Tag: equality

to gather data about equality in university IT teams

Front Cover Issue 9 – Image of woman with household items: iron, thread etc. Usage terms: © Estate of Roger Perry Creative Commons Non-Commercial Licence – See more at: http://www.bl.uk/spare-rib/articles/design-and-spare-rib#sthash.LtV84Eu5.dpuf

In February 2018 an attempt was made from within UCISA to gather data about gender equality in university IT teams and to understand what focus there was on gender equality. An email survey of 20 questions gained 126 responses from 53 institutions.

The results are not formally published but have been presented at UCISA events in 2018 and influenced the decision to have a focus on gender equality at the UCISA leadership conference in 2019.  While recognising the limitations and unscientific nature of the email survey study it serves to highlight the need for further research and practice to support equality and diversity in IT departments in higher education in the UK.   Many of the respondents indicated that they did not think that their institution had in place policies to support gender equality and that in their workplace they could see that gender diversity was not widespread across teams, with project management and helpdesk teams having more women than other areas.

In the UCISA study the majority of respondents were concerned about gender equality and diversity in the IT profession – 80% indicated ‘definitely’ or ‘probably yes’ they were concerned, 11% were ‘not concerned’. 48% of respondents said their institution did not have any gender equality policies in place, and 57% reported that their IT departments did not have specific policies in place to support gender equality. (Fraser-Krauss & Priestley, 2018 unpublished?)

In their 2018 book ‘ Professional and Support Staff in Higher Education’ the authors note the absence of input from any digital, HR or IT professionals and suggest that there is more work to be done in integrating the contribution of these groups to leadership and scholarship:

“we (as contributors, colleagues, and more broadly as institutions) must take some deliberate steps to promote greater inclusion amongst authors contributing to research regarding professional and support staff, especially those who do not currently see themselves as part of the scholarly conversation. Professional and support staff within higher education are diverse, their roles multifaceted, and their contribution and experiences under-examined.”(Bossu et al., 2018b, p. 460)

The UCISA survey, however informal,  further informed the need for further, ongoing work to understand the experiences and perceptions of staff in university IT departments in relation to equality and diversity practice.

Here’s some data from University of Edinburgh IT Services Dept which we can add to the endeavour. EDI ISGReport Summary Report 2020

 

being a lert

PERFORMANCE COSTUME 2009, LEILA DEARNESS © Edinburgh College of Art http://images.is.ed.ac.uk/luna/servlet/s/xc5j6y

Let me just say, being a woke IT director is exhausting.

Not only do you end up writing theses about ‘diversity and digital leadership‘, you also find yourself employing OER service managers (to research and promote equitable distribution of resources), E-Safety Officers (to support students and staff who discover that the internet is not a safe space), and Data and Equality Officers (to ensure that your services and workplaces even know what they are doing).

You end up talking about digital accessibility  and inclusion at every meeting and you keep your antennae poised to nip any potential carcrashes in the bud.

So much of what we do is actually just about how we communicate it.

This month I’ve suggested:

  • That ‘Race Sub Group’ may be a difficult name for a good effort.
  • That ‘Welcome Period’ sounds odd too.
  • As do ‘Courses to help you with transitions’
  • That  Estates and Digital Infrastructure (EDI) is not the same as Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI)
  • That using a picture of Chinese students wearing masks might contribute to Sinophobia on campus
  • That there’s not much evidence that  ‘EDI training’ actually works.
  • That some staff may want to attend more than one ‘identity network’ in the workplace.
  • That we could add rainbows to Teams backgrounds instead of distributing rainbow lanyards to people’s homes.
  • That even if you are wearing a mask you should still wear a lapel mike.
  • That those huge video files you are struggling to upload to Media Hopper are the same ones your students with low bandwidth will struggle to download.
  • That no EQIA was done on the decision to not fund an improved subtitling service.  ART was offered several options but chose to accept the risk of putting the workload on to individual owners of their materials.   The nature of these speech to text robots (and many other algorithms) is that they are structurally biased. The data sets on which they are trained are largely spoken corpora from business settings, in male voices and with US accents.  So the burden of correction will fall disproportionately on women, people with accents and anyone teaching disciplines with words the robots do not already know.
  • That students choosing to study online rather than come into class isn’t evidence that the online learning is excellent, only that it is more attractive than catching Covid.

