Inclusion - Why it matters to Amey?In recognition of National Inclusion Week Ian Deninson, Group HR and Communications Director, explains what Amey is currently doing to support inclusion.
At the end of last year, an article by Forbes Magazine predicted that 2016 would be the ‘the year of diversity’. All businesses, it claimed, would be focusing on diversity and inclusion as a top priority.
It’s fair to say that diversity has always been an integral part of Amey’s culture. We’ve always wanted people to work for us who come from a wide range of backgrounds. Our business is big and varied, operating in many sectors, where a range of skills and experience are required. Embracing diversity has always given us the best chance to secure the talent we need.
But this year inclusion has become all the more important, as we look at more ways to ensure that our workforce truly reflects the diverse communities that we serve. If a business doesn’t reflect the customers it ultimately serves, after all, then it risks losing sight of their needs.
We believe that by bringing together different people with different perspectives, work experiences, backgrounds and abilities, we are able to become more connected, innovative and more effective. Ultimately, we can provide greater value to our customers through greater inclusion and diversity in our workforce.
A two-year study completed at the end of 2015 by Deloitte compared the talent practices and business performance of more than 450 global companies. The results showed that those embracing diversity and inclusion statistically outperformed their peers - in all aspects of their business.
Being inclusive, however, isn’t just about Amey performing better. And it isn’t limited to our own employees either. It is also about providing services that are inclusive of everyone in society - making sure that the services we provide do not create barriers to people because of their age, gender, race, religion, sexual-orientation or disability. That’s why it is part of our corporate ethos to treat everyone who works for us, or with us, fairly, with dignity and respect. We’re very proud to have been awarded Investors in Diversity accreditation, which recognises that people across our business value and support each other. We're also committed to achieving Leaders in Diversity status in 2017.
Amey is proud to be participating in National Inclusion Week 2016 and supporting the campaign run by Inclusive Employers to raise awareness of the importance of inclusion. We are, this week, encouraging all our employees to think about the diversity that exists in the communities we serve and to ask themselves this question: ‘is there more that we could do to ensure our services work for everyone?’
What are we doing to promote inclusion at Amey?
We have introduced a company-wide programme aimed at making Amey a leading voice on inclusion in business. Ultimately, we recognise that all our employees have unique reasons for needing to feel included and valued in the workplace and this forms the core of our strategy.
Here are some examples of how we are promoting inclusion at Amey:
- We are working with and listening to our clients - We are constantly looking for ways in which we can work with our clients to support their unique inclusion agendas. We are working with Birmingham & Solihull Mental Health Trust to run events to engage communities local to their hospitals positively with mental health; we provide work placements for Staffordshire Council’s ‘Open Doors’, Glasgow and Sheffield’s similar programmes for people who are finding work difficult; or providing apprenticeship swaps across network rail.
- We have established a strategic leadership group to steer our work on inclusion - This group of business leaders, led by an executive member is driving inclusion into the very heart of our business. During National Inclusion Week, we are asking all of our top 300 leaders to stand up and be counted as we ask them to rate their own and Amey’s performance on inclusion in the Leaders in Diversity Survey.
- We consider our people’s needs - We understand it’s important to support our employees in establishing a good home/work life balance. We provide a benefits programme that offers valuable flexible support to suit individual needs including a range of benefits from pensions to gym membership to buying additional annual leave. We’re continually improving this with feedback on what our employees want.
We also provide an Employee Assistance Programme, giving employees free access to information and advice about a range of subjects such as local care providers, nurseries, or how to get a mortgage.
We have developed a competitive paternity and maternity package to help support working parents and where possible we help to support flexible working, recognising that employees have commitments in and outside of work.
Anyone at any level can also join our share incentive scheme, and day-to-day we recognise people’s contributions and efforts with rewards through our Amey STARS recognition programme.
- We help talent grow at Amey - many of our employees, particularly those on our successful graduate and apprenticeship schemes, are at the early stages of their careers and require very specific kinds of support as they find their feet in the workplace.
- We support Women in Engineering - Our newly formed consulting and rail business unit, led by Managing Director for Consulting and Rail Nicola Hindle is currently focused on increasing the number of women in engineering by supporting women’s mentoring schemes, a Women Returners Programme, piloting PPE that fits women and carrying out a feedback survey of women in the business unit.
- We recently launched our Reserves Policy – supporting people who are military reservists to work at Amey, while fulfilling their duties in the armed forces.
- We have established a LGBTA network - Our LGBTA network provides an opportunity for people of different sexual orientations, gender identities, and their allies to work together to help to make sure that this group has a voice which is heard by the wider business and the Executive team
- We have established our first supplier diversity forum - We are keen to work with businesses that support our inclusive aims and have established a first supplier diversity forum on one of our contracts.
- We have over 100 STEM ambassadors – Our network of STEM (Science Technology, Engineering and Maths) ambassadors visit schools to engage children with careers in STEM subjects, especially at Amey.
- We are training our people in inclusive behaviours. We have rolled out our Unconscious Bias training to 1300 people managers and intend to reach the rest in the next 12 months. Everyone who joins Amey is introduced to inclusion and why it is important to our business at their induction. Training on inclusion is an essential requirement for all our people as they progress through the business.
- We are launching a reverse mentoring scheme – We know that there is a great deal of knowledge and experience at the front end of our business in those roles that deliver end services and closest to the public we serve. It is important that this knowledge informs our strategy and as such, where possible, frontline operatives are being invited to mentor business leaders, such as myself.
- We are making real changes out on our contracts – We are scheduling work to repair roads near schools in non-drop-off/pick up times; we are being patient with people with issues that may make answering the door when we read their meter difficult, such as restricted mobility or language barriers; we are also making multi-lingual leaflets available to local communities about upcoming work in their areas.
We know that there is much more we can do to ensure diversity and inclusion is in the fabric of what we do every day. We are keen to hear of others’ experiences and share ideas as ultimately this needs to be a collaborative journey.