What is genuine workplace inclusion?


HR Grapevine spoke to HR leaders at Deliveroo, Diageo, TomTom, Ricoh and P&G...

Stat One

Over the last few years, the importance of Diversity and Inclusion has skyrocketed. It is now viewed as a core part of HR strategy – guided by an understanding that greater diversity breeds better creativity and creates an improved company culture  resulting in a better comprehension of the customer which, ultimately, results in better commercial success for the organisation.

Yet, whilst firms may talk a good diversity, research has highlighted a stark disconnect between the talking and the doing. According to a global PwC study, employers largely want to create diverse and inclusive workforces yet are really struggling to bridge the gap between want and execution. But, organisations urgently need to bridge this gap at it if they want to attract and retain top talent and enjoy higher revenues that outperform their competitors. To find out what employers are doing to genuinely include employees at work, HR Grapevine spoke to several people practitioners. Their answers are below.

Stat Two
James Allen

“Deliveroo is committed to having a diverse workforce. We want to break new ground, and we find that the best way to do this is to ensure our workforce includes a range of skills, experiences and backgrounds. We also really encourage colleagues to learn from each other and share their passions. A great example of this is our Black History Month celebration organised by one of our apprentices. This included a presentation on pioneers in Black History, a live steel band and a range of Afro-Caribbean snacks, and was one of the most popular staff events of the year.”

Stat Three
Ira Read

“I believe that we have a duty to role model inclusive behaviours every day, whether in or outside of work. We know from our employee survey, Your Voice, that Diageo employees around the world feel that people from diverse backgrounds and opinions can be themselves and succeed – and we know [we] need to maintain and foster this culture continuously. It is about leadership empathy and integrity in setting an example to their teams, bringing out their talents and creative ideas to make Diageo successful.

“We celebrate diversity everywhere and support a variety of employee groups throughout the world. These range from our growing women's networks such as Spirited Women in the UK, US, South Africa and Hungary to our Asian and African heritage groups and LGBT+ networks. We believe everyone has a vital contribution to make to our story and we want all our people to feel part of it.”


Arne-Christian van der Tang

“One of our values is ‘we care’. Caring for and about our people is in our DNA. We have offices around the globe, and we embrace this diversity as an incredible asset. However, we understand that ‘feeling included’ is not enough. We want TomTom to be best workplace where all our people truly belong. This is only achievable when leadership and everyone in the company genuinely cares for one another.

“We have many employee-led initiatives around D&I which are focussed on creating a workplace where people feel safe and are encouraged to bring their best self into work every day. Like many companies in tech, we are striving to achieve an even gender balance in engineering and leadership roles. To achieve this, we run a Leadership Acceleration Programme with Judge Business School/Cambridge University that targets high potential female talent. The participants all have career sponsors in the Executive Management Board, and we are committed to propelling their careers in the coming years. This programme not only addresses the imbalance in leadership positions, but also helps our current female engineering talent to achieve more and be the best they can possibly be.”

Stat Four
Rebekah Wallis

“People are at the heart of everything we do, so it is essential that individuals feel as though they belong in the workplace and have the ability to contribute fully. At Ricoh, one of the key elements for ensuring people are genuinely included is through listening and understanding their perspective. We do this through embedding inclusivity within leadership programmes which develop the awareness and competencies that are needed to actively involve and maximise the potential of others. We also undertake an annual inclusion survey which provides us with insight as to what we areas need to focus on as well as through listening circles where employees can share their stories and experiences to senior leaders.”


Chris Young

"P&G has been, and will always be, a company that believes in diversity, fosters inclusion and strives to create an environment for each of us to be ourselves authentically. D&I is a fundamental part of who we are and how we do business. While diversity is essential in all we do, we believe that inclusion changes the game. Every day, we strive to get the full value of our diversity through inclusion - fostering an environment where P&G people can be their best, full selves in the workplace. We grow our inclusivity every day by changing our culture and making an impact through innovative parental leave policies, recruiting diverse talent and catering for their various needs, and ensuring supplier diversity by working with minority-owned businesses – just to name a few. Here in the UK, we are also particularly proud of our LGBT+ network, which champions LGBT+ visibility and that accurately portrays sexual orientation and gender identity and positively impacts individuals."


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