PT Awards 2013 winners: EDF Energy recognised in Award for Diversity and Inclusion

EDF Energy collecting their award
EDF Energy collecting their award in 2013

The Employers' Network for Equality and Inclusion

EDF Energy recived the the Award for Diversity and Inclusion, sponsored by the Employers Network for Equality and Inclusion, at the Personnel Today Award in central London this week.

Here we profile our winner and runners-up:


EDF Energy

About the organisation

Judges
Denise Keating
, chief executive, Employers Network for Equality and Inclusion
Sandra Kerr, director, Race for Opportunity

EDF Energy is one of the UK’s largest energy companies, supplying electricity and gas to around 5.5 million residential and business customers. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of the EDF Group, which generates around one-fifth of the UK’s electricity and employs around 15,000 people in the UK.

The challenge

In 2008, EDF identified two barriers to achieving its corporate goals: it felt it “looked and felt the same everywhere” and was “reinforcing silo thinking and behaviour”. Its workforce was predominantly white and male, despite skills shortages in the sector.

What the organisation did

  • Identified five areas of diversity and inclusion to tackle: resourcing; talent; leadership development; engagement; and measurement of progress.
  • Widened recruitment reach by using sites such as DiversityJobs and creating targeted campaigns in specialist publications.
  • Created a “Culture of Inclusion” training session, which it rolled out to senior leaders.
  • Inclusion was identified as one of four key leadership behaviours, encouraging senior managers to model this behaviour.
  • Launched mentoring schemes such as a women’s leadership programme and BAME Network Mentoring scheme.
  • Raised awareness through initiatives such as Diversity Day and an appearance at Brighton and Hove Pride.
  • Benchmarked processes such as training and recruitment against other leaders in the field.

Benefits and achievements

  • Twenty per cent of apprentices were female in 2013, compared with 14% in 2012 and 6% in 2011.
  • Twenty-six per cent of nuclear science and engineering graduates coming into the company were female, compared with 15% in 2012.
  • Some 37.6% of new hires in 2012 were described as “diverse”.
  • Fifteen per cent of attendees on its women’s leadership programme have been promoted; 80% of BAME mentors have been successful in getting onto EDF’s Emerging Talent scheme.
  • Awareness of inclusion is higher – three-quarters of the workforce say they feel that management supports diversity in the workplace.
  • Awarded Diversity Works for London (DWfL) Gold Standard in 2012 – one of only three other companies to have achieved this recognition.

Judge’s comments

“There are clear measureable outcomes, with impressive progress being made across the diversity and inclusion agenda.” – Denise Keating

Merlin Entertainments

About the organisation
Merlin Entertainments is one of the world’s largest leisure and entertainment companies, operating more than 90 attractions across 22 countries, including Sea Life Centres, Madame Tussauds and Legoland.

The challenge

Merlin wanted to ensure that its gender diversity agenda was embraced from the very top of the organisation. Its Women@Merlin strategy, launched in December 2012, aims to promote female role models in the business, but without female leaders receiving preferential treatment.

What the organisation did

  • Ensured there was visible CEO buy-in, with strategy launched by CEO Nick Varney via a webinar.
  • Group HR director Tea Colaianni took the top 100 female leaders through external/internal research behind the strategy.
  • Launched development programme in conjunction with Aspire women’s network.
  • Held face-to-face workshops, set up bi-monthly webinars and a LinkedIn group.
  • Made a film featuring four women from around the world who held different roles in the company to show their progress and promote role models.

Benefits and achievements

  • Created three new senior executive roles, all filled by women, increasing female representation from 16% to 22% at this level in a six-month period.
  • Female leaders encouraged to engage with a mentor.
  • Delivered “Step up” programmes, which encourage women to reach their full potential.
  • Reviewed family-friendly policies to ensure an “agile” workforce.
  • Issued clear recruitment guidelines in development and recruitment to ensure equal representation.

Judge’s comments

“Clearly identified the challenge; top-level commitment with line manager support. A joined-up approach underpinned by their vision and values.” – Denise Keating


Asda

About the organisation

Asda is one of the UK’s largest supermarket chains, selling food, clothing, general merchandise and financial services. It has been owned by US-based retail giant WalMart since 1999, and it employs around 200,000 staff in the UK.

The challenge

According to Stonewall research, “lesbian, gay and bisexual people (LGBT) who are able to be open about their sexual orientation at work are more productive, creative and loyal”. While it has always been committed to providing an inclusive environment, Asda felt it could do more to support its LGBT colleagues. Its objective was to create an LGBT inclusive network within a year.

What the organisation did

  • In early 2012, Asda began attracting members and forming an LGBT steering group.
  • The group launched officially in October 2012, with a ceremony including speakers from Stonewall and rugby star Ben Cohen that was attended by 100 colleagues.
  • Used online and offline communication to engage colleagues across the business, plus a network newsletter and a specially designated website.
  • Network now rubber stamps all policy wording to ensure inclusivity – for example, “partnership status” on credit card applications.
  • Formed links with Leeds City Council to help with community initiatives, plus participated in Leeds Pride.

