Advancing equality and inclusion - a spotlight on our progress

Nick Crofts, 19 June 2024

At Wythenshawe Community Housing Group (WCHG), we are committed to encouraging a workplace culture that champions equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) at every level. I am delighted to share the steps we have taken to make our organisation more representative and inclusive. Here is a glimpse into the work that has been undertaken and the progress we have made so far:

Harnessing data for insight

We believe in the power of data to drive informed decision-making. That is why we have implemented the EDI data tool, which enables us to gain valuable insights into the demographics of our colleagues and our community. Additionally, we have developed a custom dashboard using PowerBI. The dashboard provides clear visualisations that allow us to compare our organisational demographics with community and census data for Wythenshawe. This tool not only helps us understand where we currently stand but also guides our future EDI initiatives.

Board engagement and education

Our EDI specialist recently facilitated a session with our board during their away day, focusing on EDI and its significance for our leadership. The session served as a crucial opportunity for our board members to deepen their understanding of EDI principles and explore how they can contribute to creating a more inclusive workplace.

Succession planning

In our commitment to promoting diversity in leadership roles, we have implemented ambitious targets for succession planning. Our policy includes a 20% representation target for individuals from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnicities and a 40% target for gender representation - both of which we have successfully achieved. We prioritise diversity in our recruitment processes, ensuring representation from those with various protected characteristics at every stage.

Enhanced recruitment practices

Our recruitment packs for new board members highlight our organisational commitment to diversity and inclusion, encouraging candidates with diverse backgrounds and lived experience to apply. We have also established diverse recruitment panels, featuring a range of voices and perspectives to ensure inclusive decision-making.

Making the most of external programmes

We actively participate in external initiatives such as the Housing Diversity Network’s Board Trainee Programme. This programme provides opportunities for customers and local people to engage with our board, offering valuable insights and experiences. We are also exploring other schemes like Boardroom Apprentice/Get on Board to enhance board representation.

Areas for future growth

We are always seeking ways to strengthen our EDI efforts. Moving forward, we are committed to incorporating EDI into our annual appraisal process, as recommended by the National Housing Federation's inclusive recruitment toolkit. We plan to organise vision workshops with the board to discuss future EDI initiatives and to promote the work they do internally. We are also exploring opportunities to support the board's learning and development, ensuring they have the resources and training needed to champion EDI in their roles.

At WCHG, our EDI journey is ongoing. We are proud of the progress we have made, but we recognise there is always more work to be done. By prioritising EDI, we are not only strengthening our organisation but also contributing to a more just and equitable society. We look forward to embarking on new initiatives, collaborating with our community, and inspiring others to join us along the way.

With all of this work underway, we are thrilled to sign up to the Chairs' Challenge, not only to continue this work but to enhance and go beyond what the challenge has laid out.