consulting with colleagues
In February 2021, a multi-skilled project team was recruited through a competitive flexible secondment process. They had professional experience in co-production, EDI, the law, audit, data analysis, and project management. This small team included staff from Black, Asian and other Minority Ethnic backgrounds, lived experience of disability and caring for family with dementia.
The team led a review of our EDI compliance and co-production of our EDI Strategy (sponsored by our Chief Executive and Director of People and Organisational Development). Using co-production, the team sought out the opinions of people who might be (or perceive themselves to be) overlooked or marginalised.
They created safe spaces in which staff and people affected by dementia were able to share experiences, ideas for improvements, and ideas for action on suggested priority areas for EDI.
Findings from across the organisation
Many participants told us it was the first time they had shared their experiences and feelings with anyone in the organisation. Many participants afterwards chose to help with other projects happening across the organisation, such as reviewing training to check for inclusion issues and opportunities and informing our data insights work.
Despite the national lockdown, over 500 people took part, including around 1 in 7 of our employees. Participants included people affected by dementia, our employees, volunteers, supporters and people in user-led and statutory organisations across England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Anonymous feedback via surveys and focus groups not only informed our EDI Strategy development, but also ideas for operational business plans, some operational changes, and our ongoing audience and supporter insight work.
How this important insight was used
The EDI project team analysed the feedback, noting differences in responses by people with different protected characteristics, and different types of relationship with Alzheimer’s Society.
Colleagues from diverse ethnic and minority backgrounds, EDI Working Groups and with professional skills in evaluation, impact, involvement and research communication, reviewed the feedback, thematic analysis, and suggested actions.
Together they reshaped the proposed EDI Strategy Priorities into impact statements, approved by Alzheimer’s Society’s Executive Leadership team on 4 May 2021.
Setting strategic actions
In June 2021, gap and needs analysis with leadership teams, ensured that the feedback from the consultation continued to inform decision-making.
As a result of this, and desktop review of progress on EDI since 2008, Executive Leadership Team agreed to set just a very few strategic actions – those that people in our consultation told us were essential for achieving the EDI and corporate priorities. These headline strategic actions, will be under-pinned by specific, measurable, objectives to enable easy monitoring of progress.
The consultation generated many great ideas for operational actions too, many of which are being done, or will be built into business and people plans.
The EDI project team also looked at good practice in the most inclusive organisations, including joining their Chief Executives and leaders for webinars to learn about what had helped them to make progress.
- Learning from people affected by dementia, our partners, volunteers and supporters, will help us to provide more accessible and inclusive services.
- Our campaigns, support and research work will make a difference for people from all parts of the community by putting people’s lived experiences at the heart of what we do.
- By working in collaboration and partnership with people affected by dementia and organisations, we will learn from each other, and help people affected by dementia across the community.
- Inclusive and fair recruitment processes will draw in the best people for jobs and volunteering roles, whatever their backgrounds, to help us be there effectively, and sensitively, for people affected by dementia, from all parts of the community.
- You can be your best self with us. Our employees and volunteers can enjoy their time with us and look to develop, and progress, if they want.
Alzheimer's Society's strategic actions
- Embedded equality analysis mitigates risks and maximises opportunities for inclusion in all our projects, policies and activities. Our target is 100% of all policies and projects have recorded equality analysis by March 2023.
- Increased disclosure and publishing of diversity data and insights (employees, volunteers, service users and target audiences) enables us to measure who we are, and show progress against our corporate vision year on year.
- Collaborations and partnerships foster sustainable good relations with people in under-served groups.
- Inclusive recruitment and positive action achieve a diverse workforce, with measurable progress year on year.
- Managers encourage employees and volunteers to discuss EDI issues and influence actions to develop inclusion.
We have taken account of feedback, and internal audit findings, to strengthen our governance framework for EDI.
The new approach is both proactive and reactive. It includes a more diverse range of voices (including our Race, LGBT+ network and Employee Forum representatives), and empowers people at all levels of the organisation, and people affected by dementia, to hold the organisation to account.
Frequency of meetings and transparent data indicators will enable identification and removal of blocks, ensuring that progress is made.
The EDI project team reviewed our needs for permanent EDI specialist staffing, taking account of desktop evidence, feedback from our EDI consultation, discussions with leadership teams and reviewing roles in other organisations.
A small, new, EDI team, with roles informed by our EDI consultation and data insights, will bring fresh subject matter expert capacity to the whole organisation, and show due regard to the different legal requirements and needs in each of our three nations.
Through business partnering approaches, this should help to build confidence and competency on EDI in our workforce, and enable teams to increase our reach and impact to help us to achieve our corporate strategy ambitions of being there for anyone affected by dementia.
Our values tell everyone who we are as an organisation. Our values make sure that our focus is clear for the challenges and opportunities ahead and remind us what we all stand for.
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