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IMI Case study – Communication (change mindsets by challenging bias and sexism)

IMI is a British engineering company with more than 11,000 employees. It has plants located in England and Germany. The organisation became a WISE Ten Steps signatory in summer 2019 and has consistently demonstrated its commitment to Diversity & Inclusion since, most notably through innovative communications practices.

IMI’s CEO sets the tone

IMI is aware that senior leaders help create a company’s agenda and IMI’s chief executive Roy Twite regularly references his commitment to Diversity & Inclusion in internal and external communications.

Staff workshops helped spread the Diversity & Inclusion message

Staff workshops provide bottom-up Diversity & Inclusion training and are a great way of helping staff to create their own solutions. IMI’s workshops comprise the following elements:

  • A brainstorm on Diversity & Inclusion (1 hour): this was conducted before any training or preconceptions.
  • 20 mins of training: staff were provided with internal training around diversity and its importance to the business.
  • A one-hour group exercise: staff were asked how inclusion and diversity make a difference for the plant and what they should keep, start and stop doing to embed Diversity & Inclusion into the culture.
  • A two-hour action plan: staff were given two weeks to consider their Diversity & Inclusion workshop before being asked to create an action plan. The plan is regularly reviewed by the leadership team.

The action plan

Staff created a thorough action plan during their workshop. This included the following elements:

  • A commitment to including the Charta Der Vielfalt government logo in all internal company images since it demonstrates that the company cares about diversity.
  • A commitment to all leaders checking for diversity when putting project teams together.
  • The creation of a diversity corner featuring statistics and important diversity days.

Away-day feedback

The company made inclusion an essential part of its company-wide annual away day. Staff were asked whether there was evidence of focus on inclusion and diversity in the business and encouraged to give their views on the company’s initiatives.

Other communications initiatives

A team leader was appointed to follow up on away day feedback: This work aimed to bridge the gap between the company’s ambitions and its practical activities.

Womens Day: Female employees were encouraged to share ideas around creating a more female friendly environment. Suggestions included subsidies for off-site nurseries and a training programme for women returning from maternity leave.

Girls Day: IMI liaises with schools an ongoing basis and has employed a number of school leavers as apprentices.

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