Why are we doing this?
Diversity is a moral imperative – anyone who believes in social justice and equality of opportunity must also see the need to address inequity and injustice in the workplace. Most people have experienced exclusion at some point in their lives, and can appreciate the emotional impact. However, exclusion has both economic and social impacts as well. Exclusion is sustaining a business environment in which certain types of work are continually undervalued, resulting in some communities (e.g. working mothers, people of colour) living with much lower access to financial independence.
It is incumbent on all of us to create and maintain equal access to opportunities, not just executives, HR, or hiring managers. Every employee contributes to workplace cultures through their daily interactions, and therefore every employee has a role to play in creating an inclusive culture.
We believe that all people should feel safe and welcome in the workplace and in their communities. This belief is enshrined in law in the UK (Equalities Act 2010), the US (Employment Non-Discrimination Act), and in the EU (Article 21 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union).
However, it is also well-documented that diversity delivers proven business benefits. Given the many challenges facing scholarly communications at present, our industry can’t afford to leave these on the table. The lack of diversity and inclusion in the industry is causing a range of issues, including limiting our talent pool, reducing resilience in our staffing, and driving a persistent inability to adequately represent our markets and stakeholders. Diversity can also prevent echo chambers within teams or organizations. It is well documented that teams with different viewpoints make more effective and considered decisions, and are able to innovate more effectively.
Aims and objectives
Through this manifesto we aim to call on all scholarly communications professionals to help in:
- Generating equality of access to opportunities in scholarly publishing to all.
- Generating access to a wide range of skills and perspectives for scholarly publishers.
- Growing the industry and moving it to a sustainable resourcing footing through improved diversity and inclusion.
- Creating a culture where a wide range of views and perspectives are valued and respected, and where no one fears to speak out about discrimination.
In this document we are using the term “diversity” to refer to those things which make a person individual, including, but not limited to, socio-economic circumstances, gender, ability, sexuality, age, ethnicity, or religious or political beliefs. Our aim is that teams and organizations should reflect and embrace the diversity of the communities that they serve.
This term is used here to mean the working practice of accommodating, supporting and embracing diversity and the removal of discrimination, intolerance, tokenism, and barriers to any individual due to difference from the majority. This includes practising mutual respect for qualities and experiences that are different from our own, recognising that institutional discrimination of any kind sustains privilege for some and disadvantages others, and proactively creating a welcoming and safe environment throughout the industry. Diversity is fact, but creating an atmosphere of inclusion requires proactivity. We call on the industry to commit to making this choice and acting on it.
In order to understand matters of diversity and inclusion within the wider scholarly publishing industry, there must be a commitment to researching the existing demographics of our workforce. Without earnest, transparent and accessible research we can never hope to understand the ways in which we need to improve.
Matters of diversity and inclusion can be very complex and cannot be fully understood through any one metric or report. Instead we must strive towards a state in which we are continually asking questions, devising new methodology to explore said questions, and interrogating the data to gain a better understanding of our industry.
One example of this type of research was recently introduced by the UK government. As part of the Equality Act 2010 (Gender Pay Gap Information) Regulations 2017, all private and voluntary sector employers with 250 or more employees are required to report on their status of their gender pay gap. The regulations stated that from 2017, employers need to report on the following items:
- Mean gender pay gap in hourly pay.
- Median gender pay gap in hourly pay.
- Mean bonus gender pay gap.
- Median bonus gender pay gap.
- Proportion of males and females receiving a bonus payment.
- Proportion of males and females in each pay quartile.
This reporting has shed light on which organizations have problems with the gender pay gap, and has provided many people the opportunity to examine and discuss the issue within a framework of data and research. Another important element in this example is the unprecedented level of transparency the regulations have engendered – for the first time in the UK, employees across industries were able to understand their own organizational data within a broader context.
Whilst this is undeniable step forward for employers in the UK, it is important that we do not wait for governmental legislation before we start conducting this type of research and discussing our diversity and inclusion policies.
How to use metrics
Using research frameworks and establishing metrics can be a very useful way to understand, explore and refine our approaches to diversity and inclusion. However, any metric can be limited and flawed, so it is incumbent upon all organizations to be judicious when establishing which metrics to measure. Organizations need to be clear and open about the limitations of any research, as diversity and inclusion is a multi-faceted, ongoing concern that needs continuous monitoring and interrogation.
Organizations should not use any metric as a static quota, or objective goal which may be subject to manipulation or gaming – diversity and inclusion requires continuous thought.
