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Diversity & Inclusion

 

The Society is committed to building a diverse, inclusive and supportive working environment that encourages the development, progression and retention of our colleagues.

Our colleagues, members, customers and stakeholders will receive the same treatment regardless of age, disability, gender reassignment, marital or civil partner status, pregnancy or maternity, race, ethnic or national origin, religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation.

Diversity and Inclusion Steering Group

The Society has a Diversity and Inclusion steering group, which is made up of various colleagues from across the Society and members of the Executive. This cohort of colleagues were integral in supporting and creating the diversity strategy for the forthcoming 18 months, and whilst every area of Diversity and Inclusion has equal importance we recognize from colleague feedback that there is a real desire for us to make a difference in the areas of Gender and Race.

We have realised from past experiences that trying to do every aspect of D&I dilutes the experience for colleagues and therefore we feel concentrating on a couple of areas whilst monitoring other protected characteristics and continuing to listen to our colleagues will add real value to us all.

So, what have we been up to?

Click on the links below to find out more information...

In March 2021, we held 2 listening sessions specifically for our Ethnic Minority colleagues as it is vital that we create an environment where colleagues feel included as we know the Society will thrive if we have a diverse group of colleagues who bring different talent, skills, perspectives, and experiences into the workplace.

The sessions were for our Ethnic Minority colleagues to share thoughts, ideas, best practice, challenges, and issues they face in a safe space. It wasn’t an approach we had used before, however, it has already been integral to support the Society as we look to the future.

Unconscious bias within the Society can influence decisions in recruitment, promotion, colleague development and recognition and can lead to a less diverse workforce. Without unconscious bias, training colleagues can overlook talented workers and instead favour those who share their own characteristics or views. Equally, if Unconscious bias, is left unchecked, it can turn to discrimination. We all have unconscious biases and by providing awareness training, colleagues are given the opportunity to learn more about it. It also teaches them how to recognise them and how to combat them in daily decision-making.

The Society has put measures in place that include unconscious bias training for the central recruitment team, unconscious bias training specifically from a comms and marketing perspective for our communications team and from May 2021 all line managers will complete a mandatory ‘Let's talk about Race’ session aimed to educate and enable managers to feel comfortable in having conversations about race. In addition, a general Unconscious bias eLearning module is available for all line managers to complete, and we continue to raise awareness of the subject through our colleague communications

Race at Work Charter

The Society is now a signatory of Business In the Community’s Race at Work Charter. BITC’s Race at Work Charter provides a framework for employers to take practical steps to ensure their workplaces are tackling barriers that ethnic minority people face in in the workplace.

It asks employers to commit to five calls to actions to ensure that ethnic minority employees are represented at all levels and that their organisations reflect British society today. These are;

Executive Sponsors for Race provide visible leadership on race and ethnicity in their organisation and can drive key actions such as setting targets for ethnic minority representation, briefing recruitment agencies and supporting mentoring and sponsorship. The Society’s Executive sponsor is Pete Westall, Chief Values Officer.

Capturing ethnicity data is important for establishing a baseline and measuring progress. It is also a crucial step towards an organisation being able to report on ethnicity pay differentials.

The Race at Work Survey revealed that 25 per cent of ethnic minority employees reported that they had witnessed or experienced racial harassment or bullying from managers. Commitment from the top is needed to achieve change.

Actions can include ensuring that performance objectives for leaders and managers cover their responsibilities to support fairness for all staff.

Actions can include embedding mentoring, reverse mentoring and sponsorship in their organisations.

What does it mean:

Disability Confident is a government scheme that is designed to help the Society recruit and retain disabled people and people with health conditions for their skills and talent. Being a Disability Confident employer could help to discover someone in our business that we just can't do without.

 

The Society completed a self-assessment that was grouped into two themes:

Theme 1 – Getting the right people for your business

Theme 2 – Keeping and developing your people

 

During the assessment, we confirmed that we:

  • have undertaken and successfully completed the Disability Confident Employer self-assessment

  • are taking all of the core actions to be a Disability Confident Employer

  • are offering at least one activity to get the right people for your business and at least one activity to keep and develop your people

What’s to come…

Female Progression

As part of the ongoing work around Diversity and Inclusion and having reviewed the Society’s data particularly around women progressing into senior positions the data is indicating that women are not progressing as at the same rate as men from a level 5 position.

To gain more insight to this we have recently surveyed our level 5 female retail colleagues to establish potential barriers to progression. We will be creating a working group to review this in more detail, pilot initiatives and then look to roll put best practice across other areas of the Society.

Ethnic Minority Working Group

As a result of the feedback from the Ethnic Minority listening groups we will be establishing a working group to help empower and support colleagues. This group will be inclusive and open to everyone who might be interested in getting involved. This will then provide a support network around specific challenges while also creating allies across the Society.

LGBTQ+ Working Group

We will be establishing a working group to help empower and support colleagues. This group will be inclusive and open to everyone who might be interested in getting involved. This will then provide a support network around specific challenges while also creating allies across the Society.

Men in Childcare

We have an aspiration to increase our male workforce in childcare from 2% - 20% by 2025 – watch this space for more updates on how we plan to achieve this!

Schools Activity

We will be developing a programme to attract young people from ethnic minority backgrounds into the Society via high schools and colleges

Ethnicity Pay Gap

In the next couple of years, ethnicity pay reporting will become mandatory within the UK for businesses with over 250 employees. We are in the process of collating data to report on this so we can understand what long-term, meaningful actions we need to take to tackle race inequality in the workplace and ultimately improving how we attract, hire and promote colleagues from ethnic minority backgrounds.

D&I Training for All

Let’s Talk about Race

From May 2020 through to May 2021 every line manager across the Society will be asked to complete a ‘Let’s talk about Race’ training session. These sessions are designed to enable our Managers to be more equipped to speak about race:

  • They will understand race representation in their own demographic area

  • They will be comfortable leading conversations in the area

Useful Info & Resources

Please click here to view the Society’s Diversity and Inclusion policy.

Within our i.Learn system you can access a number of resources including a variety of e-learning courses compliance training, self-development learning zone, and book on face-to-face courses.

Click here to sign in to i.Learn

Here at Midcounties, we want to support our Colleagues wellbeing, and this includes their mental health. We know that for some of us, talking about our mental health can be an uncomfortable chat. However, with research suggesting that 1 in 4 of us will experience a mental health issue every year and that 17% of us are living with a serious mental health concern – it’s time we started talking more about how we’re feeling.

To find out more about the support we offer, please click here.

  • Employee Assistance Programme – 0843 208 4568

  • HR Advice Line – 0845 099 600

  • www.mind.org.uk

  • Tel MIND – 0300 123 3393

  • Text MIND – 86463

  • www.samaritans.org

  • Tel Samaritans – 116 123

The main purpose of the Wellbeing Passport is to support colleagues with a disability or health condition in the workplace. The passport has three main functions:

  • To support a conversation between a colleague and their line manager about the reason for needing adjustments which could be due to a disability, health condition or gender reassignment and to discuss any workplace adjustments that might need to be made.

  • To act as a record of that conversation and of the adjustments agreed.

  • To act as a record of any adjustment made for individuals as supportive measures.

To access your Wellbeing Passport, please click here.

To view our guidance on your Wellbeing Passport, please click here.

Click here to view the Society's latest Gender Pay Gap Report.

Latest Updates & Events

Click on the links below to find out more about what we've been up to...