As a HR leader whose influence creates social change, what do you feel has been your most impactful action to date?
Being part of London 2012, heading up recruitment of the organisation and delivery team has shaped my career, and diversity and inclusion approach ever since. The power of the brand. What we did in those six years - as a vast part of our purpose – was to integrate diversity and inclusion initiatives into commercial recruitment solutions. We did this to hugely successful results. Community’s thrived, diversity was achieved whilst commercial and practical aims were achieved also. The opportunity the inclusive nature of the Olympics and Paralympics gave us was of course massive but how we used that to pull people in was key. Every brand has this potential.
At the moment, in your industry, what do you think is the most exciting opportunity for HR to change the world?
Mental Health and Wellbeing. Corporate organisations like Alexander Mann Solutions (AMS) have an opportunity to get our arms around employees globally. It’s a vulnerable time for so many, social mobility gaps are being highlighted, people are lonely and anxious. At AMS we have accelerated "Time to talk" sessions, giving people – crucially including lived experience from Director level - space to share experience, fears and frustrations, to feel empowered by the opportunity to talk and perhaps tell us what they need to help. By making mental wellbeing a regular conversation we strive to remove the stigma around it.
Which particular areas of social and environmental injustice are you most passionate about, and see that your role gives you the chance to create change?
Social Mobility is a passion project for me. I think that’s trackable through my career. I grew up in a working-class home, my parents were a cleaner and a factory worker. I was the first in the family to go to University. At AMS we know we have work to do in this area and I am excited about the strategy we are putting in place for 2021. Using the Social Mobility Foundation framework as a foundation we will introduce a number of different initiatives eg work placements, educational support, apprenticeships and targeting individuals who are identified in the social mobility category.
How have you best used your position to create a more equitable and inclusive environment in ways that deliver your business goals?
Using my role I have partnered with our organisation's leaders to a place where they understand not just the moral imperative to be diverse and inclusive, but the commercial imperative to do so also. That includes educating our leaders, having sometimes uncomfortable conversations. Creating a network of volunteers across the business to support in delivering our plans, drive the right behaviours, and to encourage colleagues to challenge the status quo if needed. Inclusivity can’t succeed as a separate department tucked away, it has to be woven in to the organisation's entire being. Our CEO is a sponsor of our inclusivity efforts which I believe is key to leading by example and being successful.
What is the one specific action you would like to see all HR Leaders take to make a positive change for the world?
To have a clear proposition to use the power of the organisation and its brand to positively impact diversity and inclusion. For the purpose to be integral to the commercial aims of the organisation. Be that mental health, gender balance, inclusivity – ideally all these things. At AMS we are global so sometimes that’s as simple as educating cultural awareness of varying best practice in the UK versus USA versus the Philippines. Sometimes that’s about uncomfortable conversations around race and sexuality and gender but it all drives positive social change and awareness. As global brand leaders we have a commercial imperative to influence inclusivity, but also a social responsibility and opportunity.