How to bypass the buzzwords and walk the walk

7 ways to take meaningful action on diversity and inclusion by our Head of Business Nuala Murphy as published in Business Post Ireland.

If I asked you to name five business buzzwords du jour, I’m willing to bet that diversity and inclusion would make the list. There’s nothing wrong per se with buzzwords – our first contact with a new concept might come that way, helping to disseminate important ideas – but they all too often lack meaning or lose power. We add business buzzwords to our websites, scatter them around the office and sprinkle them liberally throughout our corporate communications – without pausing to ask ourselves whether we actually mean what we say.

If you’ve proclaimed your commitment to inclusion without asking yourself some difficult questions about your unconscious bias, or implemented a diversity training programme without gauging what it’s like for people from under-represented groups to work for you, then there’s a chance you’ve fallen foul of the buzzword bandwagon. And as I’ve said, there are worse crimes. Banging the drum for diversity because it’s hip in the business world is better than not making a sound about it – but shouting into the wind ultimately serves no-one. Here’s how to bypass the buzzwords and walk the walk of building a more diverse and inclusive workplace without tokenistic gestures.

Understand the wider context
Gender and diversity aren’t issues that exist in a vacuum. The importance of equal opportunity in the workplace hasn’t drifted onto the business radar by accident. From Me Too to the Black Lives Matter movement, the experiences and sacrifices of people from under-represented groups have helped to shape the narrative that has brought us to this point. Take time to read and listen to those accounts and to amplify those voices that form the wider context of building a more equal society.

Don’t create office housework

Research undertaken in 2019 by McKinsey and LeanIn revealed that while women were stepping up as leaders in the workplace – as well as undertaking the majority of the work when it came to diversity, equity and inclusion – they were also suffering from burnout. Without male allies or champions, the work of advancing diversity and inclusion quickly becomes little more than office housework. 

Recognise the legacy of the pandemic

The pandemic encouraged us to re-evaluate our lives so that people no longer just want a job with a big name employer and a good salary – employees place more value on balance, equilibrium and on impact.

Embark on a journey, don’t tick a box

I have had exposure at scale to many different companies at many different sizes, each on a journey with diversity and inclusion with different resources and competing business needs. I’ve seen that if you don’t have a senior level executive championing equality and shaping behaviour and culture, it’s not going to be embedded in the organisation and that means impact is limited. It’s not a tick-box exercise. It’s a journey that needs to be embraced from top to bottom and back again.  We see a lot of employee of the month initiatives and photos of companies who are recognising the great work of their employee resource groups – and that is all good. But embedding diversity and inclusion is more than a health and wellbeing webinar, or a monthly celebration. It actually needs to be across the board to be successful.

Make it visible

Gender and diversity need to be championed and sponsored in the board room. Senior executives need to act visibly and noisily, spending time listening, communicating and representing the importance of diversity and inclusion at every level of the business, from resource investment to transparency in decision making.

Measure impact

Efforts to advance diversity must be measured and people need to be held accountable, whether that’s in performance, recruitment, decision making or hires and promotions. Equality is ultimately about ensuring different ways of thinking are represented in the room, whether you are making a product or providing a service. 

Ask the hard questions

Inclusion and diversity are ultimately about everyone feeling they can have value and influence and bring their whole selves to work, if they choose to.  It’s not just for numbers; it has to effect change. For all organisations with or without HR departments, it’s vital to ask difficult questions about where the organisation is at. Where does it want to go. How is it going to get there. And which behaviours and practices need to stop, what needs to continue and where to start

Nuala Murphy: Buzzwords lose meaning if they’re not backed up with action | Business Post

If you have not yet joined Diversity Mark on your company’s Diversity and Inclusion journey please reach out to to discuss the benefits and process.

You can CLICK HERE to join Diversity Mark and work towards achieving the Diversity Mark accreditation.

Alchemy Technology Services ranked number 11 on the UK’s Best Workplaces™ for Women List 2021

Anne O’Neill (Head of HR), Katie Forrest (HR Assistant), Lauren Baker (Resource Manager)

Congratulations to Diversity Mark signatory Alchemy Technology Services who ranked number 11 of the female on the UK’s Best Workplaces for Women List 2021.

100% of the female workforce at Alchemy said, “Taking everything into account, I would say this is a great place to work”

This follows the company’s recent ranking as number 29 on the UK’s Best Workplaces List.

To make the list of Best Workplaces for Women, Alchemy had to meet additional criteria from their UK Best Workplaces recognition including having at least 25% women in the workforce, at least 25% of women in senior positions and at least 80% average positive survey responses from the female workforce. 

Considering factors such as daily encounters of innovation, inclusivity, company values, and the effectiveness of leaders, the women of Alchemy rated their workplace experience as consistently great. 100% of the female workforce at Alchemy said, “Taking everything into account, I would say this is a great place to work” and on average, rated the company 93% across the board.

John Colwell, Board Sponsor for Diversity and Inclusion said, “We have always been proactive about ensuring we have a female workforce who feel supported and secure in their roles. The Tech industry is renowned for having few women in roles at all levels, so we are delighted to see that our efforts are paying off and that we have a higher-than-average female to male ratio and women in Leadership at Alchemy.”

Anne O’Neill, Head of HR said, “It is so important that we not only create an environment where our female employees are treated fairly and equitably but that we lay the groundwork to ensure that young women and girls coming through school and higher education feel that a successful and prosperous career in Tech is within their reach. We have been and will continue to be active within schools and various groups to break down stereotypes and ensure that young women feel empowered to consider and are supported to pursue IT as a career.”

