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Champions of Equality and Inclusion Celebrated at enei Awards

Category: Industry News, equality, championship

Champions of Equality & Inclusion Celebrated at enei Awards

Marks & Spencer and The Civil Service were applauded for their equality and inclusion policies at yesterday’s Employers Network for Equality and Inclusion (enei) Awards (Tuesday 1 July 2014) which took place at The Law Society, London.

Awarded the top honours of ‘Overall Winner 2014 – Private Sector and Public Sector’ respectively, the two organisations celebrated their achievements alongside Aimia which was named ‘Small Employer of the Year 2014’ for their UK operation. All three won more than one award this year and stood alongside numerous other organisations that have taken a lead in challenging discrimination in the workplace and are working inclusively to tap into their talented workforce. This year five organisations achieved the ‘Gold Standard’ for equality.

Accolades were granted in 21 categories, with winners having to demonstrate a clear response to a specific challenge, definitive and measurable outcomes and evidence of significant impact. The awards acknowledged and celebrated those with a commitment to good practice above and beyond legal compliance and innovative approaches that will inspire other employers. A further 15 organisations were Highly Commended for the work they are doing.
Among the speakers addressing more than 250 delegates at the event was enei patron Rt. Hon David Blunkett MP, who questioned why many employers still saw diversity as a nice to do, rather than as a moral issue. He followed this by telling the gathered delegates that if you have a barrier to overcome ‘we can do it if we help each other’.

Categories and Winners:

  • Overall Winner 2014 - Private Sector: Marks & Spencer
  • Overall Winner 2014 - Public Sector: The Civil Service
  • Small Employer of the Year: Aimia
  • Gold Standard Award for Equality - Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Partnership NHS Trust, Dudley & Walsall Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust, South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust, Santander UK plc and Crown Prosecution Service
  • Representative Workforce Award: Post Office
  • Employee Engagement Award: Joint winners – The Civil Service and Affinity Sutton Housing Association
  • Excellence in Training Award: MPH Accessible Media
  • Tapping into Talent Award:
  • Inclusive Procurement Award: IBM
  • Team of the Year: University College London Hospitals
  • Employee Network Group of the Year: Home Office – THE NETWORK
  • Equality & Inclusion Champion of the Year: David Casey – Crown Office & Procurator Fiscal Service
  • Wellbeing at Work: Joint Winners – Marks & Spencer and Aimia
  • Flexible / Agile Working – IBM
  • Working Families Award – Barclays
  • Inclusive Culture Award – Aimia
  • Inclusive Recruitment Award – E.ON
  • Personal Fair and Diverse Award – Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust
  • Global Diversity Award – Page Group
  • Inclusive Communications Award – The University of Manchester
  • Community Impact Award: Circle Housing

Denise Keating, chief executive, enei commented: “The enei Annual Awards recognise the commitment of organisations to achieving diverse and inclusive workplaces, celebrating the teams and individuals who really are making a difference. We have been encouraged by the steps these organisations have taken to promote equality and diversity and hope this will encourage other companies to follow their lead. Over 80 organisations entered the awards this year and we are delighted that many of them are prepared to publicly demonstrate best practice and have been recognised for the innovative work they are doing.”

The judging panel:

  • Ben Black, Director, My Family Care
  • Catherine Grinyer, Director, Big Voice Communications
  • Farrah Qureshi, CEO, Global Diversity Practice
  • Mario Ambrosi, Head of Communications & Public Affairs, Anchor
  • Sue Johnstone, Editor, Publisher, Equal Opportunities Review
  • Rimmi Shah, Account Director & Partner, Lansons
  • Jeya Thiruchelvam, Senior Employment Law Editor, XpertHR

Overall Winner 2014 - Private Sector:
Marks & Spencer Sponsored by National Equality Standard (NES) Marks & Spencer is working to create an environment where investing in its people is critical to successful employee engagement.

A few examples are:

Wellbeing at Work - for Marks & Spencer’s wellbeing focus which recognises wellbeing as critical to successful employee engagement. This focus has resulted in benefits to the business, individual and local communities.
Community Impact – for Marks & Spencer’s Make Your Mark programme focusing on NEETs, which gives young people the skills and confidence to participate in the job market. 75% of programme participants went on to find employment.

Overall Winner 2014 - Public Sector:

The Civil Service Supported by NHS Employers The Civil Service, motivated by top level commitment, set about changing the internal culture. Initiatives included a range of cross sector programmes aimed at engaging employees, managers and leaders.

