Personnel Today Awards 2014 winners: GE Capital receive diversity award

GE Capital win Diversity and Inclusion Award
GE Capital win Diversity and Inclusion Award in 2014.

NationwideBy improving gender diversity in a male-dominated sector, GE Capital were worthy winners of the Award for Diversity and Inclusion, sponsored by Nationwide. We find out how they did it, and profile the other employers that made up the shortlist.


WINNERS: GE Capital

About the organisation

GE Capital is a leading UK provider of specialist business finance solutions. Its products include invoice finance, inventory finance, asset-based lending, cross-border finance, leveraged finance, equipment leasing, vendor finance and fleet management. Its customers span more than 40,000 UK businesses.

The challenge

Although GE Capital’s commitment to diversity had already produced some impressive results, it wanted to build on this by rolling out its Diversity Gameplan – a long-term programme designed to engage all employees, specifically improving gender diversity in a male-dominated sector.

What the organisation did

  • Hosted a “Reaching the Top” conference, designed to celebrate and inspire women, bringing together 200 men and women from across the company.
  • Set up GE Women’s Network, appointing HR sponsors to monitor diversity statistics, identify challenges and find strategies to address them.
  • Introduced a fast-track talent pipeline, which aims to increase female representation across the business, including identifying “Best Bets” (highly talented female leaders).
  • Set up employee-founded groups such as Working Parents/Women in Financial Services.
  • Selected a new recruitment agency based on its commitment to diversity.

Benefits and achievements

  • In the past year, 58% of promotions went to women.
  • One-third of the global board are now women.
  • Turnover among female staff is now three times lower than the sector average.
  • Almost three-quarters of women feel the Women’s Network has increased their sense of empowerment.
  • Women’s Network has run more than 1,200 events for more than 20,000 employees.
  • Number of women in executive bands identified as “Best Bets” increased from 52% and 63% in senior professional bands.
  • Forty percent of senior leadership team successors are female, and 24% of these were “Best Bets”.
  • Almost three-quarters of roles advertised externally in 2013 had a female shortlisted and 46% went to women.

Judges’ comments

“Good understanding of the business case for diversity, a focused and driven plan with excellent results focused on business performance.”


RUNNERS-UP

Metropolitan Police

About the organisation

The Metropolitan Police Service (The Met) employs around 31,000 officers, together with about 13,000 police staff and 2,600 police community support officers (PCSOs). It covers an area of 620 square miles and a population of 7.2 million people.

Diversity and Inclusion – the judges

Denise Keating, chief executive, enei

Diane Brown, policy and diversity manager, British Library

Sandra Kerr, campaign director, Opportunity Now

The challenge

The Met had been tasked to recruit 5,000 police constables by 2015, of which 40% should be black minority ethnic (BME) and 50% female, to better reflect the communities they serve. It needed to attract a huge volume of high-quality applications while still retaining the highest diversity mix.

What the organisation did

  • Used research to inform media strategy: needed to use mainstream media but still ensure message was targeted.
  • Fed data into geo-indexing tool to identify London postcodes with the correct demographic, running targeted advertising in these areas.
  • Negotiated discount on campaign, saving 61.8% on total campaign cost.
  • Used tracking technology to optimise digital activity and search responses by gender, BME or non-BME.
  • Introduced support for assessment sessions, including pre-application webinars and workshops for BME candidates.

Benefits and achievements

  • Campaign generated 10,405 registrations.
  • A quarter of applicants were from an ethnic minority background and the same number were female.
  • Around 5,000 applications were then completed, 23% of which were from BME candidates and 27% female.
  • Approximately 8,000 candidates passed the eligibility criteria and engaged in the recruitment process.
  • Around half of the BME candidates took up the application support on offer.
  • Those who participated in workshops had pass rate of 63%, compared with 46% for those who did not.
  • Total deployment number is currently at around 2,000; 22% of these individuals are BME.

Judges’ comments

“Clear targets set. Huge financial investment in a campaign with good results.”


Barclays

About the organisation

Barclays UK Retail and Business Bank helps millions of customers with their finances and employs more than 24,000 people. The division hires more than 4,000 people per year, and receives in excess of 85,000 applications for a range of roles, across contact centres, retail branches and head office.

The challenge

Barclays wanted more women to feel that it would be an employer of choice to help them achieve their ambitions. Although the bank did not want to introduce quotas, it aimed to have 80 (or 31%) senior female leaders by 2018. This required changing perceptions, the application process and offering more flexibility.

