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Everywoman award winners on how to be a male ally

Everywoman award winners on how to be a male ally
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Everywoman recognises the crucial contribution male allies make to the diversity and inclusion conversation. That’s why, in 2018, we introduced the ‘Male Agent of Change’ and later, the ‘Male Mentor’ award, to celebrate their hard work.

And as the theme for this year’s International Men’s Day (19th November 2019) is ‘Leading by Example’, we decided to catch up with some of these award winners, to see what advice they’d give to those who want to progress D&I in their organisation.

 

Wayne Jay, UK Process & Collection Director (formerly National Distribution Director), Royal Mail 

Male Agent of Change winner at 2018 FTA everywoman in Transport & Logistics Awards

 

Why is improving D&I important to you?

I started doing a lot of work to help and encourage women in their career development because I wanted to change the tone, atmosphere and make-up of our team.

And how did you implement change?

I did this by first encouraging people to be a bit braver and put themselves forward for roles they may not have considered previously. The next step was ensuring that, once people progressed through the company, the right support mechanisms were in place – that might be by ‘buddying’ people up, creating the right network, ensuring the right tech support was in place, or simply morale boosting. Elevating a person to a certain level, without making sure the right support is there, just sets them up to fail. 

What advice would you give to someone who wants to start moving the D&I conversation forward in their organisation?

With your team, take a step back and look at what you’re trying to achieve and help them come to the same conclusion as you – that you need to change the way you do things. Sometimes this requires changing the attitudes and input of people, and you’ve got to be brave. 

What do you personally gain from your D&I work?

It is really satisfying to see the changes we’ve put in place and see the individuals we gave opportunities to flourishing in their positions. Creating a win-win for the individual and the company is what we should always aim to achieve.

 

Jim Bichard, UK Insurance Leader at PwC UK

Male Agent of Change winner at 2019 FDM everywoman in Technology Awards

 

When did D&I become important to you?

For the past five or so years I’ve wanted to improve D&I in our insurance practice, as PwC needs to be an industry leader and set a good example to our clients and our own people.

When I took my current role, I decided to make D&I our number one strategic priority, so everything in our practice starts with that.


And how have you improved D&I during that time?
We run various initiatives at PwC; the two that I have particularly championed are the Women in Technology initiative and our mentoring programme, and I have a great team that put a lot of hard work into driving these forward.

We also sponsor the HeforShe initiative, where men take a pledge to help women or ethnic minorities, or any other representative of diversity, to progress in their careers. I always give this as an example of an initiative that really works, as it gives our male leaders and partners a role in helping the D&I conversation, rather than feel they’re part of the problem.

How do you convince those who don’t feel D&I needs to be a priority?

You have to appeal to different people and their motivations. In our case, we’re a talent business – our clients rely on us to have the best people, so D&I is a business imperative. If I can find a way of retaining, attracting and developing more talented people, we’re going to be more successful. And walk the talk – don’t tell others to make changes you wouldn’t be prepared to.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to start moving the D&I conversation forward?

Talk to your team and single out what the most important thing to them is. For instance, we were losing a lot of senior women in our department, and after exploring the issue, we discovered a big reason was the lack of role models. That’s how we came to develop the mentoring scheme, which involved senior women in the insurance industry, but not necessarily from PwC.

 

Gordon Wakeford, former CEO of Siemens (now retired)

Male Agent of Change winner at 2019 everywoman on Transport & Logistics Awards

 

Why is D&I important to you?

Diversity makes sense not just from a social perspective, but economically too. We work in a competitive marketplace and want the best talent, so we need to embrace the whole of society.

How do you convince those who don’t feel D&I needs to be a priority?

Sometimes you need to educate people. Talk about why D&I is so important but also follow this through with action, such as unconscious bias training. Having data available, for instance the company’s gender pay gap data, gives clarity of information and helps demonstrate the importance – and progress – of D&I.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to start moving the D&I conversation forward?

It has to come from the top. It’s an overused phrase but in society and business, people emulate leaders. It has to be shown than fairness and equality is part of the company’s ethos and strategy. If it’s not happening at your organisation, try to get the discussion started.

What do you personally gain from your D&I work?

I’ve met some superb people, including very inspirational women that have helped me look at things with a new perspective. I was brought up in an environment where it was very much output-based and target-driven. But it’s not just about time put in – it’s how you get the most out of people. Different people need different environments to thrive.

 

Gary Pickering, Director of Sales and Retention, SSE

Male Mentor winner at 2019 Barclaycard everywoman in Retail Awards

 

Why is D&I important to you?

I’m a commercial director of a large FTSE 35 business, and having the best talent gives the best commercial outcomes. In fact, we recently delivered double-digit growth across all product categories in every channel, and the metrics showed that a lot of this growth was a result of our D&I initiatives.

One of these initiatives is your Future Leaders programme. How does that work?

We’ve always ran a high-potential talent development programme and originally, people were put forward by nomination. But with SSE being a traditional energy, engineering and utility company, a lot of our mid and senior positions were held by men, and – as research shows – people tend to hire or prioritise those in their own image, so the people being nominated were also mainly men.

I moved it to a process of self-nomination, but then we were primarily getting the confident, gung-ho types applying, and missing talent who weren’t that ‘type’. And perhaps unsurprisingly, most of the people putting themselves forward were men.

So, we then decided to hold a roadshow and open surgeries to talk about the programme, plus offer one-to-one sessions with me. This had a huge impact and afterwards, more than 50% of programme applicants were women.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to start moving the D&I conversation forward?

I’m paid to deliver results and I encouraged heads of department not to get carried away with D&I for its own sake. The reality is, you work in business so start with business objectives. All the research tells you you’ll get better results with top talent and that to get best talent you need to consider that all humans will respond to different things in different ways.

 

International Men's Day 2019 is on 19 November, and celebrates men leading by example.

We have put together a collection of resources that explore what it means to be a male ally and a powerful advocate for inclusion and ways to take this forward in your own life – while also encouraging it in others.  

Access the resources here