 

Diversity and digital leadership

Something I’ve been working on for a while:

Diversity and digital leadership: Understanding experiences of workplace equality and diversity and inclusion

Doing a doctorate part-time while working full-time has been exhausting and invigorating in equal measure. It has occupied my annual leave, evenings and weekends as well as two periods of prolonged industrial action and the covid lockdown. I have learned all kinds of new stuff, including a bunch of new digital and infolit skills.  As I get ready to submit my final thesis, here’s how my abstract is looking:

Abstract

The aim of this research is to gain an understanding of the experiences and perceptions of workplace equality and diversity issues amongst digital leaders in higher education. The participants interviewed for this study are digital leaders working in universities in Scotland in 2019. The study provides a snapshot of data which has been interpreted to provide an understanding of the participants’ experiences and attitudes towards workplace equality, diversity and inclusion. It is the first study of its kind as it focuses on overlapping areas of leadership (diversity, digital and organisational) amongst digital leaders in higher education, a group rarely researched. This study makes a contribution to both both theory and practice and is timely and useful for the university sector.

The study uses a feminist approach to research design and data analysis which serves to highlight the issues of power and privilege which shape the experience of the participants. It takes an intersectional approach to understanding the diverse identity characteristics of digital leaders, recognising that people’s identities and social positions at work are shaped by multiple and interconnected factors, and the significance of these factors for leadership.

In this study an insider researcher was well placed to investigate perceptions and experience and to make recommendations which influence ongoing practice. In order to be credible and useful to the sector research findings are presented with rigour which addresses concerns about assumptions and unfounded interpretations. The process of achieving this by research design, particularly in the formation of interview questions and data analysis is described. The original data gathered from participants is reported and presented alongside references to relevant literature where these serve to explain or shed light on how the data have been interpreted.  Quotations from the raw data have been included to demonstrate how interpretations of the data have been achieved and to illustrate findings. This ensures reflections of the participants are presented in their own voice and brings a lived experience and credibility to the findings by ensuring that data interpretation remains close to the words said. The data are presented against themes arising in the data, several of which reflect the themes highlighted as arising from the review of previous literature.

‘Digital leadership’ is an emerging area of leadership studies which is gaining popularity as organisations seek to ensure that their businesses are best positioned to thrive in an increasingly digital world. The role of senior management in leading change in organisations is well understood and increasingly researchers and practitioners now recognise expertise in workplace equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) as a significant area of valuable knowledge. ‘Diversity leadership’ is also an emerging discipline defined by combining diversity principles and leadership competencies for workplace development.

Digital leaders in higher education are a group of professional staff who lead specifically in areas of the organisation where the use of technology is key to the strategic delivery of higher education such as IT, AV, learning technology, student systems, business systems data and IT infrastructure.  Professional staff in higher education remain a much under-researched population of leaders. With increased professionalisation amongst these staff more now occupy senior executive positions within universities; roles that were previously only held by senior academics. The knowledge and skills which this group of senior leaders have are essential to the success of their institutions. The data in this study indicate that digital leaders do identify their own and organisational values as drivers for action around equality and diversity at work, and that these are negotiated and balanced in context and that that context includes policies, practice, leadership and risk.   This study offers a number of insights for understanding the importance of diversity knowledge as a leadership capability. The data shows that the ways in which managers approach and apply effort to issues in their workplace is heavily influenced by their own identity and personal experience. There is a risk in any sector that assumptions are made about the types of people who are managers and the kinds of things which will motivate them to champion issues over and above their day to day functional or multi-functional roles.  Although the participants in this study have no formal workplace designation as an equality and diversity lead in their organisation they are not ignorant of the organisational development and social justice reasons for engaging with EDI, and they see it as part of their leadership role. Digital leaders in this study were clear that they make choices about where to spend their time and that involvement in diversity and inclusion was just one of many areas which make calls upon their resources. Respondents highlighted that where they found it easier to get involved, they would, and they saw this as a help in delivering their jobs as leaders. They made a different set of considerations however, when deciding to become ‘champions’ themselves and this is inextricably linked to their perceptions of the associated risks. Digital leaders in this study  highlighted areas of personal, professional and reputational risks to themselves.  In some cases these risks were sufficient to discourage them. They found that championing equality, diversity and inclusion risked limiting their own social and cultural capital. Significantly they found that championing diversity could work against their leadership of digital thus undermining their leadership effectiveness.  Understanding these perceived risks, and the interplay of diversity and digital leadership is essential for moving forwards in developing digital and diversity leadership within organisations.

