BLOG: Diversity is having a seat at the table; inclusion is being heard

The below is a blog from UKAD’s Head of Human Resources, Sherilee Charles.

Since UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) was formed way back in 2009, we have been working hard to ensure that we are a diverse and inclusive workplace.

However, we are always striving to improve and do more. With this in mind, we put our commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion on paper, creating a new Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Action Plan to help support our People Strategy for 2020-2023. While this covers more than just our LGBTQ+ colleagues, we thought there’d be no better time to share this than during Pride 2021.

In my role I work across all teams and know that they are all fully committed to inclusivity in our organisation. I think there is a real understanding at UKAD of the value which different life experiences and a diverse workforce can bring.

We are committed to building a culture that values openness, fairness, and transparency.

Our new People Strategy for 2020-2023 includes a detailed section on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, which outlines this commitment, and highlights the various areas including recruitment, leadership and reporting where this can make a difference. The basis of both the EDI Action Plan and People Strategy is fairness, understanding and valuing our people and their work. This links into various core principles that are fundamental to UKAD, some of which include a diverse workforce, inclusive policies and zero tolerance of abuse, harassment, bullying and violence.

Actions always speak louder than words, so we have been working hard to ensure this isn’t just a tick box exercise. We have an EDI Working Group, who meet bi-monthly to discuss ideas and progress the actions in our plan. Success can’t be achieved in isolation, so we want our people involved every step of the way, leading the change that they want to see. To reinforce the cross-team effort, positively contributing towards achieving our EDI actions is an objective for all UKAD employees.

We have also increased our reporting, monitoring diversity and demographic data and looking at Gender Pay Gap reporting – with a primary aim of narrowing this gap at UKAD.

We have implemented blind recruitment at the application and shortlisting stages, encouraging applicants from diverse talent pools and underrepresented groups. This is a positive step to ensure no unconscious bias comes in to play in the recruitment process, and people are being employed because of their talent and skillset.

UKAD has various inclusive policies available to all staff – including enhanced maternity, paternity and shared parental leave policies. We are also in the final stages of implementing a Transitioning at Work policy.

All these initiatives are underpinned through external recognition and benchmarking. UKAD is also a Disability Confident Committed employer, demonstrating our commitment to being an inclusive and accessible employer.

Diversity is about creating a space where a person can bring their entire and true self to the workplace. While we know there is always more that can be done, we are striving for continued improvements in this area, and will always be on the lookout for ways to improve and become a more diverse and inclusive place to work. From all of us at UKAD, I wish you a fantastic Pride 2021!