NED Diversity & Inclusion with WSA partners Acorn

The WSA and Acorn formed a partnership in 2017 to facilitate the strengthening of WSA member boards with non-exec Directors — in less than 4 years Acorn have assisted with, in excess of, 50 non-exec board member placements across Welsh sport.

As part of the strategic partnership, there’s a diversity and inclusion approach to board appointments that encompasses a strategic framework with the goals of appointing gender balanced boards and representation on behalf of minority groups.

It is imperative that our decision-makers across the Welsh sporting sector are drawn from different backgrounds with different experiences, reflecting the communities we serve. Diverse organisations are good for business – in all sectors, not just sport and the WSA will continue to provide support services to it’s members to ensure this happens.

The WSA and Acorn are committed to supporting the Welsh sporting sector to become more diverse and inclusive in it’s practices and reflect the principles of the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act.

The details and strategic framework offered through Acorn are detailed below:

Stage 1: Data & Insight – bias free recruitment

Acorn gather anonymised, reliable, and qualitative and quantitate data points across digital channels for board member engagement which is scrutinised and actioned upon with new initiatives by their internal committee. Data specific to a campaign is included in all of their client reporting and measured against their broader Wales only data sets as a benchmark metric for analysis. Anonymised data gathered and reported on covers all protected characteristics.

This data can be used to ensure under-represented groups have a proportional representation throughout the recruitment process e.g. who sponsored ads appear in front of, who Acorn headhunt, those on Acorn’s longlist, those shortlisted and bias free approaches to how Acorn submit candidates for review.

Stage 2: Steering Group

Acorn’s EDI (Equality, Diversity & Inclusion) steering group captures involvement from across the Acorn Group, all sectors operate within their strategic mission to:

  • Reflect and action with initiatives on data gathered
  • Continuously innovative in their recruitment approach, strategy and technology to support and encourage inclusive and transparent bias free processes in consultation and partnership with their clients.
  • Develop robust pipelines of talent with protected characteristics for each of their 12 sectors including board members for the Executive search team. Achieved through their internal EDI training to create a supportive and encouraging environment for all candidates engaging with an Acorn consultant. In addition, their partnership goal is set in order to maximise reach to all individuals with protected characteristics and their technology allows for pipelining of potential board members as well as inclusion to their established board member network.

Acorn’s steering group support clients by providing close consultation, insight and reporting. More info: https://www.acornpeople.com/employers/about-us/equality-diversity-and-inclusion/

Stage 3: Partnerships

Partnering with charities and community groups whose membership and reach (social media, mailing lists and personal networks) provide direct access to individuals across protected characteristics is a proven approach in promoting a campaign in order to maximise reach and encouragement amongst the members/communities they represent.

Acorn’s EDI committee supported by their award-winning marketing team are able to create invaluable campaign led partnerships. They work closely with clients and approach diverse partners to co-promote opportunities with, these include but not limited to;

  • Gender balance focused membership groups/charities/job boards and communities
  • Disability supportive membership groups/charities/ job boards and communities
  • Ethnic minority membership groups/charities/ job boards and communities

In total Acorn have relationships with over 50 potential partners.

Stage 4: Headhunting

A positive action approach. Acorn work with the diversity challenges faced in senior representation – first and foremost Acorn identify the skills gap on the current board and then create a headhunting approach to attract suitability skilled board members from the under-represented groups identified. Achieved through;

  • A research report of all potential individuals to approach
  • Headhunting campaign (2 to 4 weeks) to approach all identified individuals
  • Consultation and awareness with potential candidates behind their ambition of achieving a balanced board.

If you would like to find out more about Acorn’s diversity and inclusive approach to board recruitment and the pro bono non-ececutive recruitment service that Acorn offer to WSA members – please select the Acorn partner page

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