Below are responses to a selection of questions that were received during the Diversity and Inclusion in UK Nuclear 2020 Online Conference. The responses have been provided by Corhyn Parr, Director of UK Waste Operations, Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA)
Question: How do we get individuals to take responsibility for their own behaviour / biases without making them defensive?
Response: Create safe spaces to have conversations. Embrace opportunities to discuss, debate, learn and educate each other. Acknowledge that some individuals may have difficulty accepting they have an unconscious bias or need to take responsibility for a topic they may not feel is relevant to their experiences. Rather than get antagonistic about opposing views, help people to see different perspectives, consider other people’s experiences and walk in other people’s shoes, share facts and stats, education and awareness and continue the dialogue. Getting people to connect on an emotional level is a great way of encouraging personal responsibility. And if all else fails, reminding people that in the workplace there are standards of behaviour expected of all of us. Most people agree that equality and inclusion is a good thing but may have different opinions about who is disadvantaged or discriminated against. Sometimes it takes time to shift a bias or behaviour, some resistance or defensiveness is to be expected.
Question: What are you doing to make the effort to achieve Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) an effort of the ‘’majority’’ i.e. shared by all members of the organisation rather than driven by the few?
Response: A key focus for organisations is to engage the silent majority and those who don’t participate in D&I campaigns, events or workshops. We often see the same faces at D&I events. As we build momentum for change, we all have a responsibility to engage others and bring them with us on the journey. A great tip is to ask delegates to bring someone with them who has not been to an event. As we grow our own employee networks and ask allies to join this will also grow the number of people, at all levels in the organisation, who become involved in shaping and shifting the inclusive culture we want to achieve. Sharing stories and lived experiences is another simply but powerful way to engage people. Our experiences this year of remote/home working has also “opened” up our home lives and homes in a way we haven’t experienced before so I feel this has also helped in breaking down some barriers.
Question: For the leaders, what are you doing to ensure that the organisations that get work orders from you are living inclusion (beyond just having a policy statement)?
Response: As we mature our thinking and approach, we will need to ensure D&I is embedded in everything we do. This includes actively promoting D&I in procurement and the supply chain. We have work to do to strengthen our D&I approach in this area and leverage the inclusion benefits across the supply chain. D&I values and behaviours should be extended to external contractors and suppliers. This is also a two-way process and we can also learn from partners / suppliers. HS2 are a great example of an organisation that has embedded D&I into their procurement framework and they set out D&I expectations in their contracting process and monitoring of performance.
Question: Are there issues that the nuclear industry faces in terms of D&I that other industries don't face? And if so, what are they?
Response: Nuclear Industry has arrived late to the D&I party and whilst other industries face similar challenges they are much further ahead on their journey. Nuclear Industry is still developing its collective understanding of D&I and raising awareness. Key challenge is to embed inclusion across the sector and this is a major cultural step change. We are still very gender focused and we need to widen our approach to incorporate other diversity strands. The lack of women at the top of organisations (resulting pay gap) and few Black and Underrepresented Ethnicity groups across the sector stands out.
Question: (SQEP) is a major barrier to Diversity. What is the industry willing to do to help break this including things such as development roles for diverse candidates.
Response: I believe we need to recruit from a much bigger pool – we can find Suitably Qualified and Experience Person (SQEP) beyond the nuclear industry for a large majority of our roles. Our needs are diverse and we have careers to offer not just in technical nuclear roles that require specialist knowledge and training but also other disciplines such as Project Management, Finance, HR, Legal, Communications, and Administration. Whether you want to be a Graphic Designer or a Radiation Specialist there is a role for you within our sector. We also invest heavily in our graduate and apprentice schemes to ensure we recruit and train our future nuclear specialists so we have a pipeline of people coming through and we are working hard to try to encourage greater diversity into those cohorts each year.
Thank you for taking the time to respond to these questions Corhyn.
Corhyn was one of our interviewees featured at the Diversity and Inclusion in UK Nuclear Conference 2020. You can read more about the conference here. You can view the video featuring Corhyn and other interviewees here.
Responses prepared and published: September 2020
© Copyright. All Rights Reserved.