28 July

Power of Inclusion 2020 social mobility programme - reflections so far

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This year’s Power of Inclusion focuses on social mobility and increasing opportunities and inclusion for people from underrepresented and diverse socioeconomic backgrounds.

Our first session, chaired by Sarah Atkinson, CEO: Social Mobility Foundation, explored the issue and asked the question ‘An introduction to social mobility: What is it and why is it important?’ This was an opportunity to explore the topic, and look at what the topic means, as it is one that is often ignored when it comes to diversity and inclusion programmes. The success of one’s career should be determined by their talent and drive, and so we looked at what social mobility really mean to us in the City, why is it important - for businesses and people and the current challenges and opportunities to advancing the social mobility agenda.

In the second of the series, called ‘Recruitment: Why your next hire may not have the best CV’ and chaired by Tunde Banjoko, Founder and CEO of Making The Leap and Founder of Social Mobility Awards and Social Mobility Podcast,  we continued to raise awareness of structural barriers and internal beliefs that stop those from diverse socio-economic backgrounds progressing in their careers. We asked questions around what it looks like to hire the best talent there is, irrespective of their background and route into the City, how we can ensure that we have fair and unbiased recruitment across the lifecycle of the business and what the potential impact of Covid-19 will have on recruitment processes.

The third event focused on ‘Culture and Belonging – creating a space to be oneself’, and was an opportunity to explore how we create workplaces that bring people together and enable them to bring their whole selves to work. During this event, chaired by Dan Robertson – Director of VERCIDA Consulting and Chair of TLMA Power of Inclusion, many of the organisations spoke about their commitment to embedding diversity and inclusion initiatives across the company, and how that has transformed the business culture – and productivity. Because the data shows that it’s good for business as well as people. We discussed how making workplace cultures more inclusive for those from socially mobile backgrounds can increase staff retention and what businesses can do to change workplace practices to increase belonging.

Later in the year we have three further events. On Friday 11 September we will be discussing Diversity at the Top. Shocking statistics show a lack of representation from people of lower socio-economic backgrounds in senior roles. What can senior leaders do to ensure diversity at the top? This is followed by Networks & Sponsorship on Tuesday 13 October, where we will discuss how a key part of professional growth is mentorship, networking and sponsorship. How do we ensure that everyone has access to the same networks and sponsors? What can businesses do to improve networking opportunities to increase social mobility? Finally on Tuesday 3 November we will look at why measurement matters, in order to ensure we are making progress. How are we ensuring that we are measuring the changes in social mobility within our businesses? This event will offer practical and tangible insights on measurable activities to increase social mobility.

Shifting our events online has made them more inclusive has enabled us to extend our reach, with businesses able to send representatives from regional offices, or those unable to make in person breakfasts due to caring commitments now able to take part. We hope that as well as engaging our existing members, more organisations will consider signing up and taking part, due to the more flexible format. Over fifty organisations have been represented, with up to 100 attending each session. 100% of attendees would recommend Power of Inclusion to their colleagues and 94% of attendees have learnt something they would take back to their business.

This is the first year of a two year strategy, with the next series including resources that will inspire action from businesses. Talking about social mobility and raising awareness is crucial, but so is action and activity, to create a City that is fair and inclusive to everyone.

If you would like to know more about the series, head here, or email inclusion@thelordmayorsappeal.org 

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