How Clarasys became a leader in DE&I

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Nicole Griffith-Brown and the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DE&I) team at Clarasys, the leading management consultancy, have implemented a series of smart initiatives that have seen them recognised at this year’s European Diversity Awards.

We spoke to Nicole to find out more about the hard work, the creativity, and the data behind Clarasys’ DE&I journey: Introducing and embedding a universally understood meaning of DE&I; creating and delivering a bespoke training programme; changing hearts and minds; and harnessing technology to capture key diversity data.

Embedding D&I concepts

The first job, says Nicole, was to get everybody on the same page about the meaning of diversity, equity and inclusion.

“We wanted to make those words feel real,” she says. “We spent a lot of time embedding and explaining what diversity, equity and inclusion meant in the workplace.”

With sessions like ‘what is intersectionality?’, Clarasys opened honest internal conversations on issues like racism, ageism and invisible disabilities. They introduced real life stories and experiences to make the ideas land in a way that resonated with people, fueling workplace conversations, and building a ‘foundational understanding’ of key issues.

Next came a content revamp to ensure the external brand reflected the organisation’s commitment to DE&I. The team regularly share thought leadership, individual experiences within the DE&I space, and the commitment to this topic could not be clearer to anyone browsing their website.

“If diversity, equity and inclusion is important for someone, they’re going to look for it on the company’s website and/or their social media platforms, so we have to make sure we have an external DE&I presence for those individuals and in general to show that this is something we care about and are actively working on,” says Nicole.

Bespoke training

Nicole found that the various types of DE&I training on offer didn’t incorporate the focus on discussion that she was looking for. “We want people to feel like they can talk about these topics,” she says. “Especially if they’ve never spoken about them before. So we thought, ‘ok, cool, let’s create our own training’. And that’s what we did.”

An internal communications campaign was created to explain the purpose of the training, which aimed to improve the understanding of DE&I. They ensured internal support processes were understood, as well as covering issues like microaggressions, intersectionality and unconscious bias, creating a safe space for employees to ask questions.

Feedback has been 100% positive, and employees reported that the discussion elements were the most enlightening. “They walked away with something more meaningful than a tick in a box,” says Nicole. “Everyone was able to participate in the discussion and hear other people’s viewpoints. Creating a safe and inclusive environment in the training sessions and having those meaningful conversations is probably the thing I’m proudest of.”

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Diversity in data

The Clarasys DE&I team also executed an ambitious project to retroactively collect anonymised diversity data from existing employees. Internal comms clearly articulated why this was necessary – and caveated there was a ‘prefer not to say’ option. This process was managed using XCD HR & Payroll, and Nicole says the result has been an impressive completion rate of 94%, giving Clarasys a solid basis for DE&I benchmarking and measurement. Analysis of this data is now under way.

“It’s taken a lot of work to get here, but now we’ll be able to report on things like anomalies in pay or promotion,” says Nicole. “Regardless of the findings from the data, we will be transparent with our findings.”

What next?

“We’re going to do more work on understanding the minority employee experience,” says Nicole. “So we’re holding interviews and focus groups with minority employees to understand their experiences within Clarasys. What’s the employee experience like for someone from a lower socioeconomic background or from the LGBTQ+ community?

We can then gain insights and do an analysis against the majority experience and get some really useful practical insight that we can then feed into our wider DE&I strategy.”

Nicole became DE&I lead in 2019, and the progress made in that short time suggests there’s more to come from the team, which is now recognised as one of the best – following their nomination for ‘Diversity Team of the Year’ at this year’s European Diversity Awards.

Upcoming initiatives include more targeted, bespoke training; an allyship programme; and further analysis of the diversity data to inform the strategy. “We want to make sure that our people feel included and are being supported in a way appropriate for them,” says Nicole. “And that our people understand and know how to support their peers.”


We’re proud of the small but important part the XCD HR & Payroll solution is playing in Clarasys DE&I journey. 

If you’d like to see it in action, you can book a demo right now. Alternatively, give us a call on +44 (0) 800 0432923, or send us an email at We look forward to hearing from you.