Mel Willatt, Head of People and Organisational Development, highlights the efforts we are making to build a more inclusive workplace.
This week (24th – 30th September) is National Inclusion Week – an annual event designed to raise awareness of inclusion in the workplace. We’re proud to support this goal, as we’re striving on our own mission to make British Gypsum a more diverse and welcoming place to work, for people from all backgrounds.
We recognise that the manufacturing and engineering industries have some stereotypes attached to them and we’re working hard to change these perceptions within our own organisation. We’ve made some great progress already, but we know there’s still a lot more that we need to do.
That’s why we’ve made a commitment to amplify diversity and inclusion, ensuring that it is embedded in our working practices, and we’ve created a three-year road map to help us reach our goal. We want to demonstrate how British Gypsum is an open and engaging organisation, where difference is valued, people are able to be their best and collaboration is fostered to benefit ourselves, our customers and our communities.
We know that for lasting change to happen, it needs to be driven by effective leadership, so all executive teams have undergone an Inclusive Leadership training programme, to ensure that we are leading from the top.
Driving change also means attracting the best people for the job – regardless of background or gender. Our HR teams have had additional diversity and inclusion training that helps them to recognise and eliminate unconscious bias.
We’ve also been working with the wider Saint-Gobain group to develop a diversity toolkit that will be made available to all our colleagues that are involved in the recruitment process. Further to this, we have established our Careers Without Boundaries Women’s Network, which is designed to connect women throughout the business and create new opportunities for learning, knowledge-sharing, innovation and people development. Launched earlier this year, the network has already made some great contributions, including a mapping exercise that looked at the induction process for new-starters and how that can experience can be improved.
Working with the next generation of employee talent is also hugely important to us and we’ve made some strong links within our local communities. In particular, our STEM Ambassadors have been inspiring young people – and girls in particular – to consider careers in the science and technology industries. For example, we recently hosted a group of women engineering students as part of International Women in Engineering Day, to give them a taste of what it’s really like to work in a manufacturing setting.
All of these activities are steps on our journey to becoming a more diverse organisation. We know there’s still quite a way to go, but we have already made good progress and we’re happy to be heading in the right direction.