Diversity Initiative 2021


The Atalian Servest Diversity Initiative

Sponsored by: PRS Facilities

Diversity Initiative 2021

Explanation / Details

Atalian Servest’s diversity initiative comprises three parts: an ‘innovation challenge’, a digital learning platform, and a D&I platform that itself comprises three networks (LGBTQ; Physical & Mental Health; Race, Ethnicity & Faith.)

These initiatives come from recognising that while frontline operations are more diverse than the national demographic average, this did not translate into similarly diverse representation in senior positions. The pandemic, and the rise to prominence of the Black Lives Matter movement, were other important catalysts.

Last year, Atalian Servest’s UK & Ireland Board called an emergency meeting and agreed to make D&I a permanent agenda item in all future board meetings.

Each board sponsor was assigned a D&l topic so that they could conduct research, both internally and externally, to understand the challenges employees face and what other organisations are doing to combat them.

The company also engaged with target clients who represented ‘what good looks like’ from a D&l perspective; Lloyds Bank suggested ‘stretch targets’, leading Atalian Servest to set goals including 30% of senior leadership team being female and 100% of managers being trained in mental health and D&I.

Results gleaned

The initiatives, each focused on a different aspect of D&I, are:

ONE (One New Entrepreneur) is an innovation challenge competition encouraging employees to use their experiences and knowledge to make a difference to the business, colleagues or clients.

D&I platform CHROMA (Creating Harmony, Respecting Others, Making Allies) includes LGBTQ+, Physical & Mental Health, and Race, Ethnicity & Faith networks, made up of a colleague-led committee and two board sponsors who champion inclusiveness, improve company policies and governance, “empowering all of our colleagues to use their voice for proactive change”.

Opportunity, an ‘experience platform’, provides courses and customised content so that employees can be proactive in their up-skilling.

The main objective was to engage with frontline operatives; and over 30% of ONE entries and one in six CHROMA sign ups were from this group – the highest frontline engagement of any initiative.

The 2020 winner of ONE started as a cleaning operative, identifying as BAME and LGBTQ+. Their idea, to multi-skill frontline operatives, is currently being implemented.

One security engineer reported feeling included despite normally feeling ‘quite removed from the company’.

Key learning

It was identified early on that the challenge would be engaging frontline operatives. The title ‘principal influencer’ was given to employees believed to have large networks within the business who could most positively influence colleagues’ awareness of these initiatives.

Microsites for CHROMA and ONE were created to create further opportunities for our colleagues to engage, and also to share the initiatives with the FM industry and clients. Email campaigns, printed collateral and promotional links on payslips also helped to reach every employee.

The Race, Ethnicity & Faith network has signed up to the Race at Work Charter, while the ONE competition is to be run on an annual basis.

The next step is to integrate each initiative into contracts, while a further intention is to ensure transparent and continuous progression data is available for colleagues and the wider public, thus encouraging colleagues to continue openly sharing their experiences and opinions.

Key quote

“This will give our colleagues the confidence to know that their experiences and backgrounds are listened to and that they can champion change beyond just our organisation.”