Finding ways of building a company culture that embraces diversity and inclusion is a no-brainer to many, but many companies struggle to incorporate these factors into their ways of working. Charlotte Sweeney, of Charlotte Sweeney Associates, is changing all that. Earning the title of Most Influential Diversity & Inclusion Consultant 2022 – UK in Corporate Vision’s Corporate Excellence Awards, we thought it the right time to dig into the secrets of her and her team’s tremendous success.
People work better when they know that they are being listened to. That principle lies at the heart of an inclusive workplace. Creating an inclusive workplace is not an easy task, but it is one which has the results of a stronger organisation because it listens to everybody equally. Workforces with stronger voices work more effectively than before, but making these changes for the benefit of society as a whole has been an immense challenge.
Since 2012, Charlotte Sweeney Associates has been leading the fight for diversity and inclusion across the business world. Working from the inside out, they have partnered with companies and businesses around the globe to implement a better vision that suits the needs of people in the 21st Century. Through events, forums, seminars and reports, the team have been able to have a major impact on the way that these leading organisations see the issues of diversity and inclusion, and more importantly, they have changed the way in which many of them do business in order to include some of the most valuable lessons.
As founder of the business, Charlotte Sweeney’s name understandably carries a great deal of weight. Her work in the field has been ongoing for many years, inspired by a successful corporate career in the financial services sector. Here, she discovered an incredible passion for inclusivity and diversity, and for finding ways of implementing policies that would ensure a broader range of people could find themselves thriving at ever-higher levels. Nowhere has her skill in this regard better been shown than when she was asked to produce The Sweeney Report at the request of Sir Vince Cable and Lord Davies. This seminal piece examined the voluntary code of conduct for executive search firms and the way in which this might be improved in the future.
Whilst much of her work has focused on the needs of women, the breadth of Charlotte Sweeney Associates’ work showcases the way in which Charlotte understands the challenges facing many different groups of people. Her team comprises a wealth of different people with a host of different lived experiences. Each brings a unique perspective to the table which makes the firm stronger.
Charlotte Sweeney Associates sets itself apart through the way in which its guidance is built on practical experience. Every member of staff comes from a position of having worked for change in a wealth of different organisations whilst holding passion for the important issues surrounding inclusivity and diversity. This awareness of the unique challenges facing every organisation allows the team to provide tailored advice that comes from insider experience. Far from offering platitudes and performative action, the work of Charlotte Sweeney Associates is specifically designed to make real change that has a tangible effect on how a business is run.
The rising interest in inclusivity and diversity amongst the general public has made it a matter of interest for many different businesses. To be able to show a difference in this field makes them into more appealing employers in an increasingly challenging job market for employers. Their workforce want an environment where inclusivity is embedded, and employers have come to recognise that such an environment generates better results financially too.
Because the desire for inclusivity is one which is at the heart of so many people’s ambitions, it’s not simply a matter of building new ideas and concepts into a business. It’s about finding a way of unlocking a way of working that empowers people to achieve their best possible work. Charlotte Sweeney Associates takes on the role of a critical friend, always exploring new ways in which this culture might be showcased, collaborating closely to make things happen. Needless to say, the various solutions proposed by the team are bespoke designed to suit the individual needs of the corporation, but each is built on practical successes achieved elsewhere.
The success of Charlotte Sweeney Associates over the years has come from this proactive and pragmatic approach to inclusivity. Many people think the issues involved are extremely complex – and this is by no means untrue – but finding a way forward that enhances the operations of a business can be straightforward indeed. At the core of everything offered by the Charlotte Sweeney Associates team is a desire to find better ways of communicating so that everyone can understand each other. By eliminating the complexity that often surrounds these matters and focusing in on the individual, it has been possible for the talented team to propose and implement programs that have brought about sustainable and lasting change.
Alongside their impressive track record working closely with businesses and companies to build inclusivity in the heart of their operations, the team at Charlotte Sweeney Associates have also produced vlogs and blogs that are free for companies to use. These resources often take the form of content from experts in the field, acting as case studies in the experiences of people from the LGBTQ+ community and BAME backgrounds. As mentioned before, drawing on these experiences is one of the easiest ways to start changing the way a company works to include more people and their various perspectives.
In short, the success of Charlotte Sweeney Associates comes from their determination to centre the way in which people think around voices which are often ignored. Pushing boldly forward at all times, and working from ground up within organisations around the world, the team has managed to create change that many did not think possible. Their success is a credit to them. We cannot wait to see what they do next.