This study provides future researchers and practitioners with a starting point from which to study diversity and digital leadership activities in similar organisations and other universities, colleges and schools. Diversity management in the digital sector and higher education risks falling behind if it is slow to respond or support its digital leaders in this work. The findings of this study are a contribution to professional practice which may hope to facilitate a speedier response to the equality and diversity issues which are becoming increasingly high profile and urgent in higher education and in wider society as we embark on the 2020s.

Key words:  Digital, diversity, leadership, power, organisations, equality, inclusion, intersectional, interpretative, feminist, risk, business, higher education, professional, widening participation, women, STEM, class, race, IT, UK, human resources.

learning from demographic differences of lockdown

Graphic design from ISG BITS magazine

I wanted to know how the lockdown and working from home was experienced by staff in the University of Edinburgh. And I wanted to know whether this was experienced differently by different demographic groups.

Luckily I have a Data and Equality Officer working with me.

We conducted a survey at university level during 26th June – 6th July to better understand the experiences of staff members while working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic. A total of 5069 staff members participated in the survey. We used ONS standard questions on Wellbeing measures so we could benchmark and compare with similar studies.

The key purposes of the survey were to:

  • Understand EDI and other impacts of the COVID period and home working.
  • Serve as data for immediate decisions on how to better support staff working from home.
  • Serve as data for next steps for academic schools and Professional service groups on decisions on their return to campus plans.
  • Serve as data for decisions/discussions on longer term home/hybrid working and other reshaping thinking both locally and at a University level.

A report  was produced and a ‘power BI dashboard’ was  created so that managers and other staff members can interrogate the data (including demographic differences where this was possible) independently.

The Power BI dashboard however, does not highlight where differences in responses are statistically significant, and the overall report highlights where statistical difference is associated with high percentage differences. So Lilinaz produced a further report  to fill this gap by including all statistically significant findings for all demographic groups.

This report will be of interest to EDI officers and anyone who likes dis-aggregated data.

Professional staff were more likely to be interested in complete homeworking in the future. This was the case for more than a quarter (27%) of professional staff, compared to 12% of academic staff who were less likely to be interested in complete homeworking in the future.

Staff Homeworking Experience Survey Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion Report – Comparing Demographic Differences at University of Edinburgh.University of Edinburgh Homeworking EDI Report

You can read the whole thing, but here’s a taster:

Gender

  • Men were more likely to report a large negative impact of space, internet, working hours, and non-work responsibilities while working from home. They were more likely to report an overall large negative impact of home working on their work experience. Men were more likely to report low ratings for life satisfaction. They were more likely to not be interested in homeworking in the future.
  • Women were more likely to not have previous experience of home working, and were more likely to have their equipment wholly supplied by the University. They were more likely to report a large positive impact on working hours, non-work responsibilities, and other caring responsibilities while working from home. However, they were more likely to report a large negative impact on childcare while working from home. They were more likely to report a large negative impact on their research output. They were more likely to report an overall large positive impact of home working on their work experience. Women were more likely to report much more productivity than before. However, they were also more likely to report much more tiredness than before. Women were more likely to think that they are kept informed about matters affecting them, and be satisfied with the University resources in place to help them at this time. Women were more likely to report very high values on happiness, and high values for anxiety ONS measures.

what about Chris Brand?

Last evening I attended a very interesting talk by Angela Saini in conversation with Dr Shaira Vadasaria about the concept of race, from its origins to the present day.

It was an event hosted by Race.ED and was very good.

During her talk Angela mentioned Chris Brand and his time at Edinburgh, and suggested it was worth having a think about why he was here so long.  I was a student at the time. I remember Chris Brand. The anti-nazi league used to protest his lectures and security was brought in to protect him. He was fired after 27 years in 1997.

I thought I remembered that  there had been quite a long, drawn-out process to remove him, because of academic freedom. In the end, I think I remembered that it was the IT regs which brung him down, because he was writing offensive stuff on the university hosted website.

