Network Rail is ahead of other businesses in its sector; nevertheless, it attracts a small number of applications from people from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds, coupled with low conversion rates of BAME applicants through the recruitment and selection processes. Cultural Fusion was set up in 2013 to help Network Rail, amongst other things, understand some of the barriers and processes that can result in low conversion rates, including reviewing approaches to recruitment and selection to ensure everyone is treated fairly.
Cultural Fusion has worked on initiatives such as pre-employment open days, structured work experience, mentoring and coaching. In 2015, the network hosted its first career development day attended by over 20 Cultural Fusion members. The day included CV writing, speed interviews, one-to-one coaching and personal development.
Five Cultural Fusion members have taken part in Coaching2, a cross-organisation talent engagement programme where senior leaders meet and select a coaching partner from a different organisation.
In 2015, Cultural Fusion hosted an event with Arup during Black History Month to raise the profile of the variety of roles available in engineering at both organisations; and to explore what more could be done to attract diverse candidates.
The network holds drop-in sessions across the country to increase its membership, and during “Everyone Week” which is an organisation-wide promotion of, and focus on diversity and inclusion, Cultural Fusion worked with Network Rail’s catering supplier to put together diverse menus and organised a temple visit to mark Diwali.
The network has an executive sponsor whose objectives include promoting the group across the business. The sponsor has provided support through attending meetings and contributing to the quarterly newsletter and emails and funding activities. The network’s leadership team have their roles and activities included in their personal objectives and performance reviews. The network’s impact is monitored through the Your Voice employee engagement survey.
- Membership of the network has increased from 304 to 344 in the past 12 months as a result of regular engagement with the business. The number of BAME graduates and apprentices has also increased.
- One of the Coaching2 attendees has secured a new role in London, and the pilot has allowed Network Rail to review its talent strategy by taking on board the feedback and developing support for BAME employees going forward. Cultural Fusion is involved in Diversity Impact Assessments as they are rolled-out throughout the business. Network Rail has selected six key areas from Business in the Community’s Race at Work report to help with future action.
- A second Career Development Day is being held in 2016, and members have expanded their knowledge of Network Rail and its opportunities through supporting careers fairs and networking events. Leadership team members have also developed new skills, supporting their own personal development.