What the organisation did

  • Created a virtual team of partners for greater flexibility.
  • Conducted internal research to find out how female audiences view Barclays as an employer and the messages it should bring to market.
  • Came up with consistent message to use across media campaign including Facebook, LinkedIn, Women in Leadership channel on guardian.co.uk, mumsnet.com, and Stylist magazine.
  • Created new e-learning on interviews for directors and managing directors, to support them with diversity in the interview process.
  • Launched and promoted new job-share scheme, ensured all jobs advertised were open to it.
  • Created LinkedIn group called Arena, a network for professional women, enlisting support from 25 senior leaders as ambassadors.
  • Conducted diversity audit on hiring practices with Clear Company.

Benefits and achievements

  • Female applications increased to 46%.
  • Interview shortlist ratio is 44% female, up 4% on previous years.
  • Arena network growing by 250 people each month.
  • Diversity hub on careers site has attracted more than 1,000 hits.
  • More than half (52%) of visitors to careers site have been female since campaign started.
  • Applications for job shares stand at 383, with 93% of roles advertised as potential job shares.

Judges’ comments

“Issue clearly set out, effective engagement of stakeholders and use of social media.”


The Civil Service

About the organisation

The Civil Service helps the Government develop and implement policies as effectively as possible, including services from paying benefits and pensions to running employment services. There are currently around 447,000 civil servants.

The challenge

Although the percentage of civil servants from ethnic minority backgrounds has more than doubled since 1999, there were still parts of the Civil Service where this was less than 5%, while other minorities were also still under-represented. The Civil Service diversity and inclusion team wanted to improve on all aspects of diversity.

What the organisation did

  • Developed internship programmes with schools in deprived areas to raise aspirations at an early age.
  • Offered day-long programme to year nine students to encourage thinking about career aspirations.
  • Provided fully-funded placements for two weeks at college level.
  • Introduced Positive Action Pathway (one-year programme) across the Civil Service to enable disabled, minority ethnic and female employees to build their skills and confidence.
  • Worked closely with key stakeholders at senior level including the head of the Civil Service, Sir Bob Kerslake.
  • New performance framework and information pack for diversity champions.
  • Took part in Annual Civil Service Diversity and Inclusion Awards – demonstrates commitment to inclusion across the Government.

Benefits and achievements

  • Of participants on the Positive Action Pathway, 15% have secured promotion to the next grade.
  • Latest Positive Action Pathway received 509 applications and produced 168 successful candidates.
  • More than 200 young people have completed the two-week internship programme.
  • Diversity and inclusion team recognised by independent judges at Diversity and Inclusion Awards.
  • Almost one-third (31.4%) of top management posts held by women; females account for more than half (53%) of staff.

Judges’ comments

“Great senior leadership at the highest levels. Clear numerical outputs and testimonials demonstrating impact.”


The Civil Service Fast Stream

About the organisation

The Civil Service Fast Stream is a talent management programme for graduates who have the potential to become the future leaders of the Civil Service.

The challenge

Recognising the need to reflect the communities it serves, the Civil Service introduced the Summer Diversity Internship Programme (SDIP) as a stepping-stone to its Fast Stream programme. This paid-for programme is targeted at final-year undergraduates from diverse backgrounds and also BME groups.

What the organisation did

  • SDIP became an integral part of the wider Whitehall Internship Programme, which comprises three complementary internship schemes for under-represented groups.
  • Planning to introduce new spring internship for first-year undergraduates (Early Diversity Internship Programme) in 2015.
  • Apprenticeship programme will provide up to 500 opportunities for those from diverse social backgrounds.
  • Interns are provided with a buddy/mentor for guidance and given access to development events such as crisis management scenarios.
  • Made a coaching programme available to maximise selection skills and improve confidence of interns, leading to higher success rates when applying to Fast Stream.

Benefits and achievements

  • Ninety-five percent of intern group would recommend the programme to other students.
  • Nine out of 10 consider the Fast Stream as a result of the internship.
  • In the last four years, more than 100 interns have been appointed onto the Fast Stream.
  • Around 35% to 40% of those being coached were successful at Fast Stream.
  • Around 50% of successful interns (who gain access to Fast Stream) are from lower socio-economic levels.
  • Recognition for the programme at the highest level of Civil Service. Sir Jeremy Heywood, Cabinet Secretary: “The Civil Service is committed to increasing diversity… The SDIP has a major part to play in achieving this objective.”

Judges’ comments

“Innovative approach to tackling excluded groups.”


E.ON

About the organisation

E.ON is one of the UK’s largest power and gas companies – generating electricity, and retailing power and gas. It is part of the E.ON group and it employs around 12,000 people in the UK and more than 79,000 worldwide.

The challenge

A diversity survey in 2009 unearthed a number of issues suggesting unfair career progression. Following a diversity audit with Clear Company, E.ON identified key challenges around improving opportunities and accessibility for its disabled employees.

