Ep. 7: Articulating the Vision for Diversity and Inclusion


5 min read

S?: Welcome to the Inclusive Growth Show with Toby Mildon, future-proofing your business by creating a diverse workplace.


Toby Mildon: Hello, I am Toby Mildon and thank you ever so much for tuning in to today's episode of the Inclusive Growth Show. I am joined by a fabulous guest today, her name is Loraine Martins. She is the Director of Diversity and Inclusion at Network Rail. Loraine, welcome to the show.


Loraine Martins: Thank you for that very generous welcome, Toby, good to see you.


Toby Mildon: You're welcome. Good guests get great intros.


[laughter]


Loraine Martins: Thank you, thank you.


Toby Mildon: Loraine, before you took on the role as D&I director at Network Rail, what were you doing beforehand? 


Loraine Martins: So immediately before I joined Network Rail, I was working for myself, I was doing a lot of work with different organisations. I'd worked with BP, worked with an Arup, an engineering company doing stuff around inclusive leadership and stakeholder engagement and things like that. And I'd started that on the back of the work that I had done working on the construction of the Olympic Park, where I'd worked for about four years with Olympic Delivery Authority where we were building what is now the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, starting from scratch, acquiring all of the land, remediating the land, developing the plans for the park, developing the plans, the legacy, looking at what the different stadia would be like, thinking about the accessibility of the stadia, thinking about the employment and skills of local people, looking at how we could work with our supply chain to make sure that they were integrating our diversity inclusion priorities.


Loraine Martins: So that occupied me for a good four, four-and-a-half years and before that, I'd worked as the Head of Diversity & Inclusion at an organisation called the Audit Commission, which looks at the use of public funds right across local government, health authorities, housing associations and fire and rescue and police departments. So I guess over the last 20 years, really looking at how we could implement the diversity and inclusion through our organisation.


Toby Mildon: That's brilliant, it's so great to have you on the show 'cause you are one of the top D&I practitioners in the country.


[laughter]


Loraine Martins: Thank you, I appreciate that.


Toby Mildon: That's all right. So we're here today to talk about change management, within diversity and inclusion. And I interviewed you in my book, Inclusive Growth, where we talked about change management. What do you see organisations doing now when it comes to change management for diversity and inclusion? 


Loraine Martins: I think the areas that organisations are slightly missing a trick on is actually seeing diversity and inclusion as a change and management tool. So I think organisations tend to respond to particular issues that may crop up, like how do we increase the number of women in our organisation, how do we increase the number of black, Asian or minority ethnic people in our business or how do we make our organisations more accessible to disabled people. And they pose those questions, I think, in isolation, almost as problems, not as an opportunity to use change management tools. And so I think that's an area for inclusive growth for us as practitioners, but also for organisations. So, there's a kind of parallel stream of change management that occurs that's almost not touching on diversity and inclusion. And so for me, that's the area where I've been really keen to encourage businesses to look at how they use their change management tools to integrate diversity and inclusion into the business as usual approach that they have.


Toby Mildon: Excellent, so what is Network Rail doing about change management when it comes to do D&I? 


Loraine Martins: So, I guess the first thing that we have done is really have a strategy, a really clear objective about what we want to do and where we want to get to. And where we want to get to is being an organisation that is more open, more diverse and more inclusive, and I guess that's our kind of strap line for all that we do. And then to set out in our strategy all of the aspirations and targets that we have so there's a clear path that people can see in terms of the direction that we want to go in. And then what we've done is align that with the business objectives of the organisation and align that with the value. So there's a clear line of sight between all of the diversity and inclusion activities and what the business is trying to achieve.


Loraine Martins: And so I think that's the first point of call, you really help people to see what the vision is, see how that relates to the day job, and then you can integrate the changes that you need to have. And we do that in a programmatic way. Each element of our strategy is a project and has a project set of activities, has done the risk analysis, has a bank of ideas and then we plot that over time to make sure that we're delivering on time and to budget and where we're not, we're anticipating what those challenges are. We've got a programme board that oversees what we're delivering, we report every month to our board on our progress on all of our targets, so increasing the number of women in the organisation, increasing the leadership in terms of race, gender, disability, sexual orientation, increasing the level of sharing of personal data, because there's an under-reporting particularly around disability and particularly around LGBT+.


Loraine Martins: Each of those areas we have as a program activity and we have a series of initiatives that we're driving through to push the change. So, we're very methodical. We have quite a robust approach, which plays to the sensibilities of our organisation, because much of what we do as a business is driven by a programmed approach and change ought to be held in the same esteem. Does that make sense, Toby? 