I was not 100% sure on this memory so I had a little rumage today.  According to contemporary reports, he was fired for conduct that “brought the university into disrepute” but the University had to change its statutes to do so.

“The procedures Edinburgh University used in the case of Mr Brand were new and designed to protect the interests of both the staff member and the institution. They were modified in the wake of the Education Reform Act of 1988 and subsequent 1992 Ordinance of University Commissioners, which established model statutes designed both to protect academic freedom and ensure that university disciplinary codes are sufficiently rigorous.”  THES April 1998

He sued and the university settled. The thing is, it also meant that “Statutes [were] changed to allow institutions to remove tenure, so that new staff could be fired because of financial exigency and not just good cause.”  and that, as the man himself said,  means that “Edinburgh University and any other university can sack any academic for any ****ing thing it likes at any time of the day or night.” THES April 1998

So, the work the University did in getting rid of him changed the landscape for academic freedom forever.  It would be interesting to research this in the University archives.

next slide please

Playground. Linda Gillard (c) University of Edinburgh Digital Image Collections CC BY-NC-ND 3.0 ECA Collection

You’ll remember that we have been working on equality, diversity  and inclusion (EDI) issues in ISG for some time.

Directors have now agreed that this work should continue. Which is full credit to many ISG colleagues who have been involved and given their time to supporting this work and organising events. I was very lucky to have a student intern (Dominique) working with me over several years and now to have an Equality and Data officer (Lilinaz)  for the next two years. This has given us the resource and time to really engage with our research. We have carried out 2 E&D surveys in ISG. One in 2015 and one in 2019. Both surveys led directly to recommendations for action.

You can read a report of the 2019 survey findings:

EDI ISGReport Summary Report 2020

Recommendations for EDI development in ISG for the next 2-5 years are drawn from staff feedback gathered from workshop participants, research literature and from interpretations of data gathered from ISG staff.

Here are some of the things we aim to do:

Quick top ten:

  1. Continue PlayFair Steps EDI initiatives which address the interpersonal aspects of intergroup relations, tacking issues of stereotyping, prejudice and discrimination.
  2. Combine data informed decision-making with qualitative and social science informed research to ensure that we make the best decisions for ISG.
  3. Seek and listen to the opinions and experiences of the minority groups in our organisation such as black and ethnic minority colleagues to better understand their experiences which may be hidden by statistical analysis grouping of data.
  4. Collect and analyse the data relating to EDI practices in ISG so we can track differences in career progression, pay, and promotions.
  5. Understand and address the gender and race pay gaps in ISG where they exist.
  6. Address the inequality that women and ethnic minority colleagues in ISG are more likely to be in low-paid, part-time and fixed-term roles.
  7. Proactively attempt to attract and retain a staff to reflect the diversity of the university. If that is not possible, we should at least aim to reflect the demographics of the region in which we live.
  8. Identify, support and reward the c40 staff who are developing as leaders in EDI, reflecting the value of this area of leadership in the organisation.
  9. Continue to engage directly with communities to show commitment to improving the lot of historically disadvantaged groups. Whether that be ‘women in tech’, disabled people or other minority groups.
  10. Monitor EDI impact of all our post-COVID19 recovery work with the knowledge that economic recovery is unlikely to be evenly spread.
Longer list:

EDI development

  • Market and promote sessions to encourage those who would not normally attend. Each session should clearly explain why it is taking place and what the benefits of attending are.
  • Provide context for EDI practices in addition to providing a snapshot of ISG as a workplace that can be presented to staff members. It serves to fill in a knowledge gap for staff members in why attending EDI sessions are recommended.
  • Help staff to connect the importance of having a good understanding of EDI to their roles and success as leaders and team managers.
  • Help staff to connect the importance of having a good understanding of EDI to their roles and success as service providers.
  • Develop case studies of teams, projects or services where ISG seems to benefit from ‘diversity advantage’.

Develop Networks

  • Do further research into the value of identity group networks and ‘allies’ in ISG.

Make time to attend

  • Managers should ensure that they make it possible for colleagues to attend EDI sessions.

Attend to Recruitment

  • Collect data on student employees, as anecdotal evidence suggests a more diverse group of students take up these positions, increasing the diversity within ISG. Knowing more about this demographic could inform hiring practices and the future of student employment within ISG (e.g. designing permanent roles that would follow internships).

