18 Mar 2022

Joseph Rowntree Foundation: Creating An Innovative DEI Assessment

In 2021, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation came to Green Park for the recruitment of 3 directors who each held a deep understanding of equalities and the ability to take creative approaches to leading that work. In order to achieve this they required a bespoke evaluation tool that had capabilities beyond any existing leadership assessment tool currently on the market. Our team welcomed the challenge, which presented a great opportunity to adapt our unique executive search selection tools further, adding a valuable DEI angle to meet the needs of our client.

Green Park pioneered a new tool for evaluating candidates from an DEI perspective

  • The team used the tool to successfully assess candidates for JRF’s key leadership roles
  • The candidate response to the DEI assessment was overwhelmingly positive
  • The pioneering tool is now available for Green Park clients to use alongside their existing selection processes

The Challenge

 An independent social change organisation, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) was established over a hundred years ago. Since then, the organisation has been striving for decent homes, improved living standards and an end to poverty, becoming a well-known and highly regarded name within the UK charity sector and beyond.

As a long-term partner for JRF, Green Park has helped the organisation recruit at senior leadership level over the last few years. JRF’s latest project was to find three Executive Directors – but this time, the brief was different. Our client wanted to make diversity and inclusion a key part of the selection process and explore candidates’ values and cultural intelligence. In a society that’s more diverse and multi-cultural than ever, a thoughtful approach to DEI should be a pre-requisite for any successful leader.

The Project

 Green Park has a raft of highly effective assessments at their disposal for evaluating leaders, from competency tests to values-based interviews. Drawing on Green Park’s Diversity, Inclusion, Culture & Ethics (DICE) team’s collective expertise and industry research, we were able to adapt these to create a new and completely unique tool for measuring candidates’ competency in relation to DEI.

An innovative, first-of-its-kind assessment, the result was an Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Capability Tool that measures leaders’ capability across the Cultural Intelligence (CQ) framework. The purpose being to explore candidates’ inclusive leadership style and examine how they manage diverse teams effectively. The scores inform recruitment processes, providing unique and supplementary insights to support hiring decisions.

The Cultural Intelligence (CQ) analysis is a vital element of the tool. Leaders with high CQ often excel at understanding unfamiliar or ambiguous behaviour and recognise shared influences within their teams and broader working and social environment. This allows them to identify the impact of similarities and differences within their teams. CQ concerns all differences in any cultural contexts.

The Results

Using the new assessment, Green Park successfully interviewed nine final stage candidates, focusing on DEI. All candidates gave positive feedback, with many noting that the questions were a welcome opportunity to think deeply about DEI leadership issues.

Green Park then presented JRF with a detailed DEI capability report, which the client incorporated into their overall hiring process, choosing three highly capable leaders who are now in place. Paul Kissack, JRF’s Group Chief Executive commented: that the assessment “provided rich information and insights on candidates’ knowledge and abilities in this critical area of leadership.” 

Our EDI Capability Assessment tool is now available for general use. With DEI a critical factor for a leader’s success, our assessment has a valuable role to play in selection – and can give recruiters and their organisations a crucial competitive edge.  

Green Park are proud to build and provide innovative and agile solutions that continuously evolve with the needs of our clients. Take the next step: find out more about the work of Green Park’s DICE Consultancy.


“In 2021 JRF recruited three new Directors to shape and lead our future strategy. As an organisation committed to inclusive practices, and with a specific commitment to becoming an anti-racist organisation, we wanted to recruit candidates with a deep understanding of equalities and the ability to take creative approaches to leading that work. As part of the recruitment process shortlisted candidates were interviewed and assessed using the Green Park cultural intelligence tool, which provided rich information and insights on candidates’ knowledge and abilities in this critical area of leadership.” 

Paul Kissack - Group Chief Executive of Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) and Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust (JRHT)

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