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Joanne Lockwood

SEE Change Happen Ltd

Inclusion and Belonging Specialist

Read more from Joanne Lockwood

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How to make a difference when nobody’s listening

How can L&D professionals navigate the challenges of limited time, resources and a lack of receptive audience? Joanne Lockwood shares strategies for making a difference in the employee experience, even when no one is listening.
toddler's standing in front of beige concrete stair representing small steps to change in EDI and people experiences

In the fast-paced world of business, making a difference in the realm of employee experience can often feel like an uphill battle. 

I, like many, am extremely frustrated that I can’t make change now, with my magic wand. 

I would wish, like many, for the world to be more welcoming and inclusive for all. One where we can all thrive and not merely survive for who we are. 

Alas, that is not the case, so what can we do?

Small changes, a massive difference

Let’s start by amplifying small efforts and wins. We can make significant progress through small, consistent actions to fostering a culture of inclusion and positive employee experience. 

If we use the 1% principle, and take the number one and raise it to the power of 365, at the end of the year we still have one. If we add 1% more to that and work with 1.01 over the year that equates to 37.8, which is itself a 3780% improvement just through that 1% incremental effort compounded over the year.  

It is important to remember where we started. Often, whilst we think we haven’t made progress, we have when we look back at our journey it has been significant.

Additionally, we have to recognise that not everyone is ready and onboard with a hockey stick curve of change. We have our BAU (business as usual) plus all of the other day-to-day challenges that crop up, coupled with people’s inherent resistance to rapid change. Taking the slow and steady approach is often more inclusive, sustainable and results in lasting change.

We, as HR and L&D professionals, can focus on the achievable; those incremental changes that collectively make a substantial impact.  

In this way, we can start to ask ourselves, “What can I do, right now?”, “What’s stopping me?", “How can I remove those blockers?” and “What support can I leverage to help me in this?”.

Let’s start by amplifying small efforts and wins

Leveraging technology and innovation

By utilising technology to help streamline equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) initiatives and to also enhance our employee experience, we can, even in resource-constrained environments, start to drive change. 

Often, the investment we have already made in these platforms is underutilised. More benefits can be gleaned through a little investigation, innovation and training.

Indeed, there are many tools and platforms that can maximise impact without heavy upfront resource investment. We live in a world where artificial intelligence (AI) is now prevalent and everywhere we look. This can help with collaboration on policy development and best practices guides, creation of infographics and FAQs.

Cultivating allies and advocates

The power of building a network of allies within the organisation to support EDI efforts, even when faced with resistance, is crucial.  

Leveraging lived experience from our Staff Networks and Employee Resource Groups is a good place to start (without overburdening them). These colleagues can be sounding boards and help us build active allies in the organisation.

As HR and L&D professionals, we can start to communicate the importance of EDI and employee experience to sceptical stakeholders and slowly, but surely, change hearts and minds – through well thought out and planned initiatives, a ‘little and often’ is a sound strategy.

We can start to communicate the importance of EDI and employee experience to sceptical stakeholders

Empowering employee-led initiatives

When we are short of resources, time and money, we can explore the potential of empowering employees to drive change from within. 

Successful employee-led initiatives that have positively impacted EDI and employee experience often include commemorative events for occasions such as Pride, Ramadan, Menopause, Prostate and Breast Cancer Awareness.  

Through these types of initiatives, we can bring awareness to the wider organisation. We can also foster active allies and bring forward ideas for change.

L&D professionals have the power to make a meaningful difference

Key takeaways for makind a difference

  • Making a difference in EDI and employee experience is possible even in challenging circumstances
  • Small, consistent efforts can lead to significant positive change over time
  • Technology and innovation can be leveraged to maximise impact without extensive resources
  • Building a network of allies and empowering employees are crucial strategies for overcoming resistance and driving change
  • The voice of HR and L&D professionals is instrumental in advocating for a more inclusive and positive work environment, even when faced with obstacles

Let me finish by saying, while the challenges of limited time, resources and resistance may seem daunting, HR and L&D professionals have the power to make a meaningful difference in the realms of EDI and employee experience. 

By embracing strategic, innovative, and inclusive approaches, we can drive positive change and create a more equitable and enriching workplace for all.

What is your 1% that can make all the difference?

If you enjoyed this article, you can read more by Joanne Lockwood here.

Author Profile Picture
Joanne Lockwood

Inclusion and Belonging Specialist

Read more from Joanne Lockwood
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