Develop teams and leadership

  • Ensure that the growing group of ISG staff in the 16-24 age group are supported to develop, and that all managers are aware of the EDI issues inherent in cross-generational team working.
  • Encourage sharing of practice between directorates to address how staff participation in EDI activities can be supported and encouraged by managers.

tempered radicals

“Slow and steady wins the race” by katherine_hitt is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

This is the workshop Dominique and I will be running at the Advance HE Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Conference next week. Please do come along.

‘The role of the tempered radicals: experiences of making changes in our organisation‘.

‘Tempered radicals’ are individuals who are committed to and identify with the organisations in which they work and yet are also committed to a cause or ideology which is fundamentally at odds with with the dominant culture in that workplace. Debra Meyerson has written about how these change agents make tactical decisions to effect change without making trouble. If you think you too may be a tempered radical this is the session for you.

We have been working for four years in University of Edinburgh Information Services Group to build an intersectional diverse, adaptive, family-friendly and socially responsible workplace not through revolution or protest but by balancing a delicate set of  incremental equality, diversity and inclusion initiatives which provoke thought, nuance and  behaviour change.

In our presentation we will share our experience of being ‘tempered radicals’ working toward transformational change in an  organisation with historical structural inequalities while still being minority ethnic women and feminists in IT with successful careers.  In this workshop you will be encouraged to think about how your own radical agendas have been tempered by your experiences of your workplace and how this tempering can be used to make you stronger and more successful as agents of change in the organization you care about.

We will share stories, evidence and data to describe the impact this work can have.

2020 futures

Photo taken by me at the zoo. No rights reserved by me.

Happy new year to you, Reader.

In the long dark days of the Scottish winter when its tempting to hibernate it’s always nice to have a few things lined up to look forward to in the ‘Spring’. Here are some of the dates I already have in my diary. These are events and conferences at which I’ll be giving presentations or keynotes about a range of topics.

Over the the last few years I have  cut down on my international travel for work, but still very much enjoyed the range of events at which I get invited to speak.

If any of these topics interest you, it would be great to see you there.

Strategic leadership of open and online learning

31st March-  Keynote: Online Learning Summit  ‘Growing your University online: Routes to student success’.
Thank you to Margaret for the invitation.
18th June- Keynote at University of South Wales Learning & Teaching conference. Thank you to Catherine for the invitation.

 

The future of libraries and learning technology

27-28th May- Keynote: CONUL Conference 2020   ‘Imagining the future and how we get there’. http://conference.conul.ie Thank you to Laura for the invitation.

Wikimedia in the curriculum

I’ll be presenting with Ewan about our work embedding wikimedia in the curriculum and LILAC and OER20 and we’ll be launching our book of case studies of wikimedia in UK HE reflecting 5 years of ongoing work. At OER20 Lorna and I will be reviewing 5 years of our Open Educational Resources (OER) service at University of Edinburgh.

Digital literacy and digital skills

6-8 April  at LILAC conference I’ll be hosting a panel with Josie and Jane called ‘Hindsight 2020: if we knew then what we know now’ https://www.lilacconference.com/lilac-2020

Equality and diversity/women in STEM

17-19 March- Equality Diversity and Inclusion Conference 2020: ‘Courageous conversations and adventurous approaches: creative thinking in tackling inequality’ I’ll be presenting with Dominique about the experiences of making changes in our organisation and joining a panel about the the ‘taboo’ subject of menopause.  https://www.advance-he.ac.uk/programmes-events/conferences/EDIConf20

 

I am also planning to complete and defend a massive piece of writing which is currently a bit of a monster, but i’m hoping that preparing these presentations will help me to hone my ideas.

 

 

Award winning ‘Attraction and Resourcing’

Satu, Kevin, Jeanette and me with our award which weighs a ton.

We are delighted to win the Scottish HR Network Magazine  Attraction & Resourcing Award of the Year 2019

Executive Summary:

The University of Edinburgh is committed to providing employment opportunities for Edinburgh students. The student workers in our organisation transform the culture, bring new viewpoints and diversity to our teams and provide unique student perspectives on our services to help us improve. Increasing the number of students who work in our organisation is part of our strategic ambitions and a vital part of enabling the University effectively to meet future challenges.

