I’ve lost count of the number of conversations where I was left feeling that there is a real sense of momentum around social mobility. Organisations from across the country, in both the private and public sectors, are doing something or thinking about doing something. We are definitely moving to a time where social mobility is something that leading organisations ‘must do’, as opposed to being ‘nice to do’. We are still a long way from where we need to be, with social mobility in the UK among the lowest in the Western world, but our organisations have a big role to play in changing that. The higher it is on the agenda, the better.
1. Have a look at what you are currently doing. It’s not beyond the realms of possibility that you are doing something already. Are you engaged with your local community? Are you bringing social disadvantaged groups into your workplace? Are you part of any groups or campaigns? There may well be things happening already that may not be viewed through the lens of social mobility advancement. The best place to start is at the beginning and then go from there.
2. Be aware of others. So what are your competitors doing to advance social mobility? What about your suppliers? If others in your space are active, they may be doing something you can learn from. Or you might find that you are ahead of the game or you may be able to collaborate.
3. Shout about it. Nothing will commit you to following through on your good social mobility intentions than going public. Whether it is in your internal communications, on your website or something that is said by one of your senior leaders, once you’ve announced it, you will have to do something and that’s a good thing.
4. Be realistic. There’s no point in setting yourself goals or targets that you cannot achieve and then deciding not to do anything because the challenge is too great or giving up because the ambition is too lofty. No-one is going to go from zero to being perfect on social mobility and even those organisations that are considered the gold standard will tell you that they still have so much more to do. Social mobility is a journey, there are things that every single medium-sized or large business or organisation can do to advance it, so there’s no excuse for not doing anything.
5. Enter the UK Social Mobility Awards. This UK-wide initiative is now in its second year and it is free and straightforward to enter. The closing date is June 29th and wherever you are with social mobility in your organisation, entering these awards allows you to join a network of organisations who are committed to upping the ante. There’s a respected panel of judges, chaired by Sir Kenneth Olisa, and all entries that achieve a certain standard will be recognised on the Roll of Honour for the 2018 awards. You will get the chance to highlight and showcase your team’s achievements on how they have improved social mobility. This boosts their morale as they know that they are working for an organisation that cares about this important issue. Please take the time to enter today.