I am extremely passionate about people, their potential and entitlement to equality of opportunity in the workplace. We have significantly fewer women in Royal Mail in operational leadership roles which presents a fantastic opportunity to identify and bring through new talent with the energy and desire to change a legacy culture within the operation. Having a balanced workforce throughout the hierarchy and across all functions is key to developing a sustainable, high performing business.
As the Royal Mail National Service Delivery Director, Ricky is responsible for all operations in the UK where their 125,000 employees work daily to connect over 30 million households and businesses to the rest of their UK network. Ricky started his career in 1986 working as a postal cadet and then a postie delivering around the streets of Glasgow. During his career with Royal Mail, he has held many management and senior leadership roles working in various parts of the business across the UK operation. Ricky has recently been appointed to the Chair of the Royal Mail LGBT Allies network and have positively championed for our BAME mentoring network speaking at events and personally mentoring colleagues. Ricky is an avid cyclist enjoying both the sport and escaping the city for the country roads for a more relaxing ride at the weekend.
WHY ARE YOU AN EVERYWOMAN ADVOCATE?
The opportunity to make a difference to one colleague excites me and to many inspires me.
CITE THREE PIVOTAL THINGS IN YOUR CAREER.
The most pivotal things in my career were:
1. Going back to University and completing my MBA
2. Choosing to expand my mobility
3. Finding good mentors throughout my career
WHAT IS one piece of career advice that has really stuck in your mind and why?
Learn to become comfortable with uncomfortable situations or challenges. Recognising this is when you are likely to grow and develop. Sometimes we need to be uncomfortable and create discomfort to effect change.
what do you wish you knew in your early career that you know now and why?
It really is all about people, particularly in a service industry. Look after your people, lead them well and they will look after the business.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE SOMEONE LOOKING TO BE ON AN EXECUTIVE BOARD?
1. Build a wide network of contacts
2. Put aside time for your ongoing development
3. Understand what is really going on, get into the business.
NAME THREE CHARACTERISTICS YOU LOOK FOR IN AN EXECUTIVE TEAM MEMBER.
1. A good balance of IQ and EQ
2. High levels of personal and leadership integrity
3. A team player
WHAT ARE THE THREE MOST CHALLENGING THINGS IN YOUR ROLE?
1.Protecting diary time to be visible in the operation
2. Positively aligning a large organisation behind the strategy of the company
3.Improving the diversity of the workforce
TELL US ABOUT THE NEXT BIG THING IN YOUR SECTOR.
We are transitioning from a letters business that carries parcels to a growing 1 bn parcel business that still carries letters. Ongoing transformation plans are in place to complete this journey.
ARE YOU INVOLVED IN PROGRAMMES OR INITIATIVES THAT SUPPORT GENDER BALANCE?
I am an active supporter of Springboard and Springforward, which are entirely female-focused programmes. I attend many sessions to offer words of encouragement and support. I personally mentor employees with potential and have witnessed a number of these women move into more senior leadership roles. I am a participant in our International Women’s Day activity, speaking at the events and spending time discussing and learning about employee’s experiences.
WHAT IS THE BIGGEST AND MOST PRESSING ISSUE FOR WOMEN IN BUSINESS TODAY?
I think this largely depends on the industry sector and organisation. I do still believe unconscious bias plays a major influence and therefore policy development, good practice, as well as education has an important role to play.
WHAT VALUE DO YOU BELIEVE GENDER DIVERSITY BRINGS TO THE WORKPLACE?
Balanced and overall more talented teams, diversity of thinking and contribution & improved problem-solving.
WHAT STEPS CAN ORGANISATIONS TAKE TO CLOSE THE GENDER PAY GAP?
This is a policy issue and where significant gender pay gaps exist progressive policy decisions are required from the Board to eliminate. Thankfully at RMG, we have such policies in place.
WHAT IS THE MOST MEMORABLE THING SOMEONE HAS SAID TO YOU?
“You are too young to be applying for this role, you don’t have enough seniority.” Why…I just wanted to be judged on the skills and attributes I could bring to the role, not my age.
WHAT MAKES A POWERFUL COMMUNICATOR?
In my view it comes from a combination of being passionate about the subject, having a desire to influence positive change and being willing to actively listen.
WHAT IS THE ONE THING YOU DO TO GET PEOPLE TO LISTEN TO YOU?
You need to know your audience and have some early content that allows you to connect with them, ideally recognise some achievements.