Home » Diversity in STEM » Diversity: A work place for everyone

Samantha Neath

D&I Manager, BAE Systems

Supporting diversity and inclusion in the workplace can help create a happier and more engaged workforce.

A workforce with diverse outlooks and backgrounds can be a critical factor in accelerating innovation and bringing new ideas into an organisation. To attract and retain a wider diversity of employees, the evidence is clear that a working environment which values people from different backgrounds and makes them feel welcome in a supportive workplace is really important.

Additionally, customers, shareholders and the employee marketplace now rightly expect companies to demonstrate strong diversity and inclusion (D&I) policies.

Engaged workforce

Samantha Neath, from the corporate diversity and inclusion (D&I) team at BAE Systems, underlines the importance of diversity in the workplace and how a feeling of belonging leads to a happier, more innovative and more engaged workforce

Potential recruits, especially those from the younger elements of society, see companies with a diverse and inclusive working environment as attractive.

“To attract the best talent, we need to demonstrate how we support people,” adds Neath, who co-ordinates the network of employee resource groups (ERGs), which promote D&I within the company.

She emphasises that a company must not only articulate its D&I policies, but also ensure employees feel they belong, are not isolated, that there is kindness and compassion in the workplace and that voices and ideas are heard.

Potential recruits, especially those from the younger elements of society, see companies with a diverse and inclusive working environment as attractive. 

Under-represented groups

The ERGs, employee networks of under-represented groups within the business, are a key component of that ethos.

Members can share lived experiences, educate others about what it means to belong to certain groups, and challenge the business and be drivers for change.

In one recent example, BAE Systems’ disability resource group Enabled UK, was instrumental in creating the “working adjustment passport” tool for employees to reach agreement with managers about different ways they may need to work.

ERGs cover disability; gender representation and equality; ethnicity, religion and cultural diversity; mental health; the LGBTQ+ community; and a veterans’ network supporting the military community within BAE Systems.

Supporting all employees

OutLinkUK, the LGBTQ+ resources group at BAE Systems, is very active in sharing learning on LGBTQ+ issues and supporting trans and gender diverse employees.

Neath, who previously chaired the group, says it has introduced a gender identity policy and accompanying guidance, which supports employees in transitioning the workplace, and created a handbook for parents and family members of LGBTQ people in the business.

There are also allies’ networks of people who actively support these groups within the business.

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