New diversity and inclusion standard published by BSI

New guidance to help organisations create a diverse and inclusive workplace culture, has been published by national standards body, the British Standards Institution (BSI).

The BSI said the free standard has been published in response to the volume of organisations seeking guidance on diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) issues.  

Areas covered include practical measures around recruitment and retention and how organisations can address behaviour which is inconsistent with DEI principles.  

The guidance also explains how to engage and support underrepresented social and cultural groups, for example via peer networks. 

Other areas of focus include identifying appropriate DEI learning and development needs, creating inclusive brands, customer engagement and workplace culture. 

Kate Field, global head health, safety and wellbeing, BSI, said the standard can be used as a practical guide for any HR professional or people manager for any workplace setting. 

She said: “The measures are designed to be taken up by anyone with exposure to DEI decision-making, ranging from board members and organisational leaders to HR professionals and communications, marketing and branding and technology teams.  

“It can also be applicable to trade union and employee association representatives, as well as advisors, auditors and investors.” 

More on diversity and inclusion:

Diversity in HR: why we need majority support

Diversity conversations causing frustrations

Embracing diversity, equity and inclusion: a blueprint for HR

Toby Mildon, founder of DEI consultancy, Mildon consultancy said the BSI’s framework is a helpful start, but further support within employers may be needed. 

Speaking to HR magazine, he said: “The guidance is certainly useful in terms of helping to shape initial thinking and to define DEI purpose, but it may not be enough on its own.  

“In my experience, many businesses seek out and value external DEI support – expert help that can serve to assuage concerns about getting it wrong or saying the ‘wrong thing’.  

“Businesses starting out on the journey appreciate the comfort provided by lived experience.”  

Mildon warned that truly improving DEI often requires large-scale changes and disruption to company culture. 

“Any strategy requires long-term commitment, and this commitment must be driven by internal champions: senior leaders who are inspired to change the business culture as opposed to simply tweaking existing policies or window dressing to look good.” 

Engaging the entire workforce is essential to make change, he added: “HR teams play an essential role, but changing the culture means involving everyone. 

“It is not a case of senior leaders dictating policy.  

“Rather, time must be taken to hear all voices, take the temperature of the business, and devise strategy accordingly.”