An Internship Programme for young people
Positive action for talented women, minority ethnic and disabled employees in administrative roles
Enabling board level Diversity Champions to act as role models for diversity and inclusion by equipping them with information and a performance framework

Small Employer of the Year: Aimia

Aimia has been recognised for its work in creating an inclusive culture throughout the UK business and adopting a holistic approach to culture change. It did this through two initiatives:

The CEO made inclusiveness the theme of the organisation’s leadership and reinforced this through an internal employee recognition programme
The organisation tackled unconscious bias by researching where the focus for change needed to be, focusing the research on personal individual strengths, communication and internal networks

Representative Workforce Award: Post Office Ltd Sponsored by Equal Approach

The Post Office viewed diversity as a commercial opportunity. Led from the top, they worked to address their declining female population, setting and exceeding ambitious targets. This success is attributed to the training of, and support from, line managers and also through regular communication.

Employee Engagement Award:

Joint Winner - The Civil Service & Affinity Sutton Housing Association Sponsored by Lansons

The Civil Service changed the organisational culture with top level commitment. Initiatives included educating and engaging employees through learning, focused on disability, race and unconscious bias awareness.

Affinity Sutton believes diversity and inclusion has strengthened business performance through excellent customer service driven by strong employee engagement. With top level leadership, they implemented an integrated framework of communications, consultation, training, mentoring, measurement and external activities. The apprenticeship programme results are brilliant and employee satisfaction now mirrors the high level of customer satisfaction

Excellence in Training Award: MPH Accessible Media Limited Sponsored by Steps Supported by top level commitment, MPH Accessible Media are dedicated to offering employment to disabled and young people through targeted apprenticeship schemes. The majority of apprentices have taken up permanent positions in administration, sales and IT roles. All employees are trained and show a renewed confidence with belief in their ability, which improves customer service skills and lowers stress levels.

Tapping into Talent Award: EY Sponsored by TXM Recruit Ltd EY have refocused their development efforts on high performing female and ethnic minority managers. Clear objectives in the development programme, supported by one to one relationships with senior leaders and targeted training have resulted in outstanding results including improved individual performance and higher promotion & retention levels.

Inclusive Procurement Award: IBM Sponsored by MSDUK IBM requires the inclusion of a diverse owned supplier in every competitive tender. They have also requested that their global strategic suppliers have an inclusive diversity programme in place for small and medium sized businesses. Initiatives include diversity events and mentoring of small and medium diverse owned businesses that are given access to free tools and resources. Supplier diversity is part of their cultural heritage and overall commitment to diversity. It creates jobs, builds wealth, is recognised as a competitive differentiator with many of its customers and is vital to its marketplace expansion into rapidly growing diverse communities.

Team of the Year: University College London Hospitals Sponsored by Personnel Today University College London Hospitals have joined two teams together to provide an independent level of support which is trusted by and seen as a real benefit for staff. The approach places the individual at the heart of the practice and includes early intervention referrals, support for individuals with disabilities in the workplace, an absence re-orientation process and monitoring. The results have seen cohesion in the management of absences, effective use of resources and reduced absence which has only been possible because of the teamwork between these two teams.

Employee Network Group of the Year: Home Office – THE NETWORK Sponsored by Diversity Jobs

The Network focuses on Race Equality for both staff and the public. Focused on 4 key aims, they are supported by the Race Champion at the highest level. Capability Workshops, an active mentoring scheme, Senior Manager Forum and influencing unconscious bias training in recruitment and removing barriers in assessment centres demonstrate the value this Network brings to the organisation, its employees and the wider public.

Equality & Inclusion Champion of the Year: David Casey – Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service Supported by Birmingham City Council David Casey set up a dedicated virtual staff network facilitated by a staff forum, e-mail box and intranet site. David established a newsletter, now a staff magazine with the aim to include all of the Protected Characteristics. With top level support and a role on the Diversity Strategic Board, he now has approval to enforce mandatory annual refresher training.

  • Shows visible leadership both internally and externally
  • Has designed a briefing pack to promote understanding
  • Set up a reverse mentoring programme for senior managers which included the chief executive.
  • Drove a national campaign to attract new staff
  • Set up support sessions for fellow ambassadors. David’s future ambition is to set up a wider staff network for the sector. In summary, David’s personal courage in stepping forward as a junior manager cannot be under-estimated. This person is described as innovative, charismatic and a highly respected Equality Champion.

Wellbeing at Work:
Joint Winner: Marks & Spencer & Aimia Sponsored by The Positive Ageing Company

Marks & Spencer recognises wellbeing as critical to successful employee engagement. They developed a one stop shop and provided different offerings dependent on global business needs. Innovative actions included a website, physiotherapy, EAP, Counselling, Annual Challenges and a Health & Wellbeing Network.

Aimia aimed to create an inclusive culture for UK and global employees. Focused training aimed to help people switch off from work resulting in lower perceived stress and improved positive mood. Teams are trained to provide social support. With a wide range of physical well-being initiatives put in place they have delivered improved employee and business performance.