For the last 4 years we have had specific programmes in place to recruit and support students into our data, digital and IT jobs as interns over the summer and as part time workers throughout the year. Students work in our organisation in a wide range of roles including: as web developers, IT trainers, media producers, project support officers, help desk staff, graphic designers, AV fit-out technicians, data analysts and learning technologists. We aim to develop a strong and vibrant community of young staff who are supported, valued, developed and engaged.

Students are also the main consumers of our services. By employing them to work on projects that affect them we benefit from a rich source of productivity and innovation to help shape and improve these services.

The work on this initiative is ongoing and growing. Team managers are finding opportunities to attract and work with students across more and more projects.  They say:

“It started with a single summer internship analysing some data from our MOOC courses. Since then we’ve had summer interns developing media migration tools, capturing case studies on how media is used, assessing chat bots and where they could fit into our work, and helping with the roll out of lecture recording. This year we also had a team of around 30 students working with us over the start of term to support lecture recording use in large teaching spaces.”

“Personally I loved the experience of working with students again, and in a brand new area of IT support. I find their enthusiasm for the role and energy is infectious and I’m always looking for ways to challenge them and help them grow in the role”’

The work we have done at Edinburgh University is easily transferable to other institutions and there is a sector imperative now to build and grow talent in organisations. The competition for new graduates is fierce and the investment in students now yields return for the future. Students bring a new diversity to our workforce and contribute to a change in workplace culture enhancing our ways of working across intergenerational teams.

Our CIO has set a target within the Strategic Plan to employ at least 500 students over the course of each academic year.

Supporting Evidence

  1. Evidence of a particular recruitment project that has impacted positively on the organisation including evidence of the planning, delivery, evaluation and return on investment

University of Edinburgh HR colleagues have planned and delivered more than 300 employment opportunities so far this year as part of this project. Because we are responsible for all the digital services across libraries, IT, learning technologies and study spaces in the university we are in a perfect position to offer flexible, 21st Century skills employment to our students.

The impact on our organisation can be seen several ways:

  • The experience we are gaining in developing our scheme in response to feedback from our student workers has led to improvement in practice. We have a staff network for interns and managers to share experiences and learning.
  • Our projects and services improve as a result of the skills, creativity, input and ideas brought by the students.
  • Our understanding of our users is improved by the perspective that our students bring to the workplace. Their outside perspective is useful in terms of challenging and broadening our thinking.
  • Our student workers are now a growing group of ‘Alumni’ who have worked with us and may promote or choose our organisation in the future.
  • Some of our student workers are now returners who return to work with us each year in different roles.
  1. Demonstrate the positive outcomes in planning for future skills and abilities being assessed and delivered

Positive outcomes can be seen in the work being done to generate a sustainable pipeline of talent. Giving individuals the platform they need to excel is critical to our long-term success and also helps us make a vital contribution to our community.  Providing work experience and supporting employability empowers our students, which we hope we may benefit from in the future.

We support a positive employment experience for our student workers and encourage them to create LinkedIn profiles to evidence their skills and to engage with their peers through promotional videos and blogging about their work experience. Every student who works with us should leave able to describe an experience of working in a professional environment, on a meaningful project, with real responsibilities, and have a good non-academic referee to add to their CV.

Students can also complete an ‘Edinburgh Award’ – a wrap-around reflective learning framework that helps students to articulate their work experience. We can measure the impact of our student employment initiatives through the ways in which the students reflect on the value of their experience.

The cohort have also become a loyal group of workers who identify us as their employer of choice.

  1. Evidence that the recruitment & selection process contributes to overall effectiveness of the talent strategy

The University is one of the largest local employers, covering multiple sectors and job roles. The University of Edinburgh has a Youth and Student Employment Strategy 2017–2021, which presents our whole-institution approach to employability skills.

The University is committed to long-term goals in creating, promoting and delivering opportunities that enhance the employability of our students.  The University recognises the shortage of highly skilled data, digital and IT workers and is therefore safeguarding for the future and building a sustainable talent pipeline, which addresses current and future skills requirements. In addition, this gives our students the platform they need to excel, which is critical to our long-term success, our competitive advantage and also helps us make a vital contribution to our community. This is particularly important for sectors with national skills shortages such as science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and this is an opportunity to ‘grow our own’ in these areas.

