Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

In this edition of our DE&I update, Paul Gillen, DE&I Ambassador for IoD NI, speaks with Dr Tracey McCabe, Director of Group Human Resources of Mount Charles.

Why is DE&I important to the culture in Mount Charles?

At Mount Charles, we are committed to a sustainable and forward-thinking place to work for everyone. As a business who pride ourselves on Great People, Great Service and a Great Future, putting our energy into improving everyone’s chances of being part of the world of work today and in the years to come.  Our culture is about removing labels and focusing on inspiring our teams to bring their whole, authentic selves to work and we actively listen when they do.  This includes empowering our teams to take interpersonal risks and voice their opinions is part of our culture. Psychological safety matters because it leads to healthier, more productive, and more inclusive teams.

For us, the pathway to a great place to work is through inclusion with a focus on what each individual can do, regardless of nationality, gender, race, age, background, religion, ableness, or sexual orientation. This support for a fully inclusive culture, harnesses a culture of belonging and trust, where everyone participates, learns from one another’s experiences and grows stronger together to build a truly great diverse and sustainable future.

So, what is it Mount Charles does in DE&I?

Diversity and Inclusion is one of the greatest drivers of our business. We envision a world in where creating great people matters, not labels, and where everyone has a chance to be part of a great business that thrives to be a great provider of service to all our clients and customers, creating a reputation and portfolio that is future proof and creates jobs for the future. We achieve this through our diversity and inclusion pillars, including:

1. Our EDI Calendar

Our EDI calendar compliments our Health and Wellbeing calendar and celebrates key dates, awareness raising days, holidays and events that reflect the diversity across our teams, clients and customers.

2. Beyond the Labels Recruiting Initiatives

We reach out to a number of under-represented groups, sponsoring or attending events centred around diversity. We have adapted our processes and software, checking for diverse and inclusive language within our job descriptions and to ensure our materials and website is accessible to a wide range of abilities.  Our one-page application asks only what is required for the role, attractive to applicants across a spectrum of social exclusion, basic educational needs, neurodiverse, disabilities, those with language barriers and for the 16–24-year-old who have decided not to take the academic route.

Through our 2023/24 Apprenticeship programme, we aim to recruit across a diverse spectrum increasing our workforce’s range of skills, talents & experiences.

Hiring for diversity will help us better understand our and cater to customers’ needs.

3. Social Forums

Through themed events (with ideas submitted by our teams) across our sites and our internal buddy programmes, we create inclusive practices and first hand inclusion opportunities for all as well as sharing ideas to create a totally diverse, inclusive and learned organisation. These are shared in our monthly employee newsletter.

Our employee-driven forums focus on providing opportunities for learning, community building and celebration during nationally recognised months of diversity.

4. Inclusion skills and development series

We wanted a culture of learning that fostered both formal and informal learning.

We have created a Skills and Development Committee, ensuring our employees have a wealth of information that can help create a better learning environment with employees in control of their own development. This is fostered through both formal and informal learning.

This social approach to learning allows sharing ideas and resources as well as hearing from employees across a wide range of perspectives, making skills and development truly inclusive.

5. Diversity and inclusion training

Through our Diversity and Inclusion training our employees appreciate and understand how things such as religious, gender, racial, cultural and all other differences can impact how each person interacts and contributes to their teams.  With diverse teams we bring together a melting pot of different talents, each with their own strengths.

Our approach gives our employees confidence to bring 100% of their self to work and they no longer have to hold back when it comes to drawing upon their unique thoughts and ideas.

What benefits have you seen from your DE&I approach?

Well, I could go on for days on that one!

In summary, our statistics show just how successful we are.  Firstly, we are proud to have a consistent 50/50 gender split across the workforce including the Board.  We also are proud of our participation rate increases from 2022 to 2023 in areas such as LGBTQ+ (from 19% to 22%), disability (from 8% to 9%), BAME (7% to 8%), those with caring responsibilities (43% to 45%) and in our over 50s (15% to 17%).  Also interestingly, we have very high levels of flexible working which is also increasing (from 60% to 61%). We have also just started to measure socio-economic background, an area where we are interested to develop further.  So, our initiatives are working.  We are not complacent though and we will continue to develop our EDI initiatives and to strengthen our journey towards better inclusion and make the strategy more meaningful.

Thanks Tracey, really insightful, and amazing to see the results of the hard work you are doing in this area.  Thank you for sharing your approach with our members and we wish all the best in your continued journey.

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