5.1 Equality & Diversity and Athena SWAN
The School has adopted the strapline “Doing great work in a great place to work” to encapsulate the rationale for our wide programme of activities designed to make the School a welcoming and inclusive place whoever you are. The School has a very detailed and ambitious action plan that needs to be delivered to ensure renewal (November 2016) of our Athena SWAN Silver status and maximize the chances of a future Gold award. We have remained on course with the overwhelming majority of tasks in the Action Plan, successfully delivered a number of courses on Campus and have lifted our Equality and Diversity training compliance up to 85% of academic staff and 80% of staff overall. To recognize the importance of these matters to the School and to provide academic leadership for initiatives in this area, Professor Fiona Karet has been appointed Director of Organizational Affairs for the School.
A key focus over the last year which we consider it important to continue and expand is a programme of talks and activities to promote mental health wellbeing – the response from staff has been very positive. As of November 2015, 697 employees have attended the briefings and we have trained 62 Managers in Mental Health Lite Training. In October 2015 we repeated the Staff Survey first conducted three years ago, achieving an overall response rate of 78% – this will allow us to gauge objectively if we are making progress on the key action points arising from our 2012 survey. Of particular importance, we will focus on:
- Analysing the Staff Survey 2015 results and taking action where needed;
- Continuing to raise the level of awareness of Equality and Diversity issues and activities and optimizing School- and Department-wide communications – Heads of Department meetings have a specific agenda item for Heads to report recent progress within their Department and are asked to highlight this to all staff at departmental retreats;
- Continuing to improve the percentage level of Equality & Diversity training completion across all Departments;
- Improving appraisal completion rates through implementation of our new School Scheme – now at 68% for individuals having had an appraisal in the last year;
- Continuing our programme of onsite career development and support activities including piloting a formal mentoring programme for our mid-career researcher cohort (where attrition of women is at its maximum);
- Expanding the Mental Health Wellbeing talks programme to include all aspects of wellbeing, especially in 2016 with invited speakers on topics suggested by staff and developing a network of trained “Mental Health First Aiders”. We will then evaluate the programme to date and plan for the future accordingly;
- Analysis of the employee relations case load which is beginning to show that certain grades and areas of the School have markedly higher than average case rates – we need to understand the drivers for this;
- Offering Unconscious Bias training for all staff;
- Exploring ethnicity, race and nationality diversity issues within the School and thinking about strategies to ensure that talent in minority groups is not overlooked;
- Supporting activities targeted for postdocs, helping to build a sense of identity for this group of staff within the Cambridge system;
- Taking opportunities to share our practice with other Schools, Departments and Universities;
- Developing an HR strategy for the School to enhance recruitment and retention through competitive pay and other elements of the reward package (being the “employer of choice”), for example planned career development, in the light of external pressures, including the imminent arrival of AZ recruitment campaigns, particularly for animal husbandry, IT and other support staff (Risk 10).