- What happens when I sign up for the Evolve programme?
Your local office should be your first point of contact if you wish to enrol on the Evolve programme.
You will be put in touch with a Senior Project Officer, who will arrange an initial meeting at a time convenient to you.
They will explain the programme and help you decide if it is right for you. If you wish to go ahead you will need to complete some paperwork and book your place on the workshop.
Following the workshop you will meet with your Senior Project Officer again, to decide if you would benefit from more long term, one-to-one support. If you continue with the programme you will have a series of meetings to decide your priorities for action, and the Senior Project Officer will carry out an organisational mapping exercise on behalf of your company. They will use the results of the organisational mapping to work with you to create your diversity strategy.
The strategy will be based on your business objectives and will contain practical actions to achieve these objectives. Your Senior Project officer may deliver some of these actions, or they may support you to deliver them yourself, using your existing staff and resources. If it is appropriate, we may also bring in other specialist support providers to carry out some of the work. After the action plan is complete we will help you to evaluate the effectiveness of the strategy, and make plans for the future.
- I don’t employ a diverse workforce so what’s the point of having a diversity strategy?
Diversity is not just about who you employ, but also who you do business with. We recognise many SMEs are family businesses and aren’t looking to employ additional staff, but that doesn’t mean you can’t benefit from expanding your customer base, improving customer satisfaction and enhancing the loyalty you get from people you already employ.
- How much will the Evolve programme cost me?
The Evolve programme is managed by Chwarae Teg, and sponsored by the Welsh Government and the European Social Fund. This means there is no cost to the employers taking part – the Welsh Government and the ESF meet all the costs on your behalf.
- How long does the Evolve programme take? I’m very busy and don’t have much time for things that won’t produce a result
The beauty of the Evolve programme is that you actually receive time in the form of the services of one of our Senior Project Officers. They can give you up to 42 hours of dedicated support, freeing you up to get on with running your business. Because we are much more than a signposting service we not only help you create your strategy, but also assist you to deliver the actions in it too.
- Why should we bother with diversity, or change the way we work? We’ve always got along fine before
The world of work is rapidly changing and the recession has made it even more essential that all organisations adapt to the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century. Globalisation is affecting every business, including those that trade on a local level, thanks to increased competition and increased opportunity to do business with new customers, using new and innovative ways of working.
People are retiring later, and there are many more women, older people, disabled people and people from different ethnic backgrounds entering the labour market. A diversity strategy can help you recruit from this pool of talent, and even take advantage of the increased spending power many of these groups now have.
- Isn’t flexible working just for people with children?
Flexible working is about adapting how, when and where we work, and there are many different types you can use. Most posts can have some element of flexibility built in. Although certain groups are legally entitled to request flexible working, employers are entitled to refuse requests that would have a negative impact on their business. We can show you how to use reason-neutral flexible working for all your employees, ensuring you always make the best decision based on the needs of your business.
- We’re a small team and work out time off informally. Why should we adopt formal policies?
While you may all get along fine now, a lack of policies can place your company at risk if an employee does raise a grievance in the future. Policies and monitoring systems allow you to take a more strategic overview of whether your informal system is working in the interests of your business. Informal systems increase the risk of unintentional discrimination because all employees are not given the same treatment or the opportunity to access valuable benefits like flexible working on an equal basis.
- I already have an equal opportunities policy. Isn’t a diversity strategy just another view on the same thing?
A diversity strategy goes beyond an equal opportunities policy because it produces real, measurable outcomes that will make a difference to your business. A strategy is about more than box ticking and political correctness. It allows you to demonstrate that you actively implement the values you stand for, and truly harness the business benefits of diversity for your company.
- How can a diversity strategy help me win more business?
A diversity strategy can increase your organisation’s competitiveness when tendering for contracts from public sector buyers, because all tenders must be awarded to companies that demonstrate a strong commitment to equality and diversity. In addition, you can use a diversity strategy to make your products and services more accessible, tapping into parts of the market you may not currently be well placed to access, and attracting new customers of different ages and a wide variety of backgrounds.
- I just want to access technical assistance through the remote working solution. Why do I have to take part in the whole Evolve programme?
The Evolve programme has been specifically designed to ensure that all businesses taking part obtain the maximum benefit from the actions we advise. Even if you are primarily interested in ICT support it is essential you also have the policies, practices and organisational culture in place to make remote working successful in your business. Every employer who enrols on the programme will benefit from attending the Evolve workshop because it has been designed to help you create the foundations of your personal action plan. Following the workshop the diversity strategy will help to ensure the timely and effective implementation of the remote working solution in your business.
- How do I book a place on the workshop?
The Evolve workshop is an integral part of the programme, and you will need to enrol on the Agile Nation project in order to book your place. When you contact your regional office you will be put in touch with one of our Senior Project Officers. They will arrange a meeting with you where you can find out more about the Evolve programme and complete the necessary paperwork. Once you are enrolled on the project you can book your place on the next available workshop.
- Can you mediate in a dispute between me and one of my employees?
Chwarae Teg does not provide legal advice and we are unable to offer mediation services or guidance around specific disputes in the workplace. If you feel you need support with discipline or grievance we can refer you to specialist organisations that will be able to assist you.
- Will taking part in Evolve affect my eligibility for other funded projects or services?
Many employers taking part in Evolve are also making use of other support services, and we actively encourage this. Where it is appropriate we can refer you other specialist providers, including other European and Welsh Government funded sources of support.
The Evolve programme is provided using de minimis funds. This means all businesses taking part will be using a proportion of their eligible allocation of de minimis funds. Companies can access services to the value of €200000 in any 3 year fiscal period. If you have previously accessed other projects, programmes or services using de minimis funds, participating in the Evolve programme may take you near to the €200000 limit. Please speak to your local office if you need to discuss this further.