Inclusion & Diversity : Making Strides at Royal Mail

The LEAD Network UK Chapter Speaks

The LEAD Network recently inaugurated its UK chapter at Nabarro’s London office this March. Just a few months after its introduction had members engrossed in real-life best practices for Inclusion & Diversity including Pauline Vickers from the Royal Mail, Sam Simister from innocent drinks and Sue Knowles from Costco Wholesale UK and the lead for the UK Chapter.

While unconscious bias, job sharing, mentoring and employee feedback were matters that the chapter is tackling hands-on, the focus of this conference was clear: Learning from how Royal Mail’s Inclusion & Diversity strategy was paying off. In a presentation by Pauline Vickers, Head of Sales Operations, Royal Mail and a group discussion encouraged by Sam Simister, Group Supply Chain Director from innocent drinks, the UK Chapter hashed out what it takes to make Inclusion & Diversity real.

Corporate Accountability

Leadership endorsement of Inclusion & Diversity needs visibly more than consistent messaging and reaffirming strategic benefit to the business. Albeit an important start, Pauline shared how Royal Mail went a step further by establishing a Diversity Council lead by a board member with representation from Gender, BAME, LGBT, Parents & Carers and Young People that helped the company make the strides they needed to make a difference.

Expressively Inclusive

Putting learnings to practice, being expressively inclusive means changing the way feedback and open discussion manifests inclusion in larger groups. Conversations before a presentation or in team meetings and feedback after can unsurprisingly go a long way in developing the inclusive culture that is needed.

Balanced Short-listing

In 2014, Royal Mail began introducing gender- balanced shortlisting when hiring front line roles. By 2015, their hiring rate for women had shot up from 19% to 36% making for a leading example in other areas of diversity.

Supporting Champions of Change

Not all change seeps swiftly through a company, percolating change often means seeking out and energizing champions of change in various areas of the business. Here careful consideration should be given to the wording used to encourage advocates of change so that they might transfer a realistic and yet strong message through their actions.

Counter Unconscious Bias Hands-on

Unconscious bias is a tricky one as it happens out of our area of control. Here increased awareness through sensitive feedback is just as important as small steps to offer evidence of behaviour with real-life examples of in-group and out-group formats.

Get Your Facts Straight

The road to inclusion is long and winding and understanding where you are today includes more than joining leading organisations to compare experiences. Benchmarking diversity and inclusion can help mark and measure progress e.g. Business in the Community/Opportunity Now