11th Aug 2023
3 Min Read

D&I at SA: why we’re turning the lens on ourselves

Paige Lazonby
Paige Lazonby
People & Change

Our internal Hive sessions always get the team buzzing. But as well as giving us a space for inspiration and learning, they’re also a great opportunity to talk about how we’re creating better worlds of work for our own people.

D&I plays a huge part in building an environment where all SAers can truly thrive, which is why we’re putting it under the Hive spotlight.

We spoke to our HR manager Shelley Briggs about her upcoming series of D&I Hive sessions, and director of consultancy and resident D&I expert Russ Norton about what we’re doing in this space.

Shelley, what prompted you to do a D&I focused Hive series?


Everyone here is so busy focusing on clients and delivering D&I projects for them that sometimes they can lose track of what we have internally.

I want to make sure D&I is embedded in our day to day – our practices and procedures – but to make sure that happens everyone needs to be aware of the resources and support available, and how to access them.

We want to make sure everyone is aware of all our policies, too. We have a policy on pretty much everything – from maternity and paternity leave to trans-inclusion – but unless you’re directly affected by them, you may not know what they are, because you’ve never needed them.

Some businesses will just send around their D&I monitoring form and think, ‘great, we’re done for the next year now’, but diversity and inclusion isn’t just a tick box. It’s got to be part of everyday culture and conversations.

What are we going to be looking at and why is it important?


The first session will be an intro to D&I and why it’s so important to talk about, so people understand the purpose of the sessions. When people understand the purpose of what you’re doing, they’re much more likely to be engaged.

After that, the sessions will be focusing on neurodiversity, trans-inclusivity, the menopause and the andropause (male menopause). These are very topical themes and by shedding more light on them – for example: understanding that meetings could be overwhelming for a person with autism and they may be able to contribute more via digital communications or one-to-one; knowing the right language to use if someone is transitioning and how to spot menopause/andropause symptoms - we can help all SAers be better allies for one another, while showing them the adjustments that can be made to support them if they’re experiencing or living through such topics.

We’ll round off the sessions talking about general health and wellbeing. Mental health is the cornerstone of any D&I work and we want to keep up the conversation around it and let our people know who and where they can go to if they want to talk.

Russ, you support a lot of organisations with their D&I communications. How does it feel to turn the lens back internally?


I’m really excited that it’s happening and that it’s systemic. To have someone focused on it is lovely. It’s important to highlight that we’re on a journey of our own here. We’re a small and growing business in Yorkshire, and visibly, we don’t look that different from each other. But we have fantastic gender diversity and a great spectrum of neurodiversity within the team and are already very deliberate with being inclusive of the different energies, skills and styles of working that people have. There’s lots of educational diversity internally too. Some of the best people in our business don’t have degrees. Some of the other best people have got two degrees, or masters or PHDs. But it’s not a barrier or a prerequisite to succeeding. If you’ve got a creative flair, internal comms is one of the industries in which you can genuinely thrive because you’re celebrated for the skills you bring, not the qualifications you do/don’t have.

There’s celebration of the good, and a humility of where we are now and where we want to be, and being clear on how we intend to get there. You can’t diversify without diversity, so you have to start with inclusivity. Inclusive actions lead to diverse outcomes.

To find out how we can help you on your D&I journey, get in touch!

Links to support:

https://www.transunite.co.uk/ - TransUnite

https://www.s4nd.org/ - The Society for Neurodiversity (S4Nd)

https://mensgroup.com/ - Mens Group

https://www.menopauseandme.co.uk/en-gb - Menopause & Me

https://www.mind.org.uk/ - Mind

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