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Jen Pulsford the new Inclusion Manager at LiveWest

Category: Equality, Diversity & Inclusion, LiveWest, Equal opportunities, diversity in workplace, female equality, EDI recruitment

D&I

LiveWest has appointed a new Inclusion, Wellbeing and Reward Manager as part of its drive to improve equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) amongst its colleagues.

Jen Pulsford

With external movements such as Black Lives Matter and #MeToo prompting the organisation to look at how they can do better, LiveWest who own over 38, 000 homes across the south west and employ over 1,400 people are taking proactive steps to correct imbalances and be a positive example of EDI best practice within its communities and the wider sector.

Jennifer Pulsford now heads up the Inclusion, Wellbeing and Reward department and has just launched the company’s new equality, diversity and inclusion strategy to help LiveWest become a more inclusive organisation.

Jennifer said: “The last 18 months has completely changed the way that we look at the world, our communities and how we treat each other.  EDI has always been a priority for our People team, but along with the majority of other employers in the UK, we have taken the opportunity to look inwards at LiveWest and how we are doing, to really question whether we are being inclusive and fair as we wish to be. The launch of our EDI strategy shows that we recognise what we do well, what we need to improve and sets out exactly how we are going to achieve this with clear goals.”

LiveWest have made many adjustments to the way they do things to ensure colleagues can identify as who they want to be when they are at work, including the use of pronouns on email signatures, recognising that a happy employee means they get more out of the workforce. 

Other small but impactful changes such as developing a pregnancy loss leave policy and combining the well-known sunflower lanyard with a LiveWest branded lanyard so employees feel included and part of LiveWest.  Various representative colleague led groups have been formed throughout the organisation such as Race and Ethnicity and Equality Network to help shape the organisation through their lived experiences. 

Jennifer added: “True diversity and inclusion is so much more than making statements of support to that week’s recognition day  or changing your logo to reflect that month’s campaign; it is about authentically and genuinely making impactful change to ensure that colleagues can be their true selves at work and are treated with equity. We spend more of our time at work than anywhere else, we want our colleagues to feel like they belong at LiveWest and can fulfil their potential.”

Pay gap reporting and internal reporting on disability and ethnicity pay gap reporting are another tool which helps monitor EDI areas. Jennifer thrives off data within her role, helping to identify gaps and areas for improvement. 

 She added: “I love data, as it provides the facts to start a conversation. But data alone isn’t enough to tell the whole picture, so we regularly ask for feedback from our colleagues via our engagement, culture and diversity surveys.  This gives us a focus on what to tackle and helps us understand how we can do better.”

Through focussed recruitment campaigns and as a disability confident employer LiveWest has adjusted the way it recruits and a new EDI strategy which fits in with the company’s behaviours and culture work that is currently being rolled out.  LiveWest are currently working hard to ensure their board is reflective of the diversity within their customer base with a recruitment drive to find six new board and committee members.

Jennifer said: “The main challenge of my new role as EDI manager is that it is a huge job as the focus constantly changes and as one individual I don’t have the lived experiences of all my colleagues so I have to build trust with our staff representation groups and deliver what I say I will.  The conversations that I will be having and encouraging maybe uncomfortable for some but they have to be have to ensure that we have an environment that is inclusive.”

“The pandemic meant that 60% of our 1, 400 workforce worked at home for the past 18 months, so the health and wellbeing of our colleagues was at the forefront of our senior leaders minds.”

A whole calendar of events and initiatives have provided environments to help further support wellbeing and tackle mental health issues and with dedicated and trained wellbeing champions throughout the business colleagues have felt listened to and cared for.

LiveWest provide a 24hour employee assistance programme which provides trained counsellors to support colleagues in or out of work hours on any issues they may be facing. 

During the year it has launched a suite of wellbeing toolkits and resource packs, held several webinars, podcasts and live practical sessions for both line managers and colleagues on a wide range of topics including awareness of financial, physical and emotional support. 

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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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