Four key steps to starting your ED&I journey

Ridhi Radia, Head of ED&I, Immediate Media on how to make tangible commitments to drive diversity forward

Ridhi Radia

Head of ED&I Immediate Media


When I first arrived in Britain from India at the age of 15, magazines became my window into British culture. I fell in love with them. I loved their curated stories, stunning visuals, and insights into British life and society, from entertainment and fashion to politics and hobbies.

But one thing stood out - hardly anyone looked like me or told stories about people like me. Fast forward 20 years and I’m now working in the industry that introduced me to British culture, as head of ED&I at one of UK’s largest media companies. In the past two to three years the dial has shifted more than in the previous 20, encouragingly we are seeing more representation in our content - in print, online, audio and on our screens. And not only in audience facing content, diversity is also increasing amongst those creating the content.

I’m proud of our work at Immediate to tackle this embedded issue. From improving our intake of new hires from ethnically diverse backgrounds to 20%, a new company-wide approach to hiring and retention and being the first company in the magazine media industry to introduce an ethnicity pay gap report.

However, despite the positive change, it feels like we are still in the foothills of the challenge, but momentum is building. For those at the beginning of their journey or kick-start their strategy, I think there’s four key steps that can help you make meaningful change. 

Auditing your approach 

Every company’s journey toward equity, diversity and inclusion is unique, and there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. We’re all starting from different places and that's okay. What matters is where we're heading. Embracing data is crucial to understanding your company, how it feels, and its readiness for change. Let's move beyond relying solely on instinct-driven decisions, which could have unconscious biases, and use data to ensure fairness and equity.

Data allows you to identify gaps in your approach and ensure fairness and equity. It's crucial to create a safe space for discussions, challenge biases, and understand the diverse journeys and stories of individuals within your organisation.

Empowering underrepresented groups through focus groups and inclusive company network groups can provide great insights to inform hiring decisions and shape a company’s vision. It also creates a continuous feedback mechanism to help iterate and improve.

Data allows you to identify gaps in your approach and ensure fairness and equity.

Ridhi Radia, Head of ED&I, Immediate Media

Beyond HR responsibility - Making inclusion a leadership priority 

While HR and the people team play a crucial role in driving ED&I strategies and initiatives, the companies that really make a difference in this space are the ones who make it a leadership priority. Leadership commitment and accountability is key to moving the dial in the ED&I space. 

That’s why we don’t put ED&I within CSR or HR, instead, it’s a foundation of our overall business strategy and an agenda point during our board meetings to ensure our leadership is engaged and embedding ED&I within their teams. We want to ensure that our people are equipped with the tools and understanding to view every decision, piece of work and conversation inside and outside of Immediate with inclusion in mind.

To achieve meaningful change, inclusion comes before diversity and requires a bottom-up and top-down approach, meeting in the middle so all voices are heard. 

Empowering networking groups 

Network groups can help to empower people across your company and create an inclusive and collaborative culture, where people feel safe to share their thoughts and concerns. By supporting these groups, you create a space for underrepresented communities to thrive and contribute to decision-making processes.

At Immediate, our IM family group has been instrumental in pushing more inclusive and flexible policies for parents, the IM Proud group supported in creating our transitioning at work policy and guidance, while our IM Multicultural group has helped drive changes in our hiring and retention strategies. It pushed us to be the first in the industry to publish our ethnicity pay gap report. Allies also play an important role in these groups, not only to offer support but also to champion network groups and ED&I across the organisation.

By embracing diversity and creating inclusive environments and content, we can cater to the evolving interests and passions of diverse audiences.

Ridhi Radia, Head of ED&I at Immediate Media

Share lived experiences 

The challenge around ED&I is that it potentially opens the door to some tough conversations and inclusion isn’t natural for everyone. This is especially true when conversations challenge us to look at our own biases and personal beliefs. There can be a natural instinct to defend or deflect, or a fear of saying the wrong thing. These reactions are normal and part of the process. Education and training are essential in eliminating unconscious bias but are not the only tool. Developing partnerships with diversity recruitment specialists and groups working with under-represented communities are vital to help recruit and attract a broader range of talent.

We started an ‘In Conversation’ and ‘IM Talking’ series which includes our people, leaders and external panelists talking honestly and openly about subjects including race, periods, menopause, imposter syndrome, men’s mental health, coming out at work and neurodiversity.

Through listening and understanding different people's journeys and stories, and being open to what people are saying, or even not saying, change is possible. These conversations are not always easy, but they are always worth it.

A focus internally on ED&I has also helped our editorial teams to increase diversity and authenticity in our content for one of our leading brands, BBC Good Food. This has been a powerful way of embracing diversity and inclusion externally. It makes smart commercial sense, as well as being the right thing to do to widenand deepen our audience engagement.

As a result, BBC Good Food is ranked Number One in Google for religious diverse recipes. There’s also been a direct uptick in commercial revenues for BBC Good Food on the back of the editorial teams’ efforts to ensure they look at everything they create through an inclusion lens.

Ultimately, we need to think about how we can future proof our industry. Audiences today are vastly different from what they were, even five years ago. By embracing diversity and creating inclusive environments and content, we can cater to the evolving interests and passions of diverse audiences.

Let's work together to tell stories that reflect and resonate with everyone - so that any teenager flipping/swiping through content today can see themselves in the stories we tell.

Guest Author

Ridhi Radia

Head of ED&I Immediate Media


Ridhi Radia is Head of ED&I at Immediate Media.

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