Diversity, inclusion & belonging: signing up to the Race at Work Charter and setting out our 2021 priorities

Stephen Lerner, Executive Sponsor – diversity, inclusion & belonging and General Counsel & Regulatory Affairs Director, Three UK

We believe that being diverse and inclusive, with a strong sense of belonging is not only the right thing to do but it will make us a stronger and better business. And we’re committed to making it part of our very DNA.

We’re pleased to announce that we’ve taken an important step to support our efforts on racial equality in the workplace by signing the Race at Work Charter.

Business in the Community (BITC) launched the Race at Work Charter in 2018, in partnership with the UK government. It builds on the work of the 2017 McGregor-Smith Review, which found that people from BAME backgrounds were still under-employed, under-promoted and under-represented at senior levels.

The Race at Work Charter is a public commitment to improving the experiences of black, Asian and minority ethnic employees in the workplace. It sets out five actions for signatories like us to take:

  • Appointing an Executive Sponsor
  • Capturing data and publicising progress
  • Ensuring zero tolerance of harassment and bullying
  • Making equality in the workplace the responsibility of all leaders and managers
  • Taking action that supports ethnic minority career progression

While we’ve already started working on some of these actions, with the support of our BAME & Allies employee network – which aims to promote BAME representation across Three and ensure equal opportunity for all – we hope to take further steps to make sure we’re tackling barriers that ethnic minority people face.

Setting out our 2021 priorities

Our Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging Steering Committee is made up of volunteers from across our business who lead the way in creating a diverse and inclusive workplace environment. This group has been collating insights and employee feedback and working hard to ensure we have a plan for 2021 that sets out the right priorities with the best outcomes for our people and our business.

The focus areas laid out below have been based on insight and will help us focus on the things that’ll make the most positive difference to our people.

Conscious leadership

We’ll support our leaders in developing an understanding and commitment to diversity, inclusion and belonging, to grow advocacy and drive the right behaviour. This will start with training our leaders and people managers on what we mean by inclusivity at Three, and enabling them to confidently discuss diversity, inclusion and belonging with their teams.

Diversity within recruitment

Following the review of our recruitment tools and practices, we’ve identified a few ways in which we can make our processes even more inclusive and thus, widen the talent pool and attract more diverse candidates.

This will cover several aspects of recruitment – from reviewing the way we write job adverts to working with hiring managers to ensure they are aware of unconscious bias and what this looks like in practice as well as tracking who is applying to our business and how we can target more diverse talent pools.

Inclusive learning and development

We’ll apply a diversity, inclusion and belonging lens to our talent development initiatives, including our mentoring and hiring manager programmes, to make sure they’re inclusive and help our under-represented employees develop.

We’ll be delivering a Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging training programme on why it’s important to us and what we want to be known for. It’ll be rolled out to our people managers in the Summer, and to the rest of our employees by the end of 2021. Watch this space.

Embedding within the business and beyond

As I have said, we want diversity, inclusion and belonging to be a part of our DNA and for that we need to consider everything we do from this lens – from our existing internal policies and processes to some of the big stuff like our marketing campaigns as well as ensuring the design and build of our new office at Green Park is inclusive and accessible.

Over and above all of this, we’re also exploring opportunities to work with communities, grow our external network and work closely with experts in this space who will help us achieve our goals.

While we’re at the start of our diversity, inclusion and belonging journey, we’ve made progress on a lot of what we’ve committed to above. But we realise there’s more to do and we have a busy year ahead of us.

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