Cross-industry toolkit

For employers


Culture and leadership

Ensure a compelling, shared vision across your organisation.

A diverse workforce is a more productive workforce, so embed this ambition into your culture – and ensure your employees’ voices are heard, by encouraging people to share their ideas and experiences. You can watch the video for more top tips or read our guidance below.


Activities at each level are related, but distinguished by scale, detail or commitment.

Appoint a senior individual with an informed and respected voice to advocate socio-economic diversity and inclusion internally.

Include discussion of socio-economic diversity on board-level agendas alongside more established issues such as gender and ethnicity.

Appoint an individual with internal management and operational responsibility for socio-economic diversity and inclusion.

Ensure your anti-discrimination policies clearly incorporate and relate to socio-economic background, and that managers understand this.


Activities at each level are related, but distinguished by scale, detail or commitment.

Appoint a senior leader with external profile as a leading advocate for socioeconomic diversity and inclusion.

Appoint specific individuals to be accountable to the board for this agenda; communicate this internally.

Convene a community of managers with individual accountability to advocate socio-economic diversity internally.

Ensure there is:

  • routine collaboration between HR, division heads and CSR teams in delivering the strategy
  • significant cross-working with other diversity focus areas – e.g. gender and ethnicity
  • strong support for and ownership of the strategy throughout the organisation so that each team understands their role


Engage senior colleagues in crafting a narrative about socio-economic diversity that highlights:

  • its importance and the rationale for focusing on it
  • how it relates to other forms of diversity
  • the current situation in your organisation, citing internal evidence
  • where you wish to get to, and how you will achieve it

Include elements of this narrative in regular internal communications alongside other diversity areas to emphasise intersectionality and equal importance.


Ensure the chair and CEO are public in their support for this narrative.

Ensure the narrative always features prominently in key communications, including your website, recruitment
communications, annual reports and procurement materials.

Communicate evidence of positive organisational change in this area.


Communicate internally that data is being collected and analysed to understand socio-economic diversity.

Set targets using internal and external data benchmarks and analysis.


Ensure there is board accountability for targets, and make progress a standing item on the board agenda.

Share performance against targets publicly.

Link managers’ accountability for diversity and inclusion targets to their performance review and promotion.


Create opportunities for employees to engage with the narrative on socio-economic diversity, for example:

  • internal events, webinars and podcasts
  • physical and online fora for employees to share views and experiences where appropriate
  • share evidence and practice from across the sector


Engage with your supply chain in advancing socio-economic diversity, with contractual obligations where appropriate (e.g. about unpaid internships, becoming an accredited voluntary Living Wage employer and data collection).

Explore how and in what ways client perceptions and expectations affect who gets ahead.