Four Steps to a Successful Awareness Raising Campaign

by Inge Woudstra

This year we will be sharing more on our inclusive behaviours in our blogs and events for you. We start with Empathy – the true foundation of being inclusive.

In the workplace, Empathy allows us to understand that what we experience isn’t the same for everyone.  Yet many of us still think that our workplace provides similar opportunities to everyone, and that everyone else feels as included as we do.

That’s why many clients start their D&I work with an awareness raising campaign, helping people see what it’s like for those who are not like them.

Raising awareness is an important first step that builds consensus and support for a successful D&I strategy.  Today, we share with you an example of a corporate communications campaign that successfully raised awareness in an international law firm about its LGBTQ+ community.

Four steps to a successful corporate awareness raising campaign

  1. Set clear aims

The first step is to understand what you want to achieve with the campaign.  In this case, the firm set four clear aims for their campaign:

  • Reinvigorate our ‘sleeping allies’​
  • Demonstrate what good allyship looks like​
  • Increase Pride+ ally membership​
  • Promote the importance of LGBTQ+ inclusion to our people and our clients​
  1. Choose an impactful message, channel and medium

To achieve impact, it’s important to unite behind one specific message to which everyone can relate.  In this case, the campaign team designed a logo and a slogan that would resonate with the majority of their people.

They  then invited individuals from each region to share their personal LGBTQ+ experiences and showcased those stories in the weekly internal update message and on the global intranet.

To ensure the message sticks and reaches as many people as possible, the team chose to repeat the message often and via a range of channels, including by leveraging their many internal staff networks and champions. They asked regional networks to host ‘on topic’ local events, posted on LinkedIn and Twitter and created an e-mail signature with the campaign logo and slogan.

Most notably, the team worked with senior managers to help them find their authentic voice in talking about the subject.

  1. Add a call for action

A key to any communication campaign is to know what people should do once they become more aware of the topics and issues. In this case, the campaign team gave staff a number of options:  they could use some of the prepared material to start conversations with clients, they could attend some of the many local events hosted as part of the campaign, they could attend in-house courses on how to become an ally, and they could join the LGBTQ+ network as an ally.

  1. Measure results

The campaign ran for an entire year.  At the end of the year, the campaign team looked at their data to measure its effectiveness.  The campaign was indeed very successful:  LGBTQ+ network membership increased from 20% to 27% in six months (worldwide)​ and opportunities were identified to work with clients on LGBTQ+ initiatives that also strengthened client relationships.


As the example above shows, a successful awareness raising campaign doesn’t need to be complicated.  Yet the results can be powerful and impactful.

Of course, companies don’t have to follow this particular model.  There are as many different ways to raise awareness as there are reasons for doing so.  Identifying what you want to raise awareness about and what you want to achieve with it will help inform the best approach to choose.

If you want help to find the best way to raise awareness about an aspect of Diversity and Inclusion, book a free consultation with us for that initial discussion.

Inclusive Promotion in Practice

Inclusive Promotion in Practice – 3 Case Examples

By Inge Woudstra

What does inclusive promotion in practice look like? I’d like to show you how three organisations are implementing inclusive promotion in practice. With these 3 case examples you will see how male allies made a real difference. You will also see how that doesn’t just benefit women, but other groups too.

 1. Inclusive Promotion in Practice – Clear Career Pathways in an Insurance Company’s Tech Department

The Director of  a tech department was keen to ensure that all talent had equal opportunities and implement inclusive promotion in practice. He learned about research findings showing that women tend to be more risk averse about their career choices than men. So, they are less likely to put themselves forward for a new opportunity or stretch role.

Instead of trying to change women’s attitudes towards risk, the Director decided to do something different.

Here’s what he did:

  • Created opportunities for staff to shadow more senior colleagues.
  • Designed a way in which people could try out new roles for 3-6 months, without losing their old ones.
  • Made a wider range of role models visible to staff
  • Created a framework showing a range of career pathways through his department. That way people could see what specific skills and experience they needed to progress.

As a result of his insight and efforts, his department became the most gender- balanced department in the insurance firm. Staff engagement increased across the department.

2. Inclusive Promotion in Practice – Empathy and Listening at an Insurance Firm

The CEO of a large international insurance firm knew from personal experience that a diverse team leads to greater innovation and better staff engagement. He was keen to add more diversity to his Executive Team, which was mainly male. So, whenever a senior vacancy arose, he called  female colleagues whom he considered to be suitable for the role. In the call he asked them why they had not applied for the position.

The CEO carefully listened to the replies and took the feedback into account. For instance he changed the way that roles were described and changed timings and duration of meetings. He then worked hard to persuade them to apply, on the basis that the team required not just their expertise but also their gender lens.

His leadership team is now balanced between men and women. This balance has also had positive ripple effects on staff, as they have noticed different types of role models and valued hearing from leaders with different styles of leadership.

3. Inclusive Promotion in Practice – Clarifying Competencies in an Engineering Consultancy

A consultancy’s management team was keen to develop a more inclusive culture. In working with them to review their way of working, we looked at the way they promoted people. To their surprise, we found that the defined competencies for leadership roles were all about technical and commercial skills. As a result the people skills necessary for the roles were not rated by the assessor. This underrated those who were excellent at building relationships, even though this was a vital skill for the role. Interestingly, this is often an area where women tend to score higher.

When the consultancy recognised that they were assuming people skills, rather than assessing them, they added the previously-assumed skills as additional criteria.

As a second measure, they appointed one of the directors to take responsibility for career development of staff. Previously, it was each person’s own responsibility to progress their own career.

With the benefit of full oversight of all promotions, this new, collective approach to promotion into leadership roles has proved beneficial to a wider variety of people and made the leadership of the organisation more diverse.


I hope these examples of inclusive promotion in practice will inspire more ideas to improve the promotion process.  I would also love to hear your experiences with inclusive promotion – any initiatives that worked or didn’t work, and why you think that was the case.  Do email me.