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6 Tips for Running an Inclusive Guild

I'm a little late in posting this. However, in celebration of #GAAD2020, and the upcoming National Accessibility Week (NAAW), Daniel Dafoe and I thought it would be a great idea to reflect back on the last year, and give you some tips on how to run an inclusive guild.

Back in 2012, Spotify released a whitepaper talking about how they scaled their company. One of the ideas they introduced was a community of practice called a ‘guild’. Here’s how they describe it:

A Guild is an organic and wide-reaching ‘community of interest’, a group of people who want to share knowledge, tools, code, and practices.

(Of course, Spotify doesn’t have a monopoly on the guild concept. For example, here’s how Hootsuite describe their take.)

Inspired by Spotify and our friends at #A11YTO, RBC Digital's Accessibility and Inclusive Design Guild kicked off roughly a year ago. It originally spun up as a mechanism to help solve a specific accessibility problem that a few teams identified, but it quickly expanded and now includes participants from across the organization.

We’ve had designers, developers, quality engineers, business analysts, and product owners across RBC attend and participate, and our primary touchpoint is a one hour meeting every two weeks where we share knowledge, tools, and best practices.

Best practices, tips, and tricks

Here are some things that we would recommend if you wanted to set up a guild of any kind:

  • Think carefully about the frequency of meetings

  • Begin with a problem

  • Take good notes. We write up minutes of our meetings on Slack and then post them to a central spot for all to see and refer back to.

  • Encourage a culture of self-governance.

  • Be Inclusive. We lead by example and hold ourselves accountable for our actions.

  • Encourage continuous improvement. We’ve found that providing a safe space to talk about accessibility and inclusive design, through a vibrant, healthy guild, has been a great way to grow the accessibility practice at RBC.

I really am proud of this guild and what we have been able to accomplish together so far. But the guild wouldn't be anything but an idea without a vibrant and awesome #TeamRBC community. So, thank you to all the passionate and dedicated people at RBC that keep this guild going!

You all Rock!

Thanks for reading.


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