Flexible/Agile Working – IBM Sponsored by The One Voice for Accessible ICT Coalition IBM sees flexible working as a business imperative needed to respond to the changing needs of customers and employees. They have found that clients are respectful, employees are not restricted by physical location, communication is more efficient, business information is readily accessible, reasonable adjustments are provided and offices have been re-shaped to provide more shared space, formal and informal meeting rooms with dedicated desks for office based staff. With top leadership and line manager support, 80% of employees say they feel in control of where, how and when they work. This makes diversity and inclusion an integral part of their cultural DNA with flexible working being core to this.
Working Families Award – Barclays Sponsored by My Family Care Barclays aims to ensure employees achieve their ambitions whilst balancing work and family life with confidence rather than compromise.

They support thousands of new parents each year, actively focusing on increasing the representation of women in senior positions and demonstrating that having children does not put a ceiling on careers. The coaching for new and expectant parents, support networks and employee benefits are all designed to make life easier.
Inclusive Culture Award – Aimia Sponsored by Buzzacott

Aimia has adopted a holistic approach to bring about tangible culture change through:

  • Top level leadership
  • An internal employee recognition programme
  • Awareness of unconscious bias and its mitigation
  • Research that led to changes in their assessment processes; greater flexibility and a new sponsorship programme
  • Personal profiles focusing on individual strengths
  • CSR activities and employee volunteering
  • Events with external high profile speakers
  • Promotion of internal support mechanisms

Employees are now more confident setting up or joining networks or asking for flexible working and managers are better equipped to lead in an inclusive way. The UK work has caught the attention of their global Board and there is now a groundswell of positive influence and change.

Inclusive Recruitment Award – E.ON Sponsored by The Clear Company E.ON found that some people weren’t confident that their career progression was transparent or fair. The Diversity Leadership Group carried out a full diversity audit which highlighted issues around recruitment practices towards disabled people.

They then:

  • Redesigned the Careers Website to make it accessible
  • Up skilled the resourcing team
  • Appointed internal Diversity Champions
  • Held workshops for third party suppliers
  • Redesigned role profiles and job adverts and provided support during the application process and put in place fairer assessment processes
  • Developed external networks This is the second consecutive year that E.ON has won this award.

Personal Fair and Diverse Award – Southern Health Foundation Trust Supported by NHS Employers Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust designed an EDI Strategy focused on organisational objectives, legal and regulatory requirements which secured Board level ownership and accountability.

Innovative actions include:

A senior operational group responsible for the implementation of the Equality Standard
The first national Equality Standard toolkit
A Workforce Diversity Scorecard
Diversity Training and Education focused on Respect and Values which drives outcomes for staff and patients is delivered at induction, Leaders training, equality and diversity workshops and through e-learning

Global Diversity Award – Page Group Sponsored by Global Diversity Practice Page Group launched a programme to create an inclusive workplace and improve gender balance at all levels. Sponsored by the Chief Executive and non-executive director and supported by the Executive Board, the steering group spans 35 countries. Their objectives are to share best practice, develop, promote and execute global gender diversity initiatives and be accountable for measuring and monitoring progress.
Achievements include:

A Global Mentoring Programme
Pre & post Maternity Coaching & Management Guidelines
A Career Website profiling successful women and providing advice to help women achieve their aspirations
A Global Employee Engagement & Diversity Survey

Inclusive Communications Award – The University of Manchester Sponsored by B&Q The University of Manchester aims to be one of the top 25 in its sector by 2020. Aside from the usual ways of communicating, in 2010 the Team devised an on-line Diversity Calendar which is also accessible in print. Each month represents a different Protected Characteristic, many in line with national celebration events. It also includes detailed information on the six major religious groups and beliefs and highlights other significant national Equality & Diversity events. The Calendar is posted out to hundreds of people and sent on-line to all staff and customers. It is endorsed from the top of the organisation and is now a popular and well used resource which is expected each year.

Community Impact Award: Circle Housing Sponsored by A4E Circle Housing knows that being employed improves individual and family health, increases confidence, generates a sense of belonging and promotes financial independence. The organisation is well placed to help people looking for work and have delivered programmes to help them into training and employment. Their Apprenticeship Scheme supports SMEs who take on apprentices and their contractors commit to employing apprentices. 280 apprenticeships have been secured over the next 10 years.

For more information, please contact: Denise Keating, Employers Network for Equality and Inclusion [email protected] / 07850 002 524
Ben Budd, Employers Network for Equality and Inclusion [email protected] / 020 7922 7958

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VERCIDA works with over one hundred clients who are committed to creating an inclusive work environment. If you are an employer and interested in working with VERCIDA to promote your diversity and inclusion initiatives and attract the best candidates, please email [email protected] for more information.

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