60 second interview — Ingrid Osborne, Divisional Chair, London & South East, Taylor Wimpey UK Limited
Q: Why is having an inclusive and diverse working environment so important?
We aspire to be a business that represents wider society at all levels and that our employees reflect and echo the diversity of our local, regional and national communities. We aim to have an inclusive culture where differences are embraced and valued so that all employees can be their authentic selves and do their best work. Taylor Wimpey strives to be recognised as an employer of choice within our sector and beyond to attract, retain and develop a diverse and inclusive workforce. It is not only the right thing to do but it also makes business sense as we recognise that diverse teams bring innovation, better performance and insights into our customers.
Q: What has your career journey highlighted for you in terms of the value of embracing diversity?
Having operated in a very male dominated environment over the years I have seen the difference it can make personally when someone values you for your contribution and gives you a chance – I have always remembered that and seek to apply that to all sorts of diversity (not just gender) both myself and instilling that desire within my teams.
Q: What was the spur for your business in becoming more proactive on I&D?
We have progressed our journey on this topic over the years alongside society and our employees are much more aware of and understand the importance of this as part of their behaviour and leadership practice. We have support on this from the very top with our CEO and Company Chair as sponsors and a very active Diversity & Inclusion committee.
Q: When it comes to improving diversity at a senior level, what does your company do to support people from under-represented groups in their journey to the top?
We have an active and live diversity and inclusion strategy and present on progress against this, twice a year to our PLC board. Support includes ensuring the basics are right such as policies, line manager training and hiring activities. Programmes such as reverse mentoring, employees awareness sessions and networks such as Working parents Network, Embracing the Change menopause network and LGBTQ+ network. All of our senior leaders are regularly trained on inclusion and due to our culture which is very values driven, we ensure that we take positive action in trying to attract, retain and develop employees from underrepresented groups in our business.
Q: What are the most innovative steps your company has taken on I&D?
We believe that first and foremost we need to ensure the basics are in place such as raising awareness, understanding and challenging ourselves to be diverse and inclusive happens everyday and that employees and future candidates have a voice. We are making progress in this space but we know we still have a long way to go.
Q: What is a key piece of advice for companies just starting their inclusion and diversity journeys?
Have a strategy and be clear on the areas in which you will focus your efforts — don’t try to do everything at once as it’s better to do fewer things well than many things in a mediocre fashion.