What the organisation did

  • Upskilled recruitment team with specialist training to better support disabled applicants, as well as unconscious bias training.
  • Partnered with disability and diversity organisations such as Action 4 Employment, Evenbreak, DiversityJobs.
  • Provided dyslexia training to resourcing team with support from Dyslexia Association.
  • Appointed dedicated diversity champions with expertise in reasonable adjustments, relevant law and the company’s HR policies.
  • All jobs advertised with Jobcentre Plus and diversity websites, including criteria less likely to make disabled candidates deselect.
  • Careers website optimised, for example by removing Flash, and providing subtitles or transcripts for video.
  • Introduced fairer assessment methods to remove potential barriers for candidates with a disability.
  • Created Disabled Employee Network with bespoke web portal to support it, including line manager advice and case studies.

Benefits and achievements

  • Unconscious bias training deemed “thought-provoking” and relevant by attendees.
  • Forty out of 60 third-party suppliers have attended disability awareness presentation.
  • In last four months of 2013 there were 32, 28, 30 and 19 applications from disabled applicants respectively, a sizeable increase on the year before.
  • New starter survey and diversity survey have highlighted areas where E.ON could improve.
  • One employee who received support for dyslexia commented: “From that point, my life changed. I went from a struggling agent to the top collector in my area.”

Judges’ comments

“Audit led to solutions with measurable results.  A focused programme.”


Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service

About the organisation

Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service is the largest non-metropolitan fire and rescue service in the UK, with 85 fire stations across the two counties and 2,300 employees. The majority of staff are on-call firefighters who have other employment in their local communities.

The challenge

There is an overwhelmingly male workforce (only 4% of firefighters are female) in Devon and Somerset, which over time had led to the emergence of a “macho culture”. This also made it difficult for gay employees to be open about their sexual orientation in the workplace.

What the organisation did

  • In 2011, entered Stonewall’s Workplace Equality Index and decided to form an lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) employee network.
  • Fire Pride launched in 2012 by the assistant chief fire officer.
  • Information available on intranet including guidance for managers on supporting gay team members and the importance of “straight allies”.
  • Steering group for the network meets regularly.
  • Network has agreed terms of reference, an action plan and an agenda; regular Fire Pride newsletter goes out to all employees.
  • Network members trained in appraising draft policies and identifying potential equality risks.

Benefits and achievements

  • Two years on, Fire Pride now fully embedded in organisation and making an impact.
  • Support has been invaluable, for example in producing draft Fire Cadet Policy, which now recognises some youngsters will be questioning their sexuality.
  • Members have offered support in bullying and harassment cases and will assist in reviewing policies on these issues.
  • Fire Pride members contribute to discussions and action planning in overall diversity strategy.
  • Made contact with other LGBT networks both nationally and locally.
  • Moved up Stonewall Index rankings to 54.

Judges’ comments

“A difficult issue in a macho culture. They secured commitment, put in place an effective framework and achieved culture change.”


PageGroup

About the organisation

PageGroup is a leader in specialist recruitment and is comprised of the combined operations of Michael Page, Page Personnel and Page Executive. It operates across almost 40 countries and has 155 global offices.

The challenge

PageGroup wanted to remove barriers to career progression in the workplace so set up Women@Page in 2012 to support the company’s female talent pipeline, create a more inclusive working environment and improve gender balance at all levels.

What the organisation did

  • Set up steering group spanning 35 countries, with sponsorship from CEO Steve Ingham and Ruby McGregor-Smith, chair of the Women’s Council.
  • Introduced a global mentoring programme in 10 countries.
  • Offered support for pregnant mothers at all stages on maternity journey, including pre- and post-maternity coaching, and Maternity@Page web hub.
  • Provided line managers with detailed operational checklist to support mothers-to-be on their team.
  • Dedicated internal website to profiling careers of successful women in PageGroup and celebrate visible role models.
  • Exit interviews include questions on perceived barriers to progression for women.
  • Undertook benchmarking exercise with Business in the Community.
  • New flexible working policies in the pipeline, including smartphones for all employees.

Benefits and achievements

  • By end of 2013, number of female managers in the UK increased by 4% to 31%.
  • UK maternity return rates increased by 16% to 85%.
  • Silver award from Opportunity Now for gender diversity work.
  • More than 90 working mothers supported through flexible working patterns.
  • Ninety-six percent of those attending mentoring programme agree it has been a positive experience.
  • UK staff turnover decreased by 6.4% in 2012/13.

Judges’ comments

“Clear identification of the problem, top-level commitment, wide range of initiatives with global reach.”

One Response to Personnel Today Awards 2014 winners: GE Capital receive diversity award

  1. PowerTweets 26 Nov 2014 at 5:27 pm #

    Would be great to have an Employee Network category. Staff Networks do some wonderful work to help improve workplace culture. I hope PT will consider for 2015?