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Diversity and inclusion are essential…but where do you start?

Roxi Corp, HR Vice President UKI & Global D&I Lead - DHL Supply Chain.

Diversity and inclusion (D&I) are the buzzwords of the moment – but knowing how to start building a diverse, inclusive workplace can be overwhelming. Some organizations may not know where to start, some may be further ahead in their journey than others, while some may not yet be seeing the benefits of their efforts. During Diversity and Inclusion Week, Roxi Corp, Global D&I Lead at DHL Supply Chain, offers some advice based on her experience.

Wherever a company is on their D&I journey, It’s always good to reflect on the strategy, and ask yourself whether your approach is right, whether you’re making an impact, and to what extent your messages are resonating with your people.

At DHL Supply Chain, we are currently celebrating Diversity and Inclusion Week and as the Global D&I lead, I’ve been taking the time to reflect on our progress.

I’ve identified four ways in particular that we are accelerating our D&I journey and making it relevant and engaging around the business.  I hope they help anyone whose journey has only just started, or who is starting to plan their own strategy.

1. Everyone counts
To reach every one of our 155,000 colleagues at DHL Supply Chain we have taken all the necessary steps to make D&I part of our workplace conversation. We have visible buy-in from our top leadership; we have taskforces at both global and regional levels to keep momentum and engage employees; and we also have external support to help shape our agenda and to share with us best practice from other industries.

For the very first time we recently surveyed over 55,000 people in our organization to find out what diversity means to them and what we can do as a business to become more inclusive. We were delighted that out of that survey, nearly 20,000 people shared their views and more than 5,500 left comments.

2. It’s bigger than gender
Traditionally, the focus for D&I has been predominantly increasing the number of women in management. While this remains a key area for us, we’ve extended our definition, and our approach, to include a number of  diversity lines which we’re starting to measure the impact of.

We have a long established global LGBTQ+ network – Rainbownet – for colleagues and an ‘I am Diversity’ platform which encourages employees to share their story and that’s uniting colleagues from all quarters of our organization. To take one recent example, our CEO of Latin America shared his story on the platform, inspiring a colleague in North America to reach out to him. That conversation is now being openly shared via video across our regions.  In the UK and Ireland, we have recently established a race network while in North America, Employee Resource Groups have mobilized to focus on hidden disabilities, building a relationship with Eden Autism, a non-profit organization working with people with autism to help them gain employment. We have five employees working in our operations as a result of this partnership with Eden and aim to reach double-digits by the end of 2021.

3. Find allies and get everyone’s buy-in
Around 85% of our 155,000 colleagues are frontline. It’s a common fallacy that D&I sits with HR – in fact, it’s everyone’s responsibility. The challenge is how you make the conversation and the necessary actions form part of everyday life without having to label it as a D&I initiative.

This is where Employee Resource Groups and D&I Allies come in. They work much more closely with our frontline colleagues to focus on diversity lines that are important to them.   We encourage and give colleagues the platform to advocate for D&I. For example, in the UK, a D&I podcast inviting colleagues to speak openly about the challenges and need for D&I in the workplace has reached 53 countries globally.  Colleagues sharing their personal stories on race, sexual orientation, disability – and  thereby demonstrating that it’s ok to talk about these topics – is far more powerful than anything else we, at an organisational level will do.

4. Communicate your intent as an inclusive employer internally and externally
Employer branding is essential not just in recruiting terms, but also in making people aware that this organization is a great place to work. One of the ways in which we do that is to openly celebrate diversity and recognize people in our organization – back to our D&I week.  We actively participate in International Women’s Day, Pride and Black History Month to name just a few events. The result of our International Women’s Day campaign was a 3- 5% increase (reported by our regions) of female applicants to our business during vs our previous month.

In APAC and UKI our graduate programs run targeted marketing and as a result we have seen significant increases in the number of women securing roles – 48% of the UKI 2021 intake was female – helping us to reach our 2025 Women in Leadership target of 30%.

Our intention is clear – we want to hear from our colleagues, create an organization that is inclusive and celebrates uniqueness.  We want to attract many more colleagues, raise awareness and continue to evolve our D&I strategy.

For those organizations at the beginning of their journey, this Diversity and Inclusion week is a great place to start, if you haven’t already.

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