The National Student Survey (NSS) and Edinburgh Student Experience Survey (ESES) results have highlighted areas for improvement in recent years. Developing more student employment opportunities is one way to improve the student experience and expands the employment prospects of our graduates.

  1. Evidence of the organisations commitment to diversity and assessment of skills to ensure organisation performance and culture fit

Universities are well placed to employ students in flexible ways, but often we assume that these will be in fairly low skill jobs in our shops, bars and residences. In exploring digital, library and IT opportunities we have opened up a variety of roles and reaped the benefit of a vibrant new group of staff with new ideas for our organisation.  Our students are amongst the best and brightest in the world. We are lucky to have a pool of such talent and creativity available to us.

As an employer within a university we are afforded unique opportunities to engage our student body, including delivering learning technologies used in curriculum, improving their study spaces and access to research.

Students are sensitive to image and want to work for organisations that wear their ‘inclusivity-heart’ on their sleeve, so we have promoted a cultures of equality and diversity, as part of our change agenda, to ensure that our reps on campus reflect these values.

By empowering our students they become champions and ambassadors for our work, which brings business benefits as we strive to roll-out new technologies and the cultural changes associated with these different ways of working.

  1. Evidence of effective interview techniques and the role of induction offered to new employees

To identify and attract the best candidates and provide a positive experience for both interviewers and interviewees, ISG supports and promotes best practice in our recruitment processes.  We think about how we can:

  • Be targeted: writing tailored questions for different audiences is time-consuming, but really effective.
  • Be distinctive: with so many opportunities out there, be clear about what makes your organisation different.
  • Be aware: of your own non-verbal communication and unconscious bias.

We want each student to get the most out of their employment experience with us, so as part of our induction process, we have collaborated with our Careers Service and HR colleagues to create a ‘digital student guidebook’.

To help line managers and staff support these groups, we’ve developed ISG ‘student experience’ resources, as well as collated a list of useful tools and platforms to enhance professional development and support students balancing employment alongside their studies.

In addition, we run ‘career insight’ sessions, to get staff talking about their career/role (what a typical ‘day in the life of’ looks like, how they got here etc.) with the objective that it will provide new employees with an understanding of the diverse range of careers available and create a space for them to ask questions.

data for measuring change in equality and diversity

We began the PlayFair Steps four years ago in ISG to bring a culture change and raise awareness of E&D issues.  We’ve been lucky to have an impressive selection of academic colleagues and researchers come to give talks and seminars about age, race, disability, sexuality, religion, class and policy issues in the workplace.

Diversity efforts  which are systemic and structural  in organisations take time. Long-term culture change requires a significant commitment of resources and leadership.  We need to conduct regular employee attitude surveys about E&D  to understand how our culture is changing. Or not.

Organisational-level change take time to materialize, given the risks of setbacks and variable commitment over time. Very few organisations actually publish cultural audit survey data, most  keep the data internal for fear of negative publicity or other adverse outcomes.

We surveyed in 2015 and have just done so again in 2019.

This year 76.1% of you agree that our workplace is inclusive, compared to 40.1% in 2015. Those of you who have worked here 3 – 5 years are most likely to remember the launch of PlayFair Steps and the E&D change theme;  83% of you now agree that ISG inclusive.  

This is a really positive change. Please continue to get involved and give us feedback.

You say:

‘ It’s a great way of meeting new people, or simply feeling like you are part of a workplace where there are like-minded people.

The events are consistently thoughtfully organised and insightful. They cover a range of topics, most of which I have limited experience with but interest me a great deal”,  

it is really important as a colleague and a manager to take time out to listen to others’ perspectives in the workplace’.

We are going to do more with our data too.  This week we are interviewing for a new post: Data and Equality Officer.

Data and Equality Officer 

“At University of Edinburgh we want to use our data in inclusive ways. We are looking for a Data and Equality Officer to join our IT central teams.  

You will help us to ensure that we have the data we need to understand the experience of our diverse staff and students in the University. You will have a passion for data, good data handling skills and knowledge of gender equality, diversity and inclusion issues.   

This a new role, created as part of our digital transformation and our commitment to ensuring that our IT services and projects challenge the structural biases and assumptions of the past. ”

It’s a strong field, so I hope we will get someone to fill Dominique’s fabulous shoes.

You can read more about the PlayFair Steps https://thinking.is.ed.ac.uk/melissa/playfair-steps/