A Staffordshire-based business consultancy is helping logistics employers to build a culture of diversity and inclusion to ensure their business can attract the brightest new talent.
Strategi Solutions Group Ltd., based in Newcastle-under-Lyme, has been delivering a Diversity and Inclusion awareness programme to leading employers in recent months, including 138 senior managers from the UK’S largest privately owned logistics company – EV Cargo.
Dr. Anni Hollings, Head of Learning and Development at Strategi, developed the 7 ½ hour programme in response to demand, recognising that more companies in the logistics sector are looking to embed diversity and inclusion within their business.
According to the Freight Transport Association (FTA), the logistics sector employs a total of 2.35 million people in the UK, either directly or indirectly, accounting for nearly 8% of the UK workforce.
However, data from the most recent Labour Force Survey (LFS) in 2019 shows that the sector continues to be dominated by people who describe themselves as ethnically white (89.8%). Furthermore, the industry remains largely dominated by male workers (86.8%), with the proportion of women in logistics professions at just 13.2%.
Dr. Hollings said, “The logistics sector is characterised by traditional ideas of “men’s jobs”, such as truck driving, and female and BAME representation is less than it should be. However, the sector is facing a labour shortage with an ageing workforce, so recruiting skilled new workers is one of the industry’s most pressing challenges.
“Companies need to be showing how they can meet the needs of the changing labour market – including how they attract younger workers, many of whom are looking for diversity and inclusion when researching potential employers.”
She added, “Changing their thinking can help employers to look wider than their traditional ways of recruiting to expand their talent pools and become an employer of choice. It’s an exciting challenge. However, the benefits of understanding how to create diversity and embed a culture of inclusion go far beyond attracting new talent. Employees also need to feel they are experiencing inclusion by having their talents recognised and rewarded.”
According to the 2018 Deloitte Millennial Survey, millennials see diversity as a melding of varying experiences, different backgrounds and individual perspectives, and 47% of millennials are actively looking for diversity and inclusion when sizing up potential employers.
Dr. Hollings added, “Diversity and inclusion is not a ‘tick box’ exercise. Changes in thinking leads to innovation, new opportunities and underpins the strategic capability of the company, all of which make a real difference to competitive advantage. Leaders must be open to all these things.”
She recommends leaders appoint Diversity and Inclusion Champions who transcend the organisation, cascading messages that communicate and celebrate diversity and inclusion, challenging practice and raising expectations.
She says there are also opportunities for companies to improve their corporate social responsibility by engaging with communities to share positive messages around diversity and inclusion. It also links into supply chain sustainability goals, another big issue for the logistics sector.
She adds, “Diversity and inclusion goes way beyond compliance with the law. It needs to be at the core of what businesses do. It’s about changing the whole mindset of an organisation and sharing best practice, all of which can have a really positive effect in terms of an employer’s reputation.”
Those having taken the course state that it made them more aware of diversity and inclusion and how they could embed the principles of creating inclusive workplaces throughout their businesses.
One delegate said, “The essential message of the programme was to keep diversity and inclusion in mind when making decisions and it did the job,” while another commented, “I will be more mindful of the need for a more diverse and inclusive company.”
Wendy Dean, Chief Executive at Strategi said, “We are proud to have been able to use our expertise to help our clients raise awareness of this important issue, and we look forward to helping more companies build their understanding of diversity and inclusion in the future.”