The Power of Staff Networks interviews Abul Shama - the Talent Development Specialist for Enterprise (North West region of England)
What is your role at Enterprise?
My role is to manage and facilitate all the regions training initiatives at all levels, from new employees to experienced managers.
Tell us briefly about your staff network
Our staff network for black and minority ethnic staff (BAME) is called U3BAME. It started in November 2014 and its executive members include our regional General Manager, regional Talent Acquisition Specialist, Area Managers, Branch Managers, Assistant Branch Managers and recently hired employees.
Why did the network start?
We wanted to identify ways in which we could make our company welcoming to all and, in particular, we wanted to target women from a BAME background. We also wanted to educate our non-BAME managers on the cultural, religious and social differences in an effort to improve and enhance the working environment.
So what did you do?
We consulted with BAME female candidates to ask them what changes they would want to see in our company to make us an employer of choice. We also asked their families and significant others what they would want to see, and encouraged them to forward suggestions to us. This lead to creating our “Meet the Family” events where we invited BAME female employees to bring their families to meet the senior management team at Enterprise. We also encouraged them to bring an interested friend that may want to consider joining the organisation.
Did you encounter any obstacles?
Not many obstacles at all! Our senior leadership team have supported all of our initiatives both financially as well as in person by attending all events and championing the objectives of the network.
Outputs and Outcomes
We have had 6 successful events to date and our format is being replicated across different regions of the UK. We have seen the following results:
BAME hiring numbers – UP 6%
BAME female hiring numbers – UP 10%
BAME employees in management roles – UP 6%
BAME females in management roles – UP 8%
What have you learned?
Having a BAME network is EXTREMELY popular and welcomed.
It is a very worthy investment for any (large) multi-site business.
What advice would you give to other staff networks?
Let the members of the network decide on goals, strategies and events rather than decide for them!
Describe the future for staff networks in three words
EVERYBODY NEEDS ONE!
Read more about Abul Shama