Alchemy have already achieved the Bronze Award Accreditation with Diversity Mark which is a “Mark of Progress” that publicly declares their commitment to advancing Diversity and Inclusion across the organisation. Through this process they established targets to review all policies and procedures for gender bias, increase the percentage of women in the workplace and through engagement with external bodies supporting gender equality, encourage and support women to become more confident and successful.

If you have not yet joined Diversity Mark on your company’s Diversity and Inclusion journey please reach out to to discuss the benefits and process.

You can CLICK HERE to join Diversity Mark and work towards achieving the Diversity Mark accreditation.

FinTrU awarded the Silver Diversity Mark for their commitment to diversity and inclusion

FinTrU is delighted to announce that the company has been awarded the Silver Diversity Mark for its continued commitment to diversity and inclusion.

The Diversity Mark is awarded to companies following an independent assessment process which ensures they have reached the required standard of commitment to advancing diversity and inclusion. FinTrU is one of seven organisations in Northern Ireland to have been awarded the Silver Diversity Mark out of 90 organisations.

Darragh McCarthy, Founder & CEO

Speaking of the achievement, FinTrU Founder & CEO, Darragh McCarthy said “FinTrU’s commitment to diversity and inclusion is unwavering as we continue to grow as a company. We want all employees to have a sense of belonging at FinTrU and to be their true selves at work. I am very proud of the teams, committees and leaders at FinTrU who have brought our diversity and inclusion commitment to life with their dedication to events, education and engagement. Our goal is to continue to be a leading employer in Northern Ireland and we are steadfastly focused on ensuring our company provides everyone with the opportunity to be comfortable at their workplace and excel in their careers.”

Diversity Mark’s independent panel commended FinTrU for succeeding the target for Gender diversity at entry level, commitment to female development at all levels, employee centric response to BAME related matters, and the continued efforts in educating employees on issues affecting those within both BAME and LQBTQ+ communities. They have recognised FinTrU’s diversity and inclusion efforts as exemplary and noted that as a leading organisation in Northern Ireland, they can be at the forefront of influencing others to follow their lead.

Christine White, Head of Business at Diversity Mark addedWe congratulate everyone at FinTrU on their innovative and progressive approach and we look forward to supporting them on their Diversity and Inclusion journey over the coming years.”

Sinead Carville, Chief Human Resources Officer

FinTrU Chief Human Resources Officer, Sinead Carville, added “We are very proud of this recognition and we want to acknowledge the fantastic work that our employees have put in to create a welcoming environment for all people. We strongly believe that giving our people a voice to drive employee engagement in this area has led to this recognition. FinTrU is extremely committed to diversity and inclusion as a means to support our employees. Not only is it the right thing to do, but it also plays an imperative role in the successes achieved by our people at FinTrU.”

With the Silver Diversity Mark achieved, FinTrU’s target moves towards Gold recognition. There are currently no organisations in Northern Ireland with the Gold Diversity Mark and FinTrU will continue to strive to demonstrate this standard.

Once again huge congratulations to all the team at FinTrU on being awarded the Silver Diversity Mark.

You can read more about Diversity Mark Accreditations here.

You can learn more about FinTrU’s commitment to diversity here.

Danske Bank announces CEO transition

UK Chief Executive, Kevin Kingston and Current Deputy CEO, Vicky Davies at Diversity Mark signatory Danske Bank.

Diversity Mark Silver accredited Danske Bank UK Chief Executive, Kevin Kingston, has decided to retire later this year. Current Deputy CEO, Vicky Davies, will then take up the position, subject to regulatory approval.

Chair of the Bank’s Board, Gerald Gregory, said:

“As CEO Kevin has made a huge contribution to the strategic and cultural development of the Bank. His personal commitment and strong leadership has further strengthened Danske Bank’s leading position in Northern Ireland. His decision to announce his planned retirement now allows for a period of transition. The Board looks forward to working with Vicky in her new capacity over the years ahead.”

Kevin Kingston said:

“It is of course with mixed emotions that I announce my intention to step down as Chief Executive by the end of the year. Now that we are hopefully through the worst of the pandemic, and looking toward a brighter future, the timing feels right. It has been a privilege and an honour to lead the Bank over the past six years and to work with so many inspirational colleagues. When I do leave, I know that Vicky and our strong local management team will continue to prioritise customer experience, while retaining a strategic focus on growing the business for the future.”  

Vicky Davies (45) will become the first female chief executive in the Bank’s 200-year history.

A Cambridge graduate, she started her career as a management consultant at Accenture in London. After gaining her MBA at the renowned INSEAD business school in France, Vicky joined Ulster Bank in 2005.

She moved on to become part of Danske Bank’s senior management team in 2012, initially as Head of Business Development, then becoming Managing Director of Strategy & Corporate Development. She joined the Board of Danske Bank UK in 2016, becoming its first ever female executive director. In 2019 she was appointed Deputy CEO. Vicky is also a Board member at the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Proud of her Welsh roots, Vicky has lived in Northern Ireland for sixteen years, is married to a Northern Irishman and has four young sons.

Vicky Davies said:

“Under Kevin’s leadership Danske Bank UK has undergone a significant transformation, and as part of his leadership team I am extremely proud of all we have accomplished. I would like to thank him for the support he has given me over the past six years.

“I am both humbled and delighted be CEO designate. As we look ahead with optimism, I firmly believe Northern Ireland will grow again and that Danske Bank will have a central role to play in the recovery. As the biggest bank in Northern Ireland we are well positioned to continue to support our customers, to be there when they need us and to help them realise their ambitions.”

Congratulations to Vicky from the Diversity Mark team.

Click here to find out more about the Diversity Mark accreditation programme.