WISE MPE: Ten Steps best practice insights for all

Northumbrian Water’s Micky Nicholas

The Measuring Progress Event is a highlight of our year at WISE, and this year the event, Make Difference A Strength, which ran on 9 November 2022, was no different. In addition to providing the team with a gem phrase or two, including “if you treasure it you measure it” (credit to Micky Nicholas from Northumbrian Water), it gave us incredibly valuable insight into our member’s equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) successes and challenges.

The event is an annual opportunity for members to submit their WISE Ten Steps diagnostic allowing them to monitor their progress year on year, as well as compare their score with those of other members.

This year’s event also touched on intersectionality, with several presenters talking about their work to support neuro-diverse staff.

The programme began with our wonderful diversity and inclusion lead Jack Painter setting the scene on overall scores, the lowest scoring steps, and more.

Scores are collated once members have completed their detailed 50 question diagnostic on each of the Ten Steps. The survey can be filled in by a lead or distributed to an entire division or more.

Jack explained that the average score for members increased to 68.6 of 100 compared with 2021 when it was 67.4. This was down from 69 in 2020. He also impressed the importance of sharing the diagnostic widely since it provides member companies with good insight into whether their EDI initiatives are known about and being used by staff.

The lowest scoring steps, Increasing transparency of opportunity for progression, demonstrate to women that you want to retain and develop them, and sponsor female talent to the same extent as male talent formed the basis of three breakout sessions that were packed with insights from member companies.

Jack was followed by Abi Frost and Barry Cowell from engineering-services firm WSP who gave an engaging presentation on the organisation’s menopause project and neurodiversity as well as lessons from its Ten Steps project.

WSP were followed by an inspiring Micky Nicholas who gave a great overview of Northumbrian Water’s EDI journey and talked about how important data collection is to measuring EDI progress (we concur, Micky!).

Andrea MacFarlane from AWE was next, she has a background in data science and talked about the high prevalence of neurodiverse people at the organization, the best way of supporting them, and how this ties into the change mindsets by challenging bias and sexism step of the Ten Steps. 

The event was genuinely insightful and we would urge all WISE members on the Ten Steps journey to sign up to the next one! We’ll announce the date on our member’s newsletter and social media next summer.

The WISE Measuring Progress Event is an annual opportunity for WISE and other member companies to find out about progress, initiatives and challenges as well as helping WISE to facilitate the sharing of best practice. You can read the 2021 report here. We will post the 2022 report in the member’s area of the website early next month.