The Brief

Our client is a leading charity whose vision is to regenerate a world with good health, in balance with nature and a safe climate restored for all. Its mission is to help all explore and understand the relationship between the health of soil, plants, animals, and people. With just over 300 staff employed in offices in Bristol and Edinburgh and employees dispersed across the UK, they wanted to obtain a strategic focus on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI). They approached Cogito to produce an EDI project for a senior advisor / leadership role.

Our client was keen to ensure that any barriers that may prevent them from employing individuals who would effectively contribute to their culture were broken down. They wanted every employee to feel welcome, seen and heard, encouraging them to be ‘champions’ for the change they would like to see in the world. Our client was keen to take advantage of opportunities to make a difference and produce a clear strategic plan for their diversity goals, ensuring that:

  • EDI is fully integrated into our clients’ brand and reputation.
  • Our client is inclusive and welcoming and represents the communities it serves.

To help achieve these goals, Cogito was asked to identify an individual who will act as a strategic ED&I business partner for the organisation and were asked to focus on:

  • Existing EDI practices.
  • Preferred working practices.
  • Ideal contracting arrangements.
  • Pay and benefits.

Creating a Diverse and Inclusive Workplace Free From Bias

Our client is not alone in facing the daunting challenges of creating diverse and inclusive workplaces. The rise of movements such as Black Lives Matter has advanced the need for organisations to prioritise Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in their recruitment strategy. It’s an integral part of the future growth of businesses worldwide, as opposed to a tick-the-box approach. The emphasis on EDI is here to stay and is considered a top priority for candidates when considering a new role. Employers increasingly acknowledge that a commitment to EDI practices is essential to their long-term recruitment strategy, assuming that candidates will ask for evidence of their EDI strategy during the hiring process. If organisations are armed with the correct data to make informed decisions, there is an opportunity to deliver a more equitable workplace.

The benefits of creating a diverse and inclusive workplace? They include:

  • Enables equal opportunities.
  • Provides an effective comparison against the competition.
  • Creates a diverse workforce.
  • Improves accessibility to new and diverse customer markets.
  • Increases revenue, productivity, and innovation.
  • Allows the development of new products and services.
  • Improves company reputation management.

The benefits are clear to see, but without understanding the makeup of the talent pool you are drawing from, how does a company know if their recruitment process and selection methods result in representative hiring? Many organisations simply don’t know where to start with creating a diverse and inclusive workplace. Enter Cogito.

Our Solution

Our client was seeking both prospective candidates and candidate insight to support the development of an attractive role proposition and present a platform to evaluate external candidates against a senior advisor / leadership role at their organisation. Cogito suggested a two-phase approach:

Phase 1

Cogito conducted research to identify ED&I professionals within the below sectors:

  • Charity.
  • International Development.
  • Social Justice.
  • Food, Agriculture and Farming.

Our client was keen to learn of the ideal working arrangement in terms of office versus home working, preferred days per week and the preferred contracting arrangement in terms of permanently employed or contract/freelance.

Cogito carried out a combination of telephone and desk-based research and data analysis to capture and present a report, including the below:

  • Interested candidate bio; detailing career history, experience, qualifications, pay, preferred working arrangement (days, contract type), and contact details.
  • Full market map of prospective candidates identified detailing Name, Role, Company, Skills, Experience and Level of Interest.
  • Awareness and perception of our client as an employer.
  • Reasons for declining the opportunity.

Phase 2

After submission of the Phase 1 report, our client chose to progress to Phase 2 of the project, conducting face-to-face interviews with candidates of the most significant interest to our client. More detailed interview reports, including competency-based scoring were also produced. Cogito submitted a report that included:

  • Candidate interview report and CV.
  • Competency scoring comparison.
  • Experience and skills analysis versus Person Specification.

Putting It Into Practice

Cogito presented our recommendations to our client – in person and in report form – and a transformation plan for putting them into practice. Our key findings highlighted the most important factors to candidates (for example, flexible working) and their ideal contract arrangements. The interactive feedback session included practical and achievable examples of how our client can incorporate Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in their recruitment strategy. Our client is confident that they are taking steps to attract a diverse range of talent.

Let Cogito Be Your Strategic EDI Partner!

Cogito can provide ethnicity breakdowns by skill and job titles in most locations, combined with talent pool density and salary benchmarking. This powerful tool allows you to understand how your organisation compares to the local and regional talent landscapes and highlights where your business needs to do more. For further information on how Cogito can be your strategic EDI partner, visit Research and Surveys – Cogito People Insights (

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