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Diversity and inclusion: Are company policies working?

‘We have built a global solution to a global problem,’ says Inclusio founder Sandra Healy

Information from individual employees goes direct to Inclusio and is never seen by the employers. Photograph: iStock

Information from individual employees goes direct to Inclusio and is never seen by the employers. Photograph: iStock

 

It is often the case that organisations have state of the art diversity and inclusion (D&I) policies in place but have no idea if they are working or not. All the boxes are ticked, and the internal surveys seem to produce good results, but something is still not quite right.

That was the problem Sandra Healy set out to solve when she founded Inclusio, a science-based software platform which uses AI and other technologies to give organisations the evidence they need to figure out if their D&I policies are working.

“I had spent 20 years in telecoms in the UK and Ireland followed by five years in higher education with DCU,” she explains. “And I had been working in D&I for 15 years. I realised that in customer delivery, customer experience and sales, there was clear evidence and KPIs to measure the impact my work was having. But there was no such evidence or KPIs for the very important work I was doing in D&I.”

Founder of Inclusio Sandra Healy
Founder of Inclusio Sandra Healy

She began working on the Inclusio concept soon after becoming head of D&I at DCU five years ago. “I got Enterprise Ireland commercialisation funding and built the team at DCU. I spent four years developing the concept which is a first-of-its-kind platform that gives organisations a barometer of how they are doing on D&I.”

The solution is informed by real-world experience. “Before we wrote a line of code, [we] did deep-dive research with 35 different organisations to find out more about the problem we wanted to solve. We found that organisations struggle to collect diversity data due to GDPR and other similar rules. We spoke to employees, and they do not like disclosing personal information which gets attached to their HR file. They don’t trust the confidentiality of these things and the old approach of the annual engagement survey simply doesn’t work.”

That resulted in the development of the Inclusio platform which employees use to self-report their D&I experience in the workplace. “Employees build up their own diversity profile on the platform and then get nudged to use it for a few minutes each day. They can access it on any device, but we find that most users access it on their smartphones.”

Very importantly, the employee inputs are aggregated so that no one is identifiable. Information from individual employees goes direct to Inclusio and is never seen by the employers.

“We then provide insight reports to organisations. We show them where they are doing well and where they are not doing so well. Our team of practitioners and organisational psychologists can give guidance on the actions to take to fix the issues which have been identified.”

And business, she says, “is flying”. “We spun out from DCU in December 2020, and we are delighted with how things are going. We have built a global solution to a global problem.”