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How to start a monumental task

Lucia Schweigert
Lucia Schweigert
Flowers in a field - Life Size Blog
Diversity and inclusion
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During our transition to employee ownership in 2023, we formalised the values we want to live by as Life Sizers. They are enshrined in our Deeds of Trust, a crucial document for employee-owned businesses.

One of those three values is to be “committed to creating a genuinely inclusive and diverse culture whilst actively and continually improving this culture”. This will take two forms for us: 

  1. We want to have a positive impact on the climate tech ecosystem while acknowledging that we are still trying to figure out how we have that impact.  Right now, we feel that our most valuable possible impact will come through supporting the next generation of climate tech professionals. We will explore this in the coming months.
  2. We want to be a diverse team with an inclusive culture. We understand that being diverse and inclusive is beneficial for us as a company and for our clients. But it won’t transform the climate tech space, it won’t be fast and it will be hard to quantify. We’re a small bunch of people, we’re not statistics.

What we found challenging

When faced with a task that feels so significant that you’re not sure how or where your contribution can make any real difference, the biggest challenge often comes with getting started. This is where we have continuously found ourselves when setting out to assess and improve diversity and inclusion within our company.

Most advice out there is for large, global corporations with several thousand employees. We’re a small company. We don’t know where to start. We have tried external training several times and then our efforts ground to a halt each time. We don’t feel inspired or convinced by what others are doing (no blame on them, we understand how difficult it is through our own failings). 

We have to forge our own path. We have to accept that we will not always get it right, that it will take an unknowable amount of time and that we will be vulnerable to criticism from colleagues and people outside of Life Size. We may even hurt colleagues or place undue strain on them.  This feels horrible and is the reason this task feels so daunting. But acknowledging the truth of the difficulty is the first step to getting started, or continuing again.

An obvious thing to say is that we start by engaging with the topic. But if engaging means reading about it and thinking about it, then you could argue what’s the point? Will it create change? Have an impact? Propel the movement forward?

We want to and we must translate our thinking into action. It may be slow, it may be flawed. But we’re doing it to the best of our ability.

How we got started

In 2023, we decided to form three small groups within Life Size that would each be responsible for ensuring that we commit to a different area of our core values. This means that we have a dedicated group of Life Sizers who are driving the conversation around diversity and inclusion and identifying actions we will take to deliver on this value.

We agreed during our first meeting that we want to dedicate ourselves to both reflection and action. So we started by identifying the eight key areas of our business where diversity and inclusion can, and should, be considered:

  1. Recruitment
  2. Career progression
  3. Leadership
  4. Work environment
  5. Zero tolerance for bullying, discrimination and harassment
  6. Our clients
  7. Community engagement
  8. Learning

 

Since then, we have been meeting every three weeks to review our progress, support each other and put the next steps in place.

We began by tackling the foundational work. The things that we can complete quite swiftly and, though they may not have a major impact, are small steps forward – and each step matters.
We reviewed and updated workplace policies, including our hiring process, and decided that diversity and inclusion would become a focal topic on this blog. 

There is still a lot of work to be done and we are aware of that but what matters right now is that we have started. We didn’t allow the fear or the magnitude of the task or our lack of expertise on this topic to act as an obstacle in our pursuit of delivering on an important value within our business. 

As a team, we have taken the first small steps, which has given us the momentum to propel ourselves forward to whatever comes next. 

If you have any questions about our diversity and inclusion work or would like to continue following us on this journey, then connect with us on LinkedIn.

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