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Tackling a “laddish” culture to create more inclusion

Case Study from a Technology Company

The Need

This leading international tech company like many other Tech firms, wanted to broaden the diversity of its workforce.

The team make-up was male orientated – often with a “laddish” culture of banter, which the HR team knew needed to shift to be more respectful and inclusive if they were to be able to attract & retain more diverse talent.

Our Solution

We worked with the L&D and D&I leads to create a programme which supported the roll out of a new Dignity at Work policy, followed by sessions on understanding unconscious bias at work and its effects.

The whole programme was called Creating an Inclusive Working Environment and had a number of elements run over a period of several months:

  • We worked with the Board to ensure they were aware of the key messages in the programme and were able to look at their own behaviour and interactions as a senior team and be confident they were role modelling. It also meant that the CEO was able to visibly and vocally support the programme as it progressed, with updates at all staff meetings and with one to ones with direct reports. It also helped the Board agree their own set of leadership behaviours they all committed to.
  • We designed and facilitated two interactive workshops for the managers in the company – the first helping them to discuss what is appropriate and inappropriate behaviour at work and contribute to a company team charter. The second looking at how to create a more diverse workforce and remove any barriers to creating an inclusive workplace, including becoming aware of our own biases and how they play out at work.

One of the key actions for all the Managers was to hold a discussion with their teams around what is appropriate/ inappropriate behaviour and start to create their own team charters.

The L and D and HR team then held a series of internal Round Tables, bringing managers back together to share what had come out of those team discussions, identify some practical next steps and finalise their charters to take back to their teams.


  • Over 130 managers took part in the programme
  • Feedback included that it was invaluable in “Allowing the Team to have a voice, to speak out in an unconfrontational way”

The programme has kick started a number of positive changes:

  • There are now team charters for most teams, which are the local interpretation of the Dignity at Work policy and used to guide behaviour going forwards
  • These are also being used when new people join the team to set the cultural tone
  • The behaviours from the discussions and charter are being linked back into internal leadership programmes, so that there is a joined-up approach
  • Actions from the programme have also been incorporated into the D and I plan to ensure the momentum is maintained
  • The Board are being very visible in putting behaviour at the top of the agenda with CEO commenting “This was a really important piece of work for us …. as a board we were keen to ensure that our “legacy” was creating a culture we could all be proud of and where everyone felt comfortable to be themselves. The sessions Focal Point designed, have opened up conversations we wouldn’t otherwise have had about how we all want to be with each other and how vital this is for business success”

Read more about our Managing Inappropriate Behaviour services here.