Last year we witnessed the horrendous killing of George Floyd in the US & the outpouring of grief, anger and action that followed as communities worldwide reacted.
The issue of racial injustice was brought into focus with so many us navigating feelings of despair, anger and hopelessness; prompting all of us to consider what our part should be in responding.
Blue Square, like all other organisations were faced with the tough question ‘are we doing enough to influence & drive change?’ and the reality was clear – we needed to do more to build on our approach to growing & developing a diverse & inclusive culture within our business.
We made a commitment to re-evaluate our plans, and those are now starting to translate in to action, giving D&I the focus it deserves.
We started to shape our thinking around two key questions; are we recruiting the full breadth of talent in the market & are we an inclusive organisation that truly represents, supports and nurtures everyone within Blue Square?
It was important to us that we took an insights led approach to understanding what was required, to really make sure that we’re focussing our attention in the right areas based on evidence, not assumptions.
We kicked off by gathering some internal data to help us map out the way forward. We asked everyone to self-identify to make sure we had an accurate picture of the makeup of Blue Square right now while gathering feedback to understand how people really feel about diversity & inclusion within Blue Square, drilling down on factors like belonging, decision making and fairness – all key drivers for developing an inclusive culture.
This has provided us with a clear baseline to build on with the work we deliver through D&I initiatives, with a strong understanding of our pain points & barriers, allowing us to deliver activity that has maximum impact on everyone within Blue Square.
We launched Blue Square’s first D&I council back in September 2020, bringing together a group of colleagues from across the business tasked with defining, championing and delivering on our D&I strategy.
What was clear from the start is that this topic is deeply important to everyone involved, with each council member bringing their personal stories & experiences to the table to help shape our agenda. The team have been working hard over the past few months to scope out the key objectives of the council, defining the work required through three core workstreams:
Educate: equipping our people with the knowledge of how to best manage diversity, through blended educational workstreams, building awareness, changing mindsets and practicing inclusion through our values.
Grow & Create: continuing to build & nurture the diverse talent we find within Blue Square through our commitment to evolving our talent strategies, growing our employee value proposition, supporting the future diversification of our business through positive action, and developing a culture which recognises & rewards the individuality of our employees.
Inspire: shining a spotlight on the experiences of our people, creating a culture that celebrates & embracing diversity, using stories to engage & inspire our audiences, highlighting our commitment to growing a diverse & inclusive environment.
For the D&I team and for Blue Square the focus has been on pulling together a long-term strategy that drives short-term initiatives.
This isn’t about finding quick wins or presenting meaningless gestures; it’s about taking the time to really embed the work across our business, with the intention of this being a constant focus over the years to come.