Supporting BAME colleagues
Making our business a place where black, Asian and minority ethnic colleagues can achieve their potential remains a priority
Diversity and inclusion is about ensuring we create a positive working environment, where each of us feels comfortable bringing our 'true selves' to work. It’s about having representation from a wide variety of groups but, more importantly, it’s also about giving all of those groups a voice and an opportunity to contribute.
Royal Mail has long been a part of the fabric of the UK, delivering to every address regardless of the race, gender, sexuality, disability or religious beliefs of those who live there. As a company, we are committed to placing equality, diversity and respect at the heart of our business. As such, we employ a workforce that reflects this commitment to diversity; where all of our differences are valued.
The BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) steering group was set up to support this work and to help ensure the organisation fully reflects the ethnic make-up of the communities we serve.
Around 13% of our employees in Royal Mail identify themselves as being from a BAME background. That’s roughly representative of the national average of people from the BAME community who are of ‘working age’ (16-65 years). Whilst this looks at first glance to be a fairly positive place to be, our representation of BAME employees decreases significantly from middle management upwards. Therefore, initiatives to help support BAME colleagues to progress their careers are crucial to ensuring we have a diverse representation across all levels of our business that reflects the diverse customer base we serve.
Career progression is a key focus for the BAME steering group as we work towards improving the representation of colleagues from BAME backgrounds across all levels of our organisation. The key priorities we’re working on include:
- Identifying opportunities to increase BAME representation within our senior manager population
- Working with talent managers within the business to identify progression opportunities for colleagues and ensure better BAME representation in external hires
- Utilising internal and external mentoring opportunities and the Spring Forward development programme to create an environment in which BAME colleagues can flourish and prosper.
To help us improve the representation of BAME employees across our management structure, the BAME steering group have introduced two development initiatives, a Spring Forward management development programme specifically for BAME employees and mentoring circles both internally and externally to the business.
The Spring Forward programme is an externally licenced development programme. Royal Mail has offered this programme for women for many years and it has been influential in helping drive our gender diversity across the business. Drawing on its success for female managers, the BAME steering group introduced a BAME-specific version of this programme in 2016/17 as a resource to support the progression of BAME employees. The programme is specifically directed to helping employees overcome the barriers they may face as a minority group progressing through the management structure.
In 2016, the business took part in an external mentoring scheme run by Business in the Community (BITC). Ten colleagues from England and two from Scotland took part in the Mentoring Circle programme – which brought BAME individuals from a variety of organisations together with senior level directors. The sponsor of the BAME steering group Femi Bamisaiye, also took part as a mentor.
The scheme supports mentees to develop confidence, establish new networking relationships and acquire new skills to help them progress their careers and development.
Following the huge success of this external mentoring programme, the BAME steering group have now launched a similar programme internally to allow greater access to mentoring opportunities for all employees. Unlike traditional mentoring, this six-month programme will involve circles of up to eight colleagues, providing a peer-support learning element not possible within more traditional one-to-one mentoring relationships.
A group of 10 Royal Mail employees have volunteered as mentors for the programme and they have all been trained in the process by BITC trainers. Whilst the majority of the mentors and mentees are from a BAME background, some are not. This programme is predominantly aimed at supporting BAME colleagues to progress within our organisation; to help improve the diversity within senior layers of management. It is also about ensuring we all support and include each other, regardless of our backgrounds.
Get in touch
To contact the BAME steering group, please email: email@example.com.
As a group, we recognise the importance of interconnectivity, support and engagement with the other Royal Mail diversity steering groups (LGBT & Friends, Parents & Carers, Disability, Gender, and Youth) as obviously, many of us may fall into more than one group.