When it comes to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), transformative action is needed urgently – and the reality is that most efforts to create an inclusive culture fail. Many finance organisations start out by setting strategy from the top down but fail to wake up and tap the resources they may not realise they already have. If you want to create an inclusive culture and the kind of conditions businesses for a diverse workforce to thrive today, you have to focus on creating sustainable, long-lasting behaviour change.
Hive Learning delivers innovative large-scale behavioural change programmes through the revolutionary peer learning platform it started to develop back in 2013. Among the founding team was its now CEO Julia Tierney: “We specialise in driving culture change at scale, working with large organisations typically employing anywhere from a 1,000 people to 100s of 1000s of people. We help them confront the gritty and challenging topics like inclusion, wellbeing, mental health and sustainability –– all subjects that are typically difficult to talk about, can come with a lot of preconceptions, and be tough to engage the entire employee population with.”
These are not secondary issues: she points to research showing that 80% of Gen Z employees would actually consider leaving an employer that is not addressing them – it’s they who are calling the shots. “We’ve studied 1000s of change movements and prescribe to historian Niall Ferguson’s theory that while the people in the ‘high towers’ may claim to rule, the real power has always resided in the ‘town square’ below. It’s through those networks that revolutionary change happens, and that’s the philosophy behind everything we do at Hive Learning. To create wholesale change, you have to get every person in the organisation behind the change and to understand the role they play. We use a combination of nudge science and network theory to activate every employee.”
Hive Learning’s approach to sustainable improvement works: 88% of learners take action on what they’ve learned in Hive Learning’s Inclusion Works program and the fact that the company’s size has doubled in the two years since Tierney was appointed CEO testifies to that. Among its clients is the financial services giant Moody’s. “We love all our customers but Moody’s is an especially good fit for two reasons. Firstly it is such a data-led organisation and we are passionate about the potential of data because it teaches us so much about what works: Moody’s is awesome in that respect. Secondly Moody’s is passionate about DEI, which is one of the main areas in which we are working with them. This is no tick-box exercise for Moody’s either, they have a real belief in it from the CEO down.”
Moody's CXO DK Bartley observed that the George Floyd scandal that rocked not only the USA but the whole world, very much including the global corporate community, and has provoked 'courageous conversations' around diversity. “They involve asking the questions that may be taboo, and help us to be comfortable about being uncomfortable!” Currently Hive Learning is working with some 500 top leaders, managers and DEI ambassadors at Moody's. “We've been working with this group for around a year and taking them through our diversity change programme, getting a consensus on what 'good' looks like,” says Julia Tierney. “We hope the next stage will be rolling this out to the broader organisation, and then to follow that working in other areas like leadership and sustainability.”
Peer learning is a powerful tool. It takes behaviour change away from the domain of HR and puts programmes and networks in the hands of the people – that is when change can happen as quickly as forward-looking businesses like Moody's require it to.
Read the full Moody’s report HERE