Newton, the management consultancy, announced today that it is the first UK company to work toward earning the GEN Certification, a data-driven accreditation that recognises organisations for excellence in workplace equity.
Launched first in the US by Executive Director Sara Sanford and her team, the certification initially focused on intersectional gender parity. In partnership with a consortium of award-winning data analysts and a research team at the University of Washington, the certification model has expanded to recognise cultural levers that can be adjusted to counter the biases that impact underrepresented groups of all backgrounds. GEN will assess Newton across over 200 indicators of employee experience and equity-centred best practices.
The announcement coincides with the recent appointment of Sandra Masiliso as Newton’s new permanent EDI Manager, marking another facet of Newton’s commitment to true workplace equity. The EDI manager will report directly to the People Director, who – along with the rest of Newton’s Supervisory Board – is the key sponsor for developing the company’s approach to EDI to deliver tangible, measurable outcomes.
Newton began working toward the GEN certification in August 2021, with GEN conducting an employee survey and an internal processes audit. While only 75% employee participation is required in GEN’s survey, over 80% of Newton’s employees took part. Newton’s leadership team has also been highly involved in the process, with all members of the supervisory board participating in one-on-one interviews with GEN’s assessment team.
As part of the certification process, the GEN team will also be identifying specific gaps in employee experiences and opportunities to optimise practices and policies to ensure equitable career flows for all employees. In partnership with Newton’s leadership team, GEN will tailor an action plan and change management program for closing these gaps and adopting best practices.
Sara Sanford, Founder and Executive Director of GEN, comments:
“We created the GEN Certification as a new gold standard for equity in the workplace, rewarding leading companies like Newton, who raise the bar for workplace equality everywhere.
“We’re so impressed with the time, effort, and candour behind Newton’s work toward earning this certification. In conducting interviews with the leadership team, one of their directors said, ‘We’re less interested in how to maintain our culture as we grow, and more interested in how to evolveour culture as we grow,’ and to me, that encapsulates Newton’s approach to this process. They exemplify the kind of commitment, transparency, and accountability that are crucial to centring equity and inclusion. They clearly know that prioritizing this is both the right thing to do, and the smart thing to do.
“While the certification assessment process is still ongoing, GEN’s team has noted several successes already: ‘We’re pleased to see that employees of all backgrounds have reported equal access to opportunities for training and development, and we’re excited about the ambitious targets Newton has set for diverse representation across leadership roles.
“The reaction from within Newton towards the first part of the certification process has been outstanding and we look forward to working with them on implementing a targeted action plan. Newton is the first UK company GEN has worked with, and we are enjoying learning together as we embark on this unique process.”
Kate Mills, People Director at Newton, comments:
“After first being introduced to Sara Sanford’s work as a guest on the Newton Talks podcast, her approach felt refreshing. Lead by insight and data, GEN helps organisations go beyond intent to take action.
“Last year we announced our commitment of 30% of our leadership positions being occupied by women by 2023. This is one of four EDI targets set to ensure that we reflect society more broadly and acknowledge our intention to ensure colleagues are fairly represented at all levels, and across all areas of Newton.
“Today’s partnership represents dedicated action towards achieving our commitment and more importantly, action towards creating a fairer workplace.”
Sandra Masiliso, recently hired Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Manager at Newton, comments:
“When the opportunity arose to join Newton on their Equality, Diversity and Inclusion journey I jumped at the chance. From the outside looking in, I was impressed by the various internal efforts, from diversity awareness months to the Newton Talks podcast which has been unafraid in exploring a range of D&I topics with a range of guest speakers, encouraging diversity of thought.
I’m thrilled to be joining at a time when I can help Newton work towards the GEN certification and I look forward to supporting Newton, empowering colleagues to become champions for change and continuing to drive commitment to real, lasting, and systemic change in the company culture.”