Race Equality Awards 2016 - Developing Talent - Imperial College



Imperial College London (Imperial) employs 8,024 staff members, of which 22.2% are Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME). 87% of BAME employees hold non-academic roles and 9.5% hold academic roles.

The Imperial Positive about Cultural Talent (IMPACT) programme was established in 2014 and aims to enable BAME staff from diverse backgrounds to understand how cultural difference can be positively leveraged in the workplace in order to promote more staff into middle and senior management. 

The main challenges IMPACT faced initially was securing buy-in from senior staff and potential delegates, due to the wide range of other leadership courses already available. This was overcome by designing a unique and highly tailored programme, and presenting this framework alongside the business case to the Deputy Head of HR. IMPACT now has a budget provided by the Deputy Head of HR and senior sponsors who include the Dean of the Business School and Director of Safety.

IMPACT runs over four months consisting of five workshops and four action learning sets, and formal support from delegate line managers is integrated into the programme. The mentees and mentors must meet for a minimum of four one-hour sessions across the course of the programme, and must record their meetings as a part of the assessment process. The programme is endorsed by the Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM).

The action learning sets provide an opportunity to address challenges and find practical solutions in a peer-led setting. Participants create a project within their set to be presented on the graduation day of the course. 

Currently, 27 senior leaders and managers participate as IMPACT mentors. All delegates receive post-programme coaching from senior managers in order to provide executive-style coaching. Being able to engage with senior managers throughout and after the programme has led to a growth of confidence and morale with the IMPACT delegates. 

All senior managers and line managers are held accountable through the delegates’ personal development review meetings which are recorded and sent to the ILM.

As of June 2016, IMPACT has had 51 BAME delegates, with cohort numbers increasing from 15 delegates to 21 per programme.

The effectiveness of each IMPACT programme is measured by evaluation forms pre- and post-programme, including evaluation six months after the course to track impact, progress and promotion rates of delegates. The Equality & Diversity Committee receive a final report to track the programme’s impact and performance.