Toby Mildon: Yeah. Absolutely. I love it. I love how it's just baked into the organisation and it's how you run D&I across the organisation. I suppose the reason why I took such a keen interest in change management was the first half of my career, I worked in IT, so I used to implement IT solutions into hospitals and I used to develop software at the BBC, and we would have that proper change management or project management approach. So when I entered into a D&I career, I often found that that was missing in organisations.


Loraine Martins: Absolutely, yeah.


Toby Mildon: They didn't know what the end result was, they didn't have any idea of what their risks and issues were, they didn't map out their stakeholders and all that kind of thing. So if an organisation isn't currently doing any change management around its D&I activities, where do you think they should begin? 


Loraine Martins: I think you kind of begin with the end in mind. So what is it that you're trying to do and therefore, you articulate that vision first and foremost. What is it that you want to do as an organisation? And then you identify, I guess, who the kind of key linchpins are to enabling you to do that. So at leadership level, to your chief exec, chief information officer or the whole leadership team, how have you brought them in, what kind of things will help them support the changes that you need? What's your communications plan? How do you make sure you're sharing the narrative with the organisation as widely and as often as you can do? What are the things that might get in the way? So the risks, have you got a sufficient investment, do you have sufficient resources, is the technology going to help, whether the kind of touch points that you want to hit that would optimise the changes that you're delivering, and then who is going to do it? So you identify whether or not it's a small team or whether there are teams within teams that you can corral together that can help you to deliver it.


Loraine Martins: And then you report regularly and often, log the good news stories so that they're told in a separate way, but helps people to show that the progress that you're making, whilst you're also reporting on the progress in terms of your trajectory and glide paths and whether or not you're likely to hit your targets or miss them and understanding why, but that communication piece is really, really important because it helps to give people confidence of the direction of travel, even if you're slightly behind your glide path, at least you have a story and people can see why that is, whether or not you've made a particular initiative at a given point in time and that that was very successful or whether it was actually, lots of people have been doing stuff and it's been moving along really smoothly. So I think for me, the organisations need to start with what they want to do and understand that really rigorously and then from that flows who they need to engage with, how they help to delegate some of the tasks, how they communicate it, and how they measure success.


Loraine Martins: And I think you can have sequence of activity, so not everything needs to be done at once, 'cause that's always a thing that I think frightens organisations, that the diversity inclusion is such an all-encompassing topic that it can sometimes make organisations wary about where to start, but I think you start where you're most comfortable, in a sense, and where your touch points are, and then you can sequence all the other initiatives that you want to deliver over time and as your organisation gains in competence and competence as it delivers its objectives.


Toby Mildon: That's brilliant. Thanks, Loraine. As ever, some really useful and practical guidance from you. So this is the Inclusive Growth Show. What does inclusive growth means for Network Rail? 


Loraine Martins: Oh, so it really is about how we make sure that as a business, we are really helping our people to deliver what we need to deliver for our customers and our passengers, and the way that we can do that is by understanding the composition of our workforce, attending to the areas where there may be gaps and using that intelligence both in terms of where there were gaps and also in terms of understanding who our workforce is to help us deliver for our passengers. And so we are, I think, as the kind of... We're on the journey as they say, and I know it's an over-used term, but it is something that we are looking at enhancing in terms of making sure that we represent the people that we're serving better and that we have greater empathy and understanding of the different needs of our different passengers and so, inclusive growth is about making sure that we are moving in that direction together, that we're improving the skills within our organisation so that we are inclusively leading our people as well as delivering very good inclusive service to our passengers.


Loraine Martins: And it's an iterative process, Toby, it's not a kinda you get to this stop and you finish. Actually, you grow, and you grow, and you change and you flex with your environment and with your circumstances and with the the ever-changing needs of both your customers and for us it's passengers and the needs of your employees. Does that make sense? 


Toby Mildon: Absolutely, I'm glad you said it was that iterative process, and of course, you had to use the pun, that you're going on a journey, being a transport business. [chuckle]


Loraine Martins: Absolutely.


Toby Mildon: But you know, when I was working in D&I in-house, it was really important that we did things in a very agile way, and in fact, one of my other podcast interviews is with a guy called Andrew Jones, who runs a consultancy that advises businesses on agile change, and how that itself can be applied to D&I, so that's an episode worth checking out. Loraine, thank you ever so much for joining me on today's episode of The Inclusive Growth Show, I really appreciate it and thank you for listening to this episode as well and I hope that I can see you again on the next episode. Cheers.


S?: Thank you for listening to The Inclusive Growth Show. For further information and resources from Toby and his team, head on over to our website at mildon.co.uk.