We call on the industry to commit to the following research principles:
- Transparency – where possible and appropriate, we should seek to share our research, methodology and best practices with other industry partners.
- Investment – devise metrics and research frameworks that will help us better understand the makeup of our workforce.
- Organizations should not wait for legislative measures before examining and improving their diversity and inclusion issues.
- Research and metrics are not to be used as promotional tools.
Addressing diversity in hiring policy and procedure has many benefits. Diverse teams make better decisions, and working with people from different backgrounds will often lead to new perspectives and challenges to the conventional ways of thinking. This is true throughout an organization’s structure.
In order to enable diversity in more senior roles, we must change how we recruit for the entry level positions that bring in the managers of the future.
Opening the hiring process outside of the industry
The publishing industry has a history of hiring people through known networks. We have a tendency to advertise through specific newspapers, trade associations and to graduates of publishing related degrees. In addition, there is a propensity for hiring people known to colleagues. In this landscape, we are actively searching for known entities, and increasing the likelihood of hiring people who reflect our existing colleagues. This reduces the applicant pool to those who are already aware of the industry, and those who access our preferred recruitment sources. Thus, the workforce is quite homogenous.
By broadening the way publishers advertise positions, we instantly increase the diversity of the applicant pool. This can be achieved by using the broad-based online recruitment sites readily used by a variety of employers and applicants, particularly at the entry level. These general recruitment sites will typically have the broadest reach, as not everyone uses social media (e.g. LinkedIn and Facebook).
First of all, remember that potential applicants will look at your website. If you include images, stock photos and icons, think about whether you are representing diversity in your organization, whether it is real or aspirational. The first place candidates look should appeal to everyone – if you have diversity and inclusion policies or groups, make these known.
Job adverts and skill sets
When advertising, publishers often look for knowledge of the industry, even at the entry level. Stating that it is preferred or advantageous in advertising can be off-putting for someone without that background. In addition, adverts often stipulate specific qualifications even when they are not required for the role.
Instead, job adverts should focus on the skills sets required for the role, with particular attention paid to transferable skills. All arbitrary qualifications should be removed. Hiring people with the right skills from a variety of backgrounds will introduce new ways of thinking, new approaches, and will ensure that team members can learn from one another.
Diversity in skills is diversity in people.
When advertising for a role in which interaction with a specific system is key, ask for knowledge of that type of system rather than naming the brand (e.g. CRM, rather than SalesForce). Applicants can readily be trained to use a specific system, particularly if they have experience of using something similar. This training has advantages, as the applicant will start without preconceptions, be more flexible, and can introduce new ideas.
In addition, there are legal requirements under the Equality Act 2010 that prevent job advertisements from discriminating on the basis of protected characteristics such as age, race, gender, disability, pregnancy and maternity, and religion. Language needs to be crafted to avoid implying that of any of those factors is a consideration in recruitment. Within the publishing industry, we need to act further. Think about the phrases you use and how they may appeal to someone – certain words can be gender-coded or may be off-putting to some groups. Avoid using publishing jargon or acronyms, which immediately exclude anyone from outside the industry.
Finally, consider whether someone needs to work in the office every day of the week. Enabling work from home increases feasibility for many applicants – for example, working from home one or two days a week will increase flexibility, thereby supporting parents, carers, and those in other geographic regions for whom relocation is not a viable option.
In the publishing industry, we frequently receive a higher number of CVs than we expect. Sometimes arbitrary or biased decisions can be made in an attempt to save time creating a shortlist. Does the role really require a PhD? If not, don’t use it to cut the candidate pool. Qualifying candidates based on the role requirements and skill sets is much more likely to generate a quality shortlist than hasty decisions.
We can be consciously or unconsciously biased in making determinations about people on paper. Actions that can help overcome this are:
- Ensure adequate time is taken to review CVs, and be realistic about the speed at which hiring can occur.
- Remove gender, age and any other factors which may indicate nationality or ethnicity from the CV (e.g. photos or names).
- Discuss the bias, and the benefits of diverse teams with hiring managers, prior to the hiring process.
- Have two people evaluate CVs independently and then come back together to review.
Please note that there is some evidence that unconscious bias training may not work. However, making sure that hiring managers are mindful of bias cannot hurt.
There are many options with regard to interviews. These can be in person or virtual, and there are lots of formats available.
Telephone interviews avoid bias based on how someone looks, but may miss potential nuances which come out in face-to-face communication. In general, telephone interviews are most suited to the first round of interviews.
Virtual interviews are appropriate for people who will be working from home. Although they may miss getting a sense of the company atmosphere in the office, a virtual interview is a better reflection of their role.
