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Associates of Colour - Impromptu’s Commitments

Impromptu is a values-led organisation where inclusion and fairness are fundamental to the ethos of the company and our operation.

That said, we recognise that fine words and good intentions in themselves do not create a more inclusive and fair environment for our employees and associates.  We recognise the need to make specific commitments and take action wherever we can to remove the barriers to opportunities for this work that exist for individuals on the basis of their gender, class, heritage, skin colour, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, disability, or religious beliefs. Through our commitments and actions, we will actively challenge mechanisms that sustain disadvantage.

Our over-arching commitment is that Impromptu’s associate team should at minimum reflect the diversity of the communities in which we work, and that we as a service provider, should offer that - always.

We believe it is important to commit to specific actions in relation to associates of colour.  There exists a long-standing and deep rooted structural, economic, and cultural environment in our society that denies people of colour access and opportunities. Whilst we have taken action to increase the numbers of associates of colour who work for us, we need to do more.  We need to do more because it is the right and fair thing to do and because we and our clients are missing opportunities to benefit from the insights, skills and talents a more diverse team can bring.

Our Commitments

Recruitment

  • We will recruit more associates of colour.  We have a particular gap in associates of African or Caribbean heritage.  One of our long standing commitments is to balance recruitment with work opportunities so that we do not recruit new members and have no realistic work opportunities for them.  Covid 19 has had a severe impact on our volume of work this year.  In the next 3 months we will recruit 2 males and 1 female of African or Caribbean heritage.
  • We are mindful that due to historical barriers to entry, potential candidates may not have the experience or training we generally look for in new recruits.  We will challenge our assumptions in relation to this and ensure this factor in itself is not a barrier to entry.  In addition, we have a gap in our associate team amongst the 20-30 demographic.  We will ensure that at least one of the new recruits is from that demographic.
  • When recruiting we will challenge our own assumptions about what constitutes ‘client’ or ‘programme’ ready.  We are conscious of the halo effect and its impact on reducing opportunity.  We will actively seek diverse experiences (different from our existing team) amongst our new recruits that will add value to our work and client experience.
  • We will seek advice on the most appropriate ways of accessing potential candidates for recruitment.

Development

  • We already offer coaching and mentoring to any of our associates who request it.  We will go further and create a mentoring programme for new recruits that will be in place in before the first new recruit joins us.  The programme will be designed in collaboration with each recruit so that it meets their needs. In relation to new associates of colour, we will offer them a mentor from our existing, experienced associates of colour if they feel they would benefit from this.
  • That mentoring programme will ensure that we do not expose newer members to skill or knowledge gaps when delivering work for Impromptu, or put them into a client situation where their approach may not be what is expected.

Casting

  • We do not currently cast associates of colour only in programmes related to diversity and inclusion.  We will continue to consider associates of colour for all work opportunities.
  • We will ensure that more associates of colour are engaged by Impromptu as project managers, facilitators and writers/designers.  In 12 months from now our aim is to have engaged at least 3 associates of colour in one or more of these roles.
  • Impromptu Project Managers and Designers will challenge their own assumptions when writing scripts, scenarios and casting to ensure that associates of colour are not excluded through unconscious or conscious bias.
  • We will create more opportunities for associates of colour through open dialogue with our clients about the benefits of diverse teams.  Where appropriate we will influence clients to move away from a current culture of “people we know” or “people who fit” (of any background) to embrace new members.

Communication and education

  • We do not use the term BAME.  We will use the term associates of colour and more specific terminology relating to heritage when requested or advised to do so.
  • We will communicate these commitments to our associate team and the rationale behind them in the next 7 days.
  • In our next edition of Insight (our quarterly newsletter) we will re-iterate these commitments, their rationale and share resources with our team to help them inform themselves more widely.
  • Impromptu Directors will educate themselves about the impact of our own conscious and unconscious bias on our recruitment, development and casting decisions and our ability to create a diverse talent pool for our clients.
  • One of our Directors has joined a workplace equality working group
  • Within the next 3 months, one of our associates will run a team workshop on the topic of associates of colour in our industry.
  • We will invest in an associate of colour to advise us and hold us to account for our commitments (see below)

Impromptu’s Board

  • Impromptu has 3 Directors.  That is not going to increase for the foreseeable future.  We now have an associate of colour who is working with us to develop these commitments and attend Board meetings to advise us and hold us to account.  Our commitment to this individual is that their advice and challenge to us will heard with openness, curiosity and determination to deliver on our commitments.

Nigel Gilkes, Steve Harvey, Connie Wiskin.

September 15th 2020