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 Dr Des Wright, Nuclear Authority, National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL).
Question: How do we attract a more diverse applicant pool to Nuclear you mentioned? Make STEM more attractive to non-STEM, mid-career transitions etc?
Response: A lot of the answer to this is about who we choose to be the “faces of our industry”. Great to see that our sector’s senior leadership is now much more diverse than it used to be, in some ways at least. We’ve all done some good work in showcasing diversity across our younger people and in our recruitment activity – and we’ve seen fantastic results there.
I agree there is more to do in terms of mid-career colleagues and people potentially transferring into the sector from outside. We need to make sure we don’t forget this level – and that we build on the great work of conferences such as this one!
Question: Over reliance on recruitment alone does not assist those in the workplace today. What time & space to open discussion & learning are companies giving now?
Response: Absolutely right – recruitment is just the start of the process, not an end point. Within NNL we have focused a lot on getting the culture right all across the organisation to welcome and encourage diversity and to help eradicate conscious or unconscious bias. We ran a training programme focused on Dignity and Respect in the workplace a couple of years ago, which was mandatory for all employees and involved a full day workshop for everyone in the business. We have also relaunched our Values and Behaviours recently with a strong focus on respect for all.
Our ED&I (Equality, Diversity and Inclusion) group within NNL is active and carrying out some great work – including leading on some pan-NNL activities during lockdown, such as a monthly online Pub Quiz which has been very popular and which has raised the profile of the ED&I community. They also have a strong work programme, with five active workstreams looking at:
• enabling entry into NNL and the wider market
• Encouraging career development and leadership by removing barriers to progression
• Promoting an inclusive workplace culture and quality of work
• Accreditation, and
• Communications and engagement
Question: How can the executive leadership ensure cultural transformation at the middle management level which seem to be blockers for promoting D&I talent and ideas?
Response: I think this is very similar to the question about what companies can do other than simply focus on recruitment. All of the activities I mentioned in NNL are fully supported by both the Executive Team and the Board. And that support extends to active engagement and sponsorship at senior level.
Question: Has the pandemic caused you (NNL) to review or adapt anything? e.g. Maybe with regards to working parents / care givers.
Response: Absolutely. We’ve been in close contact with our employees since the very start of all this back in March, and we’ve run two all-employee surveys to gauge how people are feeling and the challenges they are facing (work and outside of work). We’ve also launched another survey for all our colleagues to look specifically at how they would like to work in future – recognising that we’ve learned an awful lot over recent months about our resilience across the business and just how much we ARE able to accomplish without everyone physically being in the workplace.
All of this will factor into our decision-making about what the future way of working across NNL may look like, to help deliver the benefits of a more flexible approach – for both individuals and the business.
Thank you for taking the time to respond to these questions Des.
Des 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 Des and other interviewees here.
Responses prepared and published: August 2020
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