Panel interviews can be extremely daunting and stressful for some applicants. Ahead of the interview, determine whether the role demands the candidate can handle this type of pressure. If not, a more relaxed interview process may bring out the best in applicants.
When using pre-interview tests, hiring managers should ensure that the questions and tasks are appropriate to the position, written without bias, and that instructions are jargon free and provided in plenty of time. It is worth noting that candidates who may need more time due to dyslexia or other disabilities may not reveal this in advance, in fear of being written off.
In interview, think about the questions you ask, and why you are asking them. There is legislation surrounding interview questions, but we need to go beyond that. Aside from specific questions about a candidates CV, ask everyone the same questions. Consider whether questions are hiding a bias – for example, “can you travel frequently on business” should only be asked if this is a core component of the role, and not to uncover details about a candidate’s personal life.
Once the process of finding, interviewing and offering a new role is complete, the next step is to onboard that individual in a safe and inclusive manner. This will set the tone for the individual’s working relationship with your company, and can be very challenging to get right. Successfully preparing the way for a new starter can help with the processes on their first day, and provides a solid foundation for their career in your company.
Make inclusivity important
Making inclusivity an important part of life at your company means that your onboarding and HR team will be fully trained as diversity leaders before your new staff member starts. Ensure that all your diversity resources are shared and easily accessible, with any specific programs or initiatives clearly explained.
Enable the new staff members to become a member of the team from day one. Share the team’s roadmap and strategy plan. Ensure that communications are defined so that the new starter is able to immediately join in with conversations. Find out how their new team communicates and share these findings along with the local language (e.g. acronyms and specific terms), so that team communication is immediately available.
Put out the welcome mat
Onboarding a new staff member at the right time can make a big different to their whole experience. Try to time it right – don’t try to onboard just before the team exits on holiday, or when they are working to a major deadline. Ensure that new team members have time to settle in before expecting them to be at full throttle in their new role, as it takes time to find your feet and become comfortable in a new job.
In addition, you could consider using a buddy system to help the new starter through their first days. Their buddy should work to help them with those aspects of day-to-day life that don’t necessarily find their way into the company handbook. Where’s the best coffee shop? What cafe does the team meet at for lunch on Fridays? Their buddy should also consider who outside the immediate team the new starter will be working with, and set up some meetings or perhaps a lunch to introduce them. A ‘pot luck’ lunch where everyone brings something to share is a great way to ensure that everyone can join in, even if they aren’t directly involved in the team.
Finally, make sure that the onboarding process is open to feedback and change. Feedback could be gathered in person, anonymously, and through more formal avenues (e.g. survey at 30, 60, 90 days). Ensure that all feedback is welcomed and fed back through the appropriate channels to the HR inclusivity team so that they can amend processes to make the next onboarding experience even more successful.
Safety in the workplace
Engagement with a positive and safe culture starts at the top. The cascade effect means that if heads and senior leaders are committed to building a diverse and safe culture, then so will the rest of the company. A key element of this is open communication with clear feedback channels. These channels should be available to all, in a variety of ways. In addition, feedback must be responded to in an open and engaging fashion.
Leaders should set standards for appropriate behavior and use mistakes for learning – never for shaming. Encourage an educational approach to negate fears about how to address diversity, and empower others to talk and learn about the diverse qualities and cultures in the workplace
Creating an LGBT+ inclusive culture
During the onboarding period, it is important that the new member of staff feels welcomed. There are several ways for companies to ensure that members of the LGBT+ community feel safe and included. Firstly, don’t assume that everyone is heterosexual and ensure that an LGBT+ person’s sexual orientation or gender identity is never revealed without permission. Secondly, use the gender and legal neutral term ‘partner’ when referring to all spouses. This is more inclusive, as it includes same sex couples as well as those who have chosen not to formalize their relationship.
If specific significant days or events are highlighted for other employees, annual Gay Pride celebrations (usually held during the month of June) should be similarly marked. It is also pertinent to acknowledge the relationships of staff equally by ensuring that anniversaries, births and marriages/union ceremonies are celebrated in the same way.
Finally, in training or information sessions for employees or managers, use concrete examples of situations that pertain to LGBT+ persons (e.g. when addressing legal issues related to financial matters of opposite-sex couples in a pre-retirement course, discuss those that apply to same-sex couples as well).