Benefits and achievements

  • Network now has 55 members, and aims for 100 by the end of 2013.
  • Scored 90 out of 200 in Stonewall Equality Index submission – one of only 376 companies to make a submission.
  • A trans-lesbian colleague was encouraged to apply for a role thanks to the network’s existence.
  • Featured in Stonewall careers guide and roles are advertised on the Stonewall website.
  • Asda has been asked to help other countries in the WalMart family to build similar initiatives.

Judge’s comments

“Clear evidence of engagement by the network, although I would like to have seen more about how managers are engaging.” – Sandra Kerr


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

In a recent survey, 74% of disabled candidates said they would not declare their disability to get a job. Meanwhile, an internal diversity survey at E.ON had found that some staff did not feel confident that their career progression was transparent or fair. The company wanted to act on this information and establish a diversity leadership group.

What the organisation did

  • Partnered with The Clear Company to implement a best-practice framework.
  • Embedded strict criteria around diversity within procurement policy – agencies must now show evidence of key performance indicators, policies and practices.
  • Invited 60 of E.ON’s people suppliers to a series of workshops.
  • Advertised roles on DiversityJobs, Evenbreak and Where Women Work to access widest talent pool available.
  • About to launch a disabled employee network, providing a hub for managers to support existing disabled colleagues as well as to support the recruitment process.
  • Refreshed its careers site with case studies from disabled colleagues who talk candidly about their recruitment experiences.
  • Resourcing team shared experiences and now feel more confident to talk to disabled candidates.

Benefits and achievements

  • Recruitment and selection training in diversity has been rolled out through internal resourcing function and into new recruitment and selection learning and development platform.
  • Engaged a mix of recruitment suppliers to join E.ON on its diversity journey.
  • Have become sponsors of The Clear Company’s Clearkit system to encourage other employers to make a difference.
  • Shared procurement model with other employers.

Judge’s comments

“This is a good example of an organisation committed to disability inclusion.” – Sandra Kerr


Equal Approach

About the organisation

Equal Approach is a specialist recruitment organisation with a mission to embrace equal opportunities and diversity. Its team represents all of the strands of diversity. Clients are 60% public sector and 40% private sector, and include the Cabinet Office, the Department for Work and Pensions and the Department of Energy and Climate Change.

The challenge

Organisations face a number of challenges in making their workforce more diverse, and Equal Approach has become an ambassador for inclusion, championing candidates from all of the core diversity strands. On behalf of clients, the organisation needed to come up with innovative approaches to improving representation and widening talent pools.

What the organisation did

  • Established partnerships with more than 320 diversity bodies, such as the Association of Disabled Professionals.
  • Advised clients on: selection of interview venues; training and support; removal of physical assessments, if appropriate; and timing of interviews.
  • Worked with welfare-to-work organisation Remploy, including in the provision of training and assessment centres, outplacement services, and HR and recruitment.
  • Helped Healthcare at Home, a national healthcare provider, to increase diversity by carrying out an audit, training managers in diversity awareness, introducing a guaranteed interview scheme for disabled candidates and developing a return-to-work solution for disabled staff.

Benefits and achievements

  • Only recruiter recommended by the Business Disability Forum.
  • Gained Investors in People Diversity Level 2 accreditation.
  • Helped candidate recuperating from severe brain injury to find voluntary placement to help with his ultimate return to work.
  • Healthcare at Home has reached 15% diverse representation within 12 months.
  • Increased representation in two technology departments to 49% over three years.
  • Increased BME representation in a government body from 3% to 18%.

Judge’s comments

“There are some good examples of success in recruitment.” – Denise Keating


Barts NHS Health Trust

About the organisation

Barts is the largest NHS trust in the UK, serving a population of 2.5 million in East London and beyond. It consists of six local hospital sites: Mile End Hospital; The London Chest Hospital; The Royal London Hospital; Newham University Hospital; St Bartholomew’s Hospital; and Whipps Cross University Hospital.

The challenge

The popularity of nursing and allied professions is low in the Bangladeshi community. There are only 46 nursing and midwifery staff out of around 14,000 who are Bangladeshi, despite the fact that this community makes up 30% of the local population in Tower Hamlets. Barts wanted to increase awareness of nursing roles among the Bangladeshi community and improve representation.

What the organisation did

  • Commissioned Channel S, a national Asian TV channel, to address the perceived cultural and other barriers to nursing.
  • Assembled a panel for the show, which was chaired by Barts inclusion officer Khasruz Zaman, that included a local imam.
  • Imam Abdur Rahman Madani described the role of a nurse as an “Islamic duty”, giving examples of nursing practices in religious tradition.
  • Nurses from Bangladeshi backgrounds spoke about their careers and job satisfaction.
  • One of the sisters wore her uniform on the show to highlight how it does not conflict with the dress requirements of Muslim women.

Benefits and achievements

  • More than 20,000 people tuned in to the show, and more than 200 calls were made during its transmission.
  • Community Works for Health team responded to hundreds of queries in response to the show.
  • It is collaborating with Tower Hamlets College to create a new path into nursing, which combines access to training to Level 3 and work experience.
  • Created a DVD based on the live show, highlighting various career options.
  • In the past six months, a community employment working group has been established.

Judge’s comments

“I commend them highly for attempting to tackle one of the community groups within the UK with some of the lowest rates of employment.” – Sandra Kerr

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