Denis Fee, Head of Learning and Development and lead for ED&I at Arriva Rail London

“Equality, diversity and inclusion is at the heart of our value set and culture” says Denis Fee, Head of Learning and Development and lead for ED&I at Arriva Rail London.

“We firmly believe that as an employer we should reflect our local community’s diverse make up which we know makes our Capital city the envy of the world.

For most employers the real challenge of Inclusivity is as much about understanding what it means to be Inclusive as it is about doing “lots of good stuff that feels right”. Even with the best will in the world you still need professional guidance and a focus for your activities. Back in March this year I heard about the development of a new National Inclusion Standard with the work on it being led by Inclusive Employers who we were already in partnership with.

This sounded like too good an opportunity to miss out on and so I enquired as to whether ARL might be able to gain a place on this ground-breaking Pilot. As luck had it we were able to get on board just in time. So why did we do it? As I see it the opportunity to pilot the all new National Inclusion Standard makes perfect sense for Arriva Rail London as it gives us a framework and a set of standards created by Inclusion experts, to not only establish our position, but to also guide our improvement actions over time.

We are also very proud to be the first Train Operating Company in the UK to get involved in the National Inclusion Standard and of course we are keen to see others follow suit.”

Customer Experience Director Stella Rogers said “London Overground is all about people, our aim is to create a diverse and inclusive workplace to reflect the communities we serve. World class service starts from valuing your own people and giving everyone the chance to excel. Committing to the National Inclusion Standard is a sign of our commitment to make a difference. Working with our partners at Inclusive Employers we will bring best practice to our business.”

Denis continues. “It really is important for us to now use the Inclusion Standard and framework to drive our Inclusion agenda forward to generate real and measurable improvements. On Inclusion, as with many important areas we also collaborate very closely with TfL and the rest of the supply chain and partner organisations to share best practice and to support each other. We feel that the Inclusion agenda is a shared agenda and is most definitely not just another management type initiative.

To help bring the Inclusion agenda to life we have formed an internal ED&I Forum from across the business to act as a conduit for the learning but also to oversee our improvement plans, making sure that they ultimately become our employees lived experience. It’s important to Arriva Rail London that the whole business embraces the ED&I agenda and that our achievements and progressions then really embed and ultimately become the norm."

HR Director Oli Gant said “I believe that for a business to be effective it needs to create the conditions for its people to succeed. Diversity and Inclusion is fundamental to the success of our business. Working in an environment that celebrates difference will help us to become the Biggest and Best Train Operator in the UK. We have a lot of work to do, but we are committed to making a difference.”

Our execs are clear that Inclusion in the workplace is not only right for our culture but that it makes a great deal of business and commercial sense…

Managing Director Will Rogers added “Key to delivering our world class vision for our customers is ensuring that we have a wide range of voices (we are diverse) and that every voice is heard (we are inclusive). Diversity and inclusion will enable us to be the best that we can be by identifying new and better solutions that benefit our people, customers and communities that we serve across London.”

And so, following our assessment we now focus on further developing our Continuous Improvement plans and carrying on with our journey. We have made progress already and being pioneers of the Inclusion Standard is a great first step.