Honing a Diverse and Inclusive Workforce

Honing a Diverse and Inclusive Workforce

Honing a Diverse and Inclusive Workforce

Developing a diverse workforce is essential in our interconnected, multi-cultural digital world. Different opinions and points of view not only help inform decision making but ensure every aspect of any strategic planning is considered before businesses action their projects. 

This blog goes in-depth into what we’re doing as a business, and the thought processes of those initiatives, as well as some great advice our team has for any business looking to establish a more diverse working culture!

 

Why does ‘Diversity and Inclusivity’ matter?

Whether we’re collaborating with colleagues, letting customers know about our future-proof solutions and services, or working with our Partners to support their growth, we don’t want anyone to feel left out, ignored or isolated.

Hence, Diversity and Inclusion has always been important to us, and we are proud that our people come from diverse backgrounds and cultures. It’s what makes TalkTalk a vibrant working environment that encourages new ideas and fresh thinking.

Diversity can mean different things to different people. No matter the group or relationship, we want everyone to feel welcome at TalkTalk. That’s why we recently updated our values; “We care. We challenge. We commit” …

 

Putting D&I at the heart of our culture

To ensure we embody these updated values, we run a bi-monthly employee engagement survey which ensures that we can provide a completely anonymous feedback tool that helps drive positive change for our employees.

In these surveys, we ask specific questions around equality, employee relationships, wellbeing, and if colleagues would recommend working at TalkTalk. These are a great way to evaluate the success of our initiatives like ‘ListenListen’, which gives all staff a regular opportunity to speak candidly with Leaders, voice concerns and feedback, and better understand our culture.

Two key focuses have been supporting our female staff and ensuring we eliminate as much unconscious bias in our recruitment process as possible:

 

Supporting women

Addressing the discrepancies between our male and female colleagues has been a focus for many years, and we are incredibly grateful for the insight we’ve gained from our ‘Women in Tech’ forum that gives all our female staff an opportunity to voice their concerns and consider new avenues to development.

Recognising the need to support colleagues going through menopause, in November, our CEO Tristia Harrison announced that TalkTalk would reimburse prescription charges for hormone replacement therapy. Our pregnancy loss policy also offers up to two weeks paid leave for those who wish to use it – and this is open to anyone who loses a pregnancy, whether a mother or their partner.


Recognising recruitment bias

We are taking a proactive approach to addressing underrepresentation at senior, executive and board level by having aspirational targets relating to ethnicity.

That’s why we’ve signed up to the If Not Now, When? Campaign, which commits us to taking key long term, sustainable actions on black and ethnic minority inclusion, such as reviewing data on diverse talent progression, holding sessions and events to understand the experiences of our colleagues and ignite conversations about race and inclusion, ensuring we have a diverse candidate selection for all advertised job roles, introducing masked CVs within our recruitment process to reduce bias and more.

 

 TalkTalk is ranked 19th in the Top 50 Inclusive Employers in the UK, up from 27th in 2020! We’ve also been shortlisted for the top ten places to work at a national LGBT+ award event for our LGBT+ inclusion and our TalkPride network two years in a row.

 

While we know that there’s plenty more we can do, we’re well on our way in honing our policies and procedures to ensure we give all our staff every opportunity available to them, and make TalkTalk one of the most enjoyable places to work in the UK.

But where can our customers, other SMEs and even larger enterprises start to make similar steps forward in welcoming everyone equally?

 

Advice from the TalkTalk team

Ruth Kennedy, Chief Sales Officer, TalkTalk Wholesale Services, who is part of our neurodiversity family and heavily involved in the company’s D&I strategy, shares some advice:

 

Data is key!

Firstly, qualitative data is key. That’s why we run six anonymous surveys a year that ask our employees how they feel about working at TalkTalk. Having real-time insights into what your employees are thinking and feeling when it comes to D&I in the workplace helps properly define and assess major challenges and opportunities.

Being transparent as a company (across monitoring and survey end-results) proves the business’s integrity and that we’re genuinely pushing to create a more inclusive work environment.

Also, publishing the results internally allows more people to understand the challenges and targets, while also prompting more conversations among teams.

Listen to your employees

Practice active listening with your team and ask for opinions! Don’t wait for people to tell you what needs looking at.

It’s also crucial that D&I is part of your values and brand, not just a one-off training session. I’d recommend creating a long-term plan to develop diversity at all levels of your organisation and weave it into everything you do. Soon it will become BAU.

Encourage D&I groups

Especially in a business as large as ours, it can be intimidating for new staff, and with remote working as well, it can be really hard to form friendships early on. So, having groups for people of similar backgrounds or situations to meet and be social – TalkPride for example – is great and helps break down those barriers.

And make sure that’s part of the onboarding process for all new starters – it is part of ours which ensure our staff can form bonds and feel welcomed to the team early on.  

Oh, and treat everyone the same… Obviously!

 

Ruth recently took part in a Diversity and Inclusion roundtable, held by Comms Dealer, to read more please see here