Rob Barnsley joined Arden University as an EDI & Talent Partner earlier this year having previously worked as an EDI Manager and also Talent and Leadership Development at Wesleyan financial services as well as Head of Emerging Talent and Diversity and Inclusion at Compass Group.
Since arriving at Arden he has focussed on some key deliverables, all of which have been designed to strengthen Arden’s commitments to Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion, not only for its students, but also for its staff.
We asked him to list five of the biggest things he’s helped implement since he joined, showing the journey we’re on to help all of our staff feel as represented as possible.
- Firstly, we made a conscious effort to begin a process, centred around engagement with Colleagues around EDI issues, to start to get a feel for the organisation. This meant that we could hear directly from our employees to best understand where we need to improve across our future commitments to EDI
- Initiating a Colleague-focussed EDI Census was also an important early step. This meant we could get a data-driven picture to get a deeper understanding of Arden’s culture and make up
- Initiating the launch of the Arden Colleague EDI Network Groups was the next step. These network groups were centred around the following characteristics:
- Gender Network
- Race & Ethnicity Network
- Disability Health and Wellbeing Network
- LGBTQI+ Network
- We also began to sign up Arden to external organisations, ensuring we are able to benchmark our EDI work beyond our own standards, and also utilise their expert knowledge. E.g. Stonewall Diversity Champions and Employers Network for Equality and Inclusion
- We are also in the process of working on a clear EDI Strategy to move Arden’s culture forward. We have a committed aim to ensure Arden becomes the most diverse and inclusive organisation it can be in the future, and an organisation where everyone can be their true self and wholeheartedly feel that they belong as an Arden Colleague.
Looking ahead, we need to set up the EDI Council to help drive EDI through the business, nurture the Colleague Networks so that they grow enabling them to feed into the Council the voices and challenges our employees face.
We will launch the EDI Employee Policy and focus on making sure our policies are fit for purpose with an EDI Lens, work with Talent Acquisition to attract the most diverse pool of talent to reduce any gap in underrepresented groups. As well as this, we will also help define a Talent Development strategy that grows the diverse talent at Arden to ensure diversity is represented at all levels.
The goal is to ensure that Arden breathes Equality, Diversity, inclusion and Belonging in everything that we do.