In this episode, Tash Thomas is joined by Dante Frederick, Diversity and Inclusion Partner at Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) to discuss diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in the rail industry and the important DEI work GTR has been undertaking.
Exploring some of the DEI challenges facing the rail industry, Dante shares insights into the initiatives GTR has put in place to improve diversity in their workforce, from inclusive recruitment practices to appeal to a more diverse range of candidates, to developing an inclusive culture where all employees feel valued are able to be their authentic selves.
Tash and Dante discuss the lack of gender representation in particular roles in the rail force, and the success that GTR’s initiatives have yielded so far, such as a doubling in the number of female applicants applying for train driver roles and achieving a 50/50 gender split of new train driver hires.
On the benefits of diversifying the workforce, Dante comments: “It’s not just a tick box exercise. There is so much value in diversity of experience and perspective. If you have a team made up of the very top of whatever the focus is, if they are all from the same background and same perspectives, there will have the same blind spots and they will make the same mistakes. And as soon as you diversify, even a little bit, that really opens things up for creative problem solving and catching things that otherwise may not have been seen. There is tons of data that speaks to this.”
Tash and Dante also explore the benefits of employee resource groups (ERGs) and share tips for successfully setting them up and how to take account of intersectionality in your approach to ERGs. They also discuss the importance of collecting diversity data and how this can help inform business decisions, but also the sensitivities many may feel sharing data on their protected characteristics.
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