Personnel Today Awards 2009: Award for Diversity

THE AWARD

Shortlisted teams demonstrated having a diverse workforce while proving the business benefits it brings. The judges were looking for a recruitment policy encouraging applications from under-represented groups, and a meaningful diversity training programme. Links to local communities and consideration of flexible working to accommodate minority groups were also key.

THE JUDGES

Judith Cherry
Head of research and insight
Opportunity Now

 

 

 

Sandra Kerr
National director
Race for Opportunity

 


 


BBC


The team: BBC Academy
Number in team: 170
Number of staff the team is responsible for: 23,000

About the organisation

The BBC is the largest broadcasting corporation in the world. It is a public service broadcaster, established by a Royal Charter and funded by the licence fee paid by UK households.

The challenge

The team wanted to see as many diverse people as possible having an opportunity to learn at the BBC, while at the same time improving the scope of disability awareness within the organisation.

What the organisation did



  • Created ‘Extend’, an annual scheme offering work experience to appropriately talented disabled people
  • Provided 360-degree support for the scheme’s participants and line managers
  • Arranged in-house disability training for managers.

Benefits and achievements



  • Recruited 416 people through Extend, 50% of whom have obtained further employment within the BBC
  • Improved the BBC’s partnerships with external organisations such as Remploy
  • Increased diversity across the organisation, in turn giving the BBC greater insight into its audience.

Judge’s comments

Judith Cherry says: “A well-articulated business case and a great practical initiative which can clearly demonstrate an impact on disabled participants. There are also wider benefits of upskilling BBC managers to understand this sector and facilitate cultural change.”

 


Metropolitan Police Service


The team: Recruitment
Number in team: 2,000 (HR)
Number of staff the team is responsible for: 55,000

About the organisation

The Metropolitan Police Service employs 31,000 officers, covering an area of 620 square miles and a population of 7.2 million people.

The challenge

The Metropolitan Police Service needs a diverse workforce to reflect and meet the wide-ranging needs of London’s communities, while remaining cost-effective. The community engagement programme was intended to provide a diverse workforce while balancing these competing factors.

What the organisation did



  • Created a vision of where it wanted to be over time, setting goals for the representation of ethnic communities
  • Developed external campaigns highlighting opportunities within the organisation
  • Built lasting relationships with key communities, appointing outreach workers.

Benefits and achievements



  • Londoners are now three times more likely than a decade ago to encounter black or ethnic minority police officers
  • Police community support officers and special constable roles reflect the communities in which they serve
  • Involvement in these roles is facilitating entry into the police force.

Judge’s comments

Judith Cherry says: “This was a multi-faceted strategy with focus on both the immediate goals of improving recruitment and also, longer term, on community relations. It made an impressive impact.”


 


Asda


The team: Policy and colleague relations
Number in team: 8
Number of staff the team is responsible for: 170,000

About the organisation

Supermarket chain Asda is part of the Wal-Mart Group, with 356 stores across the UK, including Asda/Wal-Mart super centres, Asda Superstores, Asda Living, and George high-street stores.

The challenge

Asda serves more than 17 million people in the UK each week, and wants to reflect the communities in which it works. The company hoped that having a diverse workforce would allow it to be more responsive, and to achieve a competitive advantage.

What the organisation did

Provided practical tools to enable store managers to:



  • Build a diverse workforce
  • Recruit in a way that engaged local communities
  • Get to know colleagues through community involvement
  • Reduce turnover and absence.

Benefits and achievements



  • 15.9% increase in staff from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds: 22% over-50s, 25% under-25s
  • Increase in women in leadership to 45% of managers
  • Top employer with Remploy: 172 new permanent colleagues with disabilities recruited through Remploy in 2008.

Judge’s comments

Sandra Kerr says: “A good range of actions designed to focus on race and gender specifically and cross-strand. A good range of outcomes clearly articulated.”

 


West Midlands Police


The team: Diversity team
Number in team: 10
Number of staff the team is responsible for: 14,000

About the organisation

West Midlands Police is the second largest police force in the country, covering an area of 348 square miles and serving a population of almost 2.6 million people.

The challenge

West Midlands Police needs a diverse workforce to reflect the communities in which it operates, so people will feel comfortable coming forward to report crimes or to act as witnesses.

What the organisation did



  • Developed and embedded a diversity vision and strategy
  • Created a team of positive action officers, to help them attract, recruit and retain from all local communities
  • Included a SMART diversity objective in all employees’ personal development plans.

Benefits and achievements



  • Increased representation of ethnic minority groups in special units, up from 0.4% in March 2007 to 4% in March 2009
  • Increased female representation, up from 4% to 12%
  • Increased female and black, Asian and minority ethnic representation in management positions, from 0% to 32%.

Judge’s comments

Sandra Kerr says: “The combined equality scheme, positive action officers, training and diversity objectives are all good practice actions to support the aim of engaging more effectively with communities.”

 


New Charter Building


The team: HR
Number in team: 1
Number of staff responsible for: 240

About the organisation

New Charter Building Company was established in 2000, and offers clients a one-stop solution for all building requirements.

The challenge

Before 2006 the company was reflective of the construction industry, employing few women. Its challenge was to break this mould and lead the way for change within the sector.

What the organisation did



  • Formed a partnership with the Wai Yin Chinese Women’s Society to attract women to the sector through placements and NVQ study
  • Provided paid work placements
  • Developed a relationship with JIVE, which works to address occupational segregation within the sector
  • Visited local schools and developed ‘non-stereotype’ days.

Benefits and achievements



  • The Wai Yin partnership has led to paid work placements for 14 women
  • It has also resulted in two trainees being offered contracts of employment
  • A change in attitudes towards flexible working – the company now has six flexible workers
  • Positive response to women staff from tenants and clients.

Judge’s comments

Judith Cherry says: “It’s great to see an entry from a small business. New Charter has implemented equality and diversity training internally while engaging with girls in local schools. Both are examples of the way sustainability is being built into this initiative.”


 


British Gas


The team: The British Gas Energy Academy
Number in team: 30
Number of staff the team is responsible for: 9,000

About the organisation

British Gas, part of the Centrica Group, is the largest domestic central heating and gas appliance installation company in the UK.

The challenge

The company wanted to embrace the anti-ageism legislation, introduced in October 2006, seeing it as an opportunity to build on its diversity strategy.

What the organisation did



  • Reviewed existing processes, policies and strategies relating to age legislation
  • Removed all age banding, opening up all jobs to all age groups
  • Introduced working patterns which included lifestyle contracts
  • Reviewed training to ensure there was no age bias
  • Advertised ‘all age’ apprenticeships across all media.

Benefits and achievements



  • Proportion of new apprentices over 25 years old has risen from 0% in 2006 to 37% currently
  • Removing age barriers has improved the behaviour and maturity of training groups
  • The correct implementation of the anti-ageism legislation means the removal of any litigation risk.

Judge’s comments

Judith Cherry says: “It’s good to see an employer tackling age discrimination and breaking down stereotyping around apprenticeships. This is a broad programme of work addressing the issue in terms of recruitment methods and internal culture. Impressive examples of positive impact.”

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