D&I is a marathon, not a sprint. We are in it for the long run.
When I first started in my career, I was a lot more forceful. I was the anomaly because I was always the young black female in a sea of white men, trying to get my point across. What I’ve learned over the years is that it’s not a sprint with D&I – it is absolutely a marathon. And, that marathon is far more than getting a certain percentage of underrepresented groups on your team. It’s about earning genuine buy-in from the top down, and broad-sweeping education to counter unconscious bias. This is how we bring about true D&I in the workplace.
While today we have more buy-in from leadership and acknowledgement of essential changes, we still have much work to do.
Our most valuable resource is people
Like most companies, it’s the talent that drives innovation and enables true creativity for EditShare. More and more we are seeing talent likely identify with multiple ethnicities or identify as gender fluid. As we move to a more diverse outlook on the world, the question of a lack of diverse talent in the workplace becomes more pertinent. So, when you extrapolate that notion amongst other diverse people, the question is: how much talent are you losing out on because you haven’t got a diverse workforce? A lack of diversity is destructive to your business.
EditShare journey – we are changing course
D&I is not an HR function. It needs to be embodied in the culture so that everyone is on the same journey. In the first few months since I have been at EditShare, we have rolled out a number of new D&I initiatives and brought forth flexible working policies.
Helping define and drive these initiatives and policies is EditShare’s new D&I working group, which is led by myself and the VP of Product, Sunil Mudholkar. It’s staffed by representatives from each major department to ensure that we have a good cross-section of individuals to brainstorm and soundboard ideas. Together we compile the facts, talk to our colleagues, define the goals and the important projects and partnerships that will help EditShare introduce and embrace authentic D&I initiatives. I am proud to say in the short time since I have been here, we are well on our way to:
- Diversifying the talent pool
- Shutting the door on the pay gap for every person
- Equal maternity and paternity leave for everyone
These programs are not elaborate. They are simple and measurable, and with every step forward, add immense value to our teams and deeper understanding of what it means to be included. It’s authentic, with ownership spread across the company.
Breaking old habits to make lasting change
While we have many exciting D&I projects in motion, there’s a long way to go. Today, 75% of EditShare employees are white males averaging 45 years of age. As an industry, unconscious bias plays can have a big impact on the diversity of your workforce. It’s fewer than six degrees of separation that ultimately can create a one-dimensional workforce; one that ultimately negatively impacts your employer branding to the incredible talent we want to attract.
These habits are hard to break. The first step is recognizing the pattern and stepping outside the comfort zone to mindfully build a diverse and inclusive workforce.
While we are at the beginning of this marathon, I am excited about the journey and about our future. We have amazing support from our CEO, Conrad Clemson, and the senior leadership team. We are small enough to make swift changes and implement policies that can be truly drafted and owned by the people who work here.
We are placing D&I at the core of our culture. It makes us stronger. We all feel it. The whole company is better because of it. I will be back to you in six months to report on the shifts and changes we made to move us forward to a brighter future.
About Jennifer Ashton
Jennifer helps shape the creative, diverse and inclusive culture that defines EditShare. Her talent development and people programs serve as the foundation for its global talent pool. Prior to joining EditShare in June 2020, Jennifer spearheaded D&I initiatives for Amazon, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and most recently the BBC where she was instrumental in supporting to reduce the gender pay gap.