6. Creating an environment of active inclusion
Defining active inclusion
Diversity is being invited to the party, inclusion is being asked to dance
In 1953, Harvard Law School admitted its first female students. When they began attending college, however, those students quickly found out that there had not been any women’s bathrooms provided. Eventually, Harvard did install one, just one, in the basement in a janitor’s closet, that all women students had to share. While Harvard Law could defensibly say that they were diverse and point to their admissions policy, they clearly had put no thought into making women feel welcome.
Bathroom issues aside, it really isn’t enough for an organization to not discriminate against demographic groups. People who are members of under-represented or traditionally oppressed groups often approach new situations with a sense of concern about whether they’ll be made to feel welcome, and they often find themselves making a judgement about whether it is safe to be themselves. Somebody from an underrepresented group might look around an organization and see few people, or even nobody similar to themselves and come to the conclusion that ‘people like me’ aren’t welcome because if we were, there would be more of us.
To be actively inclusive, an organization must go beyond having policies against discrimination, and communicate clearly that it embraces all people irrespective of identity or status. It must also put in place mechanisms that enable people to participate in the organization (like women’s bathrooms) without facing onerous challenges or barriers to participation.
Leading by example
An important component of active inclusion is setting a positive example throughout an organization. Efforts around diversity and inclusion can sometimes be viewed as secondary to the core business of an organization. This is particularly true when leaders act dismissively or participate in ways that imply that it’s a box to be ticket, rather than a business critical component of strategy.
When leaders act in a way that is sincerely inclusive, and when it is expressed as a core value of the organization, people throughout the organization will feel more able to contribute to the goal and will think more creatively about ways to achieve it. Leaders should participate in programmes that promote social justice and inclusion, actively support flexible working, and clearly articulate values of inclusion, acceptance and individuality.
In addition, it is important that leaders actively acknowledge and promote special days and events such as the International Day of Persons with Disabilities (Dec 3), International Day to End Racism, and local or international Gay Pride celebrations.
Building and supporting communities
One of the most important ways that people find a sense of safety and welcome, is when they find that they are not alone. The fostering and support of communities is a valuable way to help people feel more connected to organizations.
Among any group of people, there are potentially many communities that may form. From groups based on ethnicity, gender, age, and religion, to interests in popular culture or sport. Instant messaging and intranet platforms can be a fertile breeding ground for these groups, and their use should be actively encouraged.
As well as encouraging communities to grow within an organization, leaders should actively develop cross-demographic groups directed at fostering inclusion. The development of an allies network to support the LGBT+ community is an excellent example of the power of this approach, which can be extended to support networks of all types.
Social work events, parent-friendly hours, alcohol and food
Many organizations to build a sense of community through social activities. Off-site days, meals out with colleagues and time spent socializing outside of work hours are all excellent examples of this.
Care must be taken to ensure that social opportunities around the organization are available to all, and that everybody feels comfortable. Socialising opportunities outside of work hours can be difficult for some people to attend, particularly those with family commitments. Trips to bars or pubs after work are an enjoyable way to build empathy and understanding among organizational members, but if all or most work events involve the consumption of alcohol, people who do not drink can sometimes feel isolated.
Similarly, care should be taken when choosing venues for shared meals to ensure that there will be food available for everybody. Dietary requirements can be varied, including allergies, religious observance, personal ethics or preference. It’s important to check with organizational members ahead of time and consult with restaurants and caterers to avoid embarrassment.
Holidays and religious observance
Understanding the community make-up of an organization and its surroundings is an important strategy for leaders to create an inclusive environment. Cultures, ethnicities, and religions have various observances, feasts and holidays, and a truly inclusive organization both enables and celebrates those differences.
The provision of prayer rooms and meditation spaces is a good way to show people that they are welcome to practice their religion, as does the recognition of holidays like Eid, Diwali and Easter. Intranet-based multicultural calendars can be used to avoid scheduling important meetings on these major cultural holidays.
Flexibility, career gaps and remote working
As previously outlined, many people face challenges in physically attending work. In some cases, that may be due to disability, family commitments, or economic challenges.
The nature of barriers to work are important, but from a policy perspective, the key thing to consider is that there are many talented and hardworking people who cannot come into work everyday for one reason or another. Allowing flexible working practices enables more people to contribute fully to an organization.
Individuals often take breaks from their career, either for family commitments, illness or choice. Re-entry to the workforce is a challenge after a career break. Beyond hiring people who have taken a break, leaders should actively support re-entry with training programmes and practical assistance with services like child or elder care.
Facilitating remote working and flexibly is about more than giving permission. Organizations must invest in and support technology like video conferencing, instant messaging and collaborative working environments.
