Weetabix HRD | 'HR must promote inclusion without exception'

'HR must promote inclusion without exception'
'HR must promote inclusion without exception'

Due to the coronavirus crisis, in March this year the UK Government suspended the requirement for companies to report their 2019-2020 gender pay gap.

However, Business in the Community (BITC) reported in May that the average UK gender pay gap median has witnessed a year-on-year increase from 11.9% in 2018-19, to 12.9% in 2019-2020.

One business who is working to close the gender pay gap is cereal manufacturer Weetabix Food Company. It recently announced that it has made further improvements to reduce its gender pay gap, closing the median pay gap to 4.4% from 6.6% last year. This compares to a UK average of 17.3% in 2019.

In order to achieve this, the firm spearheaded an initiative within its inclusion strategy known as ‘inclusion without exception’. Stuart Branch, Group People & Technology Director at Weetabix Food Company, informed HR Grapevine that this strategy revolves around three main areas, including diverse thought, inclusive culture and having an inclusive workplace.

“We believe we should take responsibility for the workplace culture we create, and we remain committed to fostering an inclusive culture, where everyone can be their best self at work,” Branch explained.

Championing inclusion

Previous research has highlighted the inequality when it comes to pay in the UK, for example a study by Adzuna last year identified Hereford, Aberdeen and Cambridge as the UK cities with the biggest gender pay gaps. Despite this, Branch believes that every company should champion inclusivity, as he pointed out that “a company is only as good as the people within it”.

He continued: “It’s therefore vital to make your workplace as fair, empowering and inclusive as it can be. Luckily, we have a senior team here at Weetabix who recognise that in order to make brilliant food we need brilliant people.

“Inclusion is a fundamental pillar of our people culture and is integral to our ways of working. We believe people do their best work when they are themselves.”

In his mind, closing the gender pay gap positions the firm another step closer to achieving better inclusion, but he also added that this is just one part of the process for Weetabix Food Company who is on a mission to stamp out inequality. “Gender equality at work isn’t just about pay, and we recognise that there are often underlying factors that contribute to the problem of a pay gap in the first place,” he said.

“We’ve worked hard to address these issues, with policies to create generous parental leave, flexible working, and learning and development that is designed to equip people at all stages of their work and personal lives.”

Looking ahead

With the New Year only weeks away, HR leaders will start to look forwards to 2021 and think about what initiatives they can roll out to promote better inclusivity. The same can be said for Branch who revealed that the firm plans to continue to set new targets to reduce its gender pay gap even further.

“We’re constantly reviewing our data, policies and procedures to make sure we don’t have any unconscious bias,” Branch concluded. “This will involve considering where males and females are in salary bandings in the organisation to make sure always paying on merit and gender doesn’t creep into any decision making.”

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