UK’s leading home improvement giant was looking to the future. To shape strategy, the business commissioned Green Park to carry out an exhaustive Cultural & Inclusion (CARE) audit. The results revealed a business where a fresh approach to EDI had the potential to be game-changing. Next step? Cascading inclusive leadership training down throughout the workforce via 600 leaders.
With 300 stores across the UK and Ireland, plus a successful online operation, this retailer has been helping customers with home improvement since 1969. In 2020, the business asked Green Park to conduct a thorough CARE audit, which would inform a three-year plan to take the business into the future. The study covered the entire business, from Retail to Logistics, with over 450 stakeholders interviewed. The final report highlighted a number of areas where the business could make improvements in terms of Diversity, Inclusion and Culture. After circulating the report widely around the business came back to Green Park with a second challenge: to bring its leaders up to date on inclusive leadership, cultural intelligence and racial fluency.
This was a project on a significant scale: Green Park delivered training for some 600 people, including the CEO, the Board, and all regional and store managers. The training was action-orientated and designed to drive concrete results. It was also tailored to levels of seniority, with the Board focusing on leading with cultural intelligence. Meanwhile, Area Managers focused on accountability and how to upskill others from an EDI perspective. For Store Managers, the challenge was to make their stores better places to be through inclusive leadership. Our training gave guidance on the complexities of modern management, tackling inclusion in terms of everything from race and religion to mental health. With many Store Managers leading diverse teams, the potential impact of this was enormous.
Feedback from both the CARE audit and training was positive, and went right to the heart of the business.
"By starting to explore the topic, it really highlighted how much work we have to do as leaders to get better in this space."
"Seeing Jo Heath talking so fluently made me confident we're on the right approach."
"It was great being in a 'safe' group - all starting this journey together, where we could be honest and challenging."
"Really great session and believe our deputy manager and trading managers would also benefit."
The client also noted that the process had been transformational and had given them the tools to create impactful and meaningful cultural change. The following piece of feedback in particular really showed the training’s impact in practice.
"One of our product category buyers (who is mixed heritage Chinese/White British) has been experiencing some issues for months with one of our suppliers. She manages his account, and he supplies us with 4 million pounds of product each year. In her own words, this supplier is a ‘sexist, racist bully’ who drops microaggressions in every email and chat, and has done for years. The colleague in question attended one of your sessions a few weeks ago, and a day after had a meeting with this supplier who had proceeded to make some really offensive and racist comments about his dealings with Chinese people. However, your session gave her the confidence to make a stand, say 'enough is enough', and realise that his behaviour is not okay. So, she took a risk and reported the situation to her line managers, even though she was concerned that she may be told to ‘put up and shut up’ (as she has been in other companies), as this is a major supplier for the organisation. However, her managers 100% agreed that the supplier’s behaviour was unacceptable, that we’re not a company who tolerate racism, and escalated the issue to two of our Board members. With that one conversation bravely started by our colleague, all stakeholders (including PR and Legal) have given her their full support. The supplier’s contract has been terminated! Hurrah! A massive win for belonging, a massive win for cultural change, and a massive thanks to Green Park for giving our leaders the confidence and knowledge to know when to recognise when and what behaviour is unacceptable.