As part of our Disability Confident series, we are chatting with different organisations to hear how they are making a difference to diversity and inclusion in their industry. Next up in our series is Mark Lomas from HS2.
In this latest Q&A, Mark tells us why being part of the Disability Confident Scheme is important to HS2 and explains the adjustments they have made to help recruit, retain and develop a diverse workforce...
Why did you want to be part of the Disability Confident scheme?
HS2 has the opportunity to influence the infrastructure sector to improve Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) practices. Being Disability Confident is an integral part of our approach. HS2 will introduce new and improved standards of accessibility in relation to our rolling stock (trains) and stations, so it is important that we have diverse talent to help us achieve our goals.
How has being Disability Confident made a difference to your business? Think about the changes that you feel have made the biggest impact for both your organisation and your team, in terms of recruitment, retention and development?
Disability Confidence is a clear declaration of being positive about employing people with disabilities. In this regard, it has been important to us. Our approach to implementing workplace adjustments has allowed us to back up that commitment with clear statistics and facts, and our adjustments themselves help us to retain a diverse workforce and allows our talent to flourish.
What are your next steps with regards to the scheme and your business?
HS2 is a Disability Confident Leader. We have pushed disability confidence across our supply chain and continue to influence businesses that work with us to improve accessibility and become Disability Confident. The next steps for us as a business are to tap into diverse talent at senior management and executive levels.
Why would you recommend the scheme to others?
It’s a visible commitment to inclusion. Once you’ve made the commitment then there are a number of steps you can implement quickly to improve your Disability Confidence.
Outside of the Disability Confident Scheme, HS2 has been highly recognised for making diversity and inclusion a strategic priority. What are some of the initiatives you have put in place to create truly inclusive culture?
I could go on all day about this! Some of our very successful initiatives include our approach to Inclusive Procurement & Supplier Diversity, pushing disability confidence across the supply chain; our reverse mentoring programme; and, the “Inclusion Experience” which is a short and powerful event that allows people to connect with the emotion of being included or excluded.
In the space of diversity and inclusion, what do you see are the main challenges and opportunities going forward for business?
While each sector has universal challenges to overcome, they also have unique challenges specific to them. Diversity of talent at senior levels in the organisation is a challenge for the infrastructure sector.
What has been your greatest learning or most exciting experience relating to diversity and inclusion?
If you can’t answer the question “what have you done for me lately?” for all kinds of diverse groups, then your approach needs revisiting.
Are there any other comments or is there anything else you would like to share regarding the Disability Confident Scheme or diversity and inclusion as a whole?
It’s easier to do nothing and let the status quo continue. However, in the end this leads to stagnation and a decline in organisational performance. The hardest thing is to get started. Disability Confidence is one of the ways an organisation can make a commitment and measure progress.