Employee networks help to strengthen Stagecoach’s DE&I framework

For transport group Stagecoach, diversity, equity and inclusivity (DE&I) is paramount to the success of the business. It has many policies in place to support this philosophy including inclusion and equal opportunities, code of conduct and anti-bullying, but it also has a comprehensive framework in place to underpin its approach. One focus of this is a planned programme of events throughout the year combined with an inclusion and belonging, and health and wellbeing calendar. The organisation celebrates major events such as International Women’s Day, Pride, Black History Month, National Inclusion Week and a variety of religious events.

The DE&I framework includes business objectives and targets, and leaders receive training so that they can support the organisation’s approach. Tracey Smyth, head of talent development, says: “As part of the framework, we have support from all levels of leadership for inclusion and we believe this is quite critical. This year we’ve launched employee networks, and we have a much more concentrated focus on both [DE&I] and health and wellbeing. Our senior leaders have really played a huge part in making that successful.”

Each employee network is chaired by a senior leader and were launched on pertinent days of the year; for example, the ex-armed forces employee network was launched on Armed Forces Day. “We’ve tried to think about events to make it feel more special,” explains Smyth. “We are really impressed with how the networks are growing and the number of people that are putting themselves forward [to participate]. They have their own communication channels through our employee app, Blink. It’s great to see the engagement from the leaders as well.”

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To further support this focus, Stagecoach has identified two new roles within the business: diversity and inclusion assistant, and health and wellbeing assistant. Key to these roles is communicating the initiatives with the 24,000 employees across the organisation to provide increased focus for diversity and engagement.

In 2019, the organisation signed a diversity and inclusion pledge to affirm its commitment to celebrate and encourage diversity across its operations. Stagecoach uses its calendar of events to communicate its DE&I strategy, for example, by holding open forums to share and discuss ideas and bring the strategy to life. It discusses topics such as how to make people aware of unconscious bias in the workplace, and how to be fair and transparent. The organisation also produces a number of newsletters and staff magazines, one from UK managing director Carla Stockton-Jones, which promote the various DE&I activities and events, and the employee networks.