Colleagues across Bunzl have been sharing knowledge, experience and ideas on initiatives designed to foster greater diversity and inclusion.
We launched a new employee brand in 2020 ‘We Believe’ that has helped us to accelerate collaborative activity, which in turn has been great for productivity and profitability at Bunzl in general. However, more recently, shared knowledge and experience among our colleagues has brought a different sort of gain – the growth of initiatives with a focus on diversity and inclusion.
‘Only a few short years ago the only publicised programme aimed at fostering greater inclusion was the "Young Bunzl’ programme in the Netherlands’" Jane Smith, Head of Human Resources, Bunzl plc reflects. Then the "Inspiring Women in Bunzl" ('IWIB') network was launched in the UK & Ireland in 2019 and that has been a catalyst for the launch of further programmes. Building on the solid foundations of IWIB, Bunzl UK & Ireland launched the "Inspiring Ethnicity in Bunzl" ('IEIB') network while in Bunzl North America the "Diversity, Equity and Inclusion" ('DEI') forum was founded. Moreover, Bunzl Asia Pacific ('APAC') has launched its own IWIB group.
The primary increase in these programmes has been due to colleagues reflecting on their experiences and sharing their successes.
For example, the IEIB initiative was founded and coordinated by the same person who had established the IWIB network, using similar structures, policies and procedures. The DEI forum in North America also tapped into the knowledge of the IWIB Group in UK & Ireland by extensively referencing its vision and mission documents.
In APAC, Jennifer Tiffin, the region’s Human Resources Director and founder of APAC’s IWIB network, communicated with colleagues in the UK & Ireland via a video conference to understand the structure of the initiative and received a range of programme materials. As Jennifer states, ‘I had been following the IWIB programme and its success in the UK and wanted to find a way to adapt it to our region. Geographically, Australia is so large it is difficult to physically bring participants together, so we have decided to use a virtual delivery style. However, the fundamentals of the programme are the same as IWIB in the UK.’
There is a feeling that this is just the tip of the iceberg and further diversity and inclusion networks will follow.
Shared knowledge, experience and best practice on diversity and inclusion is beginning to cascade through Bunzl. For example, Bunzl Continental Europe has been in contact with the IWIB in UK & Ireland and another women’s network is imminent. Other conversations between colleagues are taking place and there is an expectation that new initiatives will launch further down the line.
‘There is certainly momentum developing to widen representation of people at every level throughout Bunzl,’ Jane tells us. ‘Having a balance of men and women, young and old, people from different ethnic backgrounds in a work team means it gains from the different points of view and approaches that come from different life experiences, which can help spark creativity and innovation.'
Building a reputation as an inclusive employer helps us demonstrate Bunzl’s positive values, which enhances the Company’s standing in the recruitment marketplace. There is also evidence from other organisations to show that diversity has a positive impact on profitability.