Supporting those with disabilities
Enabling physical access to buildings by providing ramps, elevators and accessible working areas are well established means to enable participation of disabled members of an organization. Laws and best practices exist in many jurisdictions that create minimum standards for access. Organizations should go beyond best practice when necessary, and respond to individual needs of members when they arise.
Not all disabilities are visible. Organizations should work to create environments that are accepting and understanding of the challenges that individuals may face.
There remains a stigma associated with mental health issues in many societies and organizations. As a culture, we don’t shame people for developing illnesses, or needing to take a few days off due to having a cold, and yet there persists a sense of judgement or impatience towards those who need emotional or psychological support.
It is important to encourage an open and accepting culture around the need for mental health services. Flexible working, allowing members to take mental health or wellbeing breaks, and the recommendation or provision of services can be highly beneficial to members of an organization.
Assessment of performance
It is imperative that our industry works to remove bias in assessment and advancement practice. Studies show, for example, that women can be disproportionately criticized in comparison to men during performance reviews.
It is vital that these biases are noted and addressed. For this, we advocate that line managers are proactive in putting in checks and balances during the performance review process; for example:
- Challenging reviewing managers on whether they are aware of their biases.
- Seeking a range of views on an employee rather than giving one line manager the whole duty to assess.
- Ensuring that a culture of engagement and empathy is fostered.
Biases can also play out in the process of developing and advancing staff. We believe this can be tackled through the following means.
First, the provisioning of mentoring, and championing opportunities in a fair and equal way. Research demonstrates that men are more likely to be championed, women are more likely to be mentored. This disadvantages women in gaining access to promotions and projects. Employers should ensure that they are actively seeking out candidates from a range of backgrounds and encouraging them to take advantage of advancement opportunities.
Secondly, giving employees the opportunity to job shadow, particularly across job functions, will allow them to build their business knowledge and seek out other areas in which to work.
In addition, the inclusive culture must be sustained throughout the advancement and progression process. A culture must be established in which employees feel free to call out negative behaviours and microaggressions. A blame culture must not be tolerated.
Unconscious bias training can provide a useful baseline in helping managers to better understand their own affinities, however this alone will not solve the problem as it can be difficult to challenge personal biases. Therefore, creating an active culture of questioning decisions, seeking opportunities to develop all staff, and ensuring that a range of views are sought on advancement decisions will all support in the mitigation of bias.
8. Working with others
As an industry that comprises a number of stakeholders including publishers, societies, institutions, editors, authors, readers, librarians, suppliers and many more; it is very important that we consider matters of diversity and inclusion when working with partners outside of our organizations. Although it can be difficult to influence the behaviour of others, it is important to clearly display how important diversity and inclusion is to our own organizations, and encourage those that we work with to adopt a similar philosophy. Interactions between staff and third parties can make up a significant portion of someone’s role, so we must be mindful that matters of diversity and inclusion are just as important to these relationships.
One hard line approach is to include a clause into agreements between scholarly publishing partners that explicitly captures that any behaviour of either partner that can be considered to be discriminatory could be considered grounds for termination of an agreement. As standard, this should include behaviour that is intended to exclude others based on things such as age, race, gender, disability, pregnancy and maternity, and religion. Although this may be difficult to enforce in reality, it would give all parties (and employees) some protection from these types of behaviours.
A softer approach is to ensure partners are aware of your expected behaviour without having to make matters contractual. Many publishers, for example, will require suppliers or society partners to be aware of a ‘code of conduct’, that often to refer to compliance of policies surrounding financial conduct (e.g. anti-bribery compliance) or other publication ethics policy compliance. These codes could be expanded to include a policy around how we can expect partners to behave.
Another area to highlight is our procurement processes; are we partnering with suppliers that share our values? We often assess potential suppliers on the basis of cost and capabilities but as previously mentioned there are other benefits to partnering with companies that value diversity and inclusion.
Technology business partners
When partnering in the digital and technology space, ensure all associates, products and services adhere to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). Ideally, digital products and services should be certified to AA or AAA standard.
Where applicable, all digital resources (e.g. online training) should have multi-language subtitles and transcripts. Transcripts should be easily accessible to those who use a screen reader, and subtitles should be turned on by default. Where possible, the ability to select custom visual preferences (e.g. font-size, background colour) should be considered.
If in doubt, business leaders should source views from recognised communities such as the American Foundation for the Blind.
Authors (in alphabetical order):
- Laura Cox
- Alice Ellingham
- Phill Jones
- Danielle Ormshaw
- Nikul Patel
- Nancy Roberts