Diversity and inclusion at Expleo

  • Sync NI caught up with Hannah McAteer, Senior People Services Manager at Expleo NI to discuss how the company is working to promote diversity and inclusion.

    How did you start out in Expleo?

    I first joined Expleo in August after finishing my MSc in Psychological Science at Queens University Belfast. Having completed a HR Management degree and over six years’ post graduate experience, I developed a passion for organisational culture and employee motivation. My MSc, meanwhile, gave me a greater understanding of human behaviours.

    The role of Senior Consultant in People Services therefore seemed like a perfect opportunity: supporting the business with engagement and retention, including facilitating initiatives to improve employee wellbeing and job satisfaction, as well as fostering an environment of trust and innovation. I was referred by a good friend who has worked for Expleo for more than three years. She had nothing but great things to say about Expleo as an organisation, including the magnitude of employee benefits and the opportunity for career progression. It was a natural fit.

    What attracted you to your current role?

    The first thing that caught my eye was the diversity of the role. Given the nature of a consultancy business, Expleo works with a range of clients and employees across different sectors. Our employees have diverse skillsets ranging from software development and business analysis, to quality assurance and RPA roles. For me, this means that no two days are the same. One day I could be working on operational employee matters, the next day I could be working on regional projects across the UK and Ireland. This could include compensation and benefits reviews, wellbeing initiatives, or engaging in diversity and inclusion projects.

    Do you think that there are particular groups that need more representation within the tech sector?

    It's no surprise that women are still underrepresented in the technology sector. One of Expleo's biggest challenges as a STEM organisation is attracting female talent in a male-dominated industry. We still have a higher male headcount than females overall, but this is something that we are actively working to improve on through a number of diversity programmes. So far, through gender-focused initiatives, we have successfully increased our female representation to 28%. As an organisation we are moving in the right direction, but as an industry, we have a long way to go.

    Why do you think diversity and inclusion is so important within a company like Expleo?

    We operate in increasingly diverse and competitive communities internationally. We recognise the value of a diverse workforce in helping us to understand the needs of our large and diverse customer base. This can help to ensure we tailor our products and services accordingly, as well as support sales growth and customer retention.

    Any drive towards greater diversity must be supported by meaningful inclusion initiatives and policies. At Expleo, we have a strong focus on our community and employee wellbeing. We want our team members to feel respected and recognised. We want them to enjoy their work, but also to enjoy their time with each other. It is so important to us that our work environment is a positive one and that is why we put such an emphasis on inclusion.

    Can you tell me about some of the initiatives Expleo has in place to promote diversity and inclusion within the company?

    In 2019, we revised our Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion Policy for the UK and Ireland. The policy outlines our commitment to ensuring equality at work; that no one receives less favourable treatment on any discriminatory grounds. One of our key people priorities has been to focus on diversity and inclusion locally. Expleo's UK and Ireland Managing Directors drive diversity and inclusion and champion the diversity and inclusion agenda to ensure that it is heard and addressed at the most senior levels within the organisation.

    We have an established Diversity and Inclusion Committee and seven Employee Resource Groups (ERGs): multiculturalism, gender balance, neurodiversity, parents and carers, LGBTQ+, sustainability and wellbeing. The purpose of these groups is to help strengthen communities across Expleo and ensure a strong employee voice in future diversity and inclusion initiatives. The members are given supports by senior leadership such as time off work to dedicate to the groups and they are assigned budgets for events and activities. Each group has a senior-level sponsor, and all initiatives are endorsed publicly and attended by Expleo's Managing Director, Phil Codd and Head of Expleo NI, Rob McConnell. 

    We have also launched a number of initiatives to help to promote gender balance, such as a virtual book club focusing on educational books such as "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time", "Women Don't Owe You Pretty" and "Non-Binary Lives".

    Our new Mentorship Programme called ‘A Bolder You’ aims to advance individual career progression and increase diversity at senior management level. 

    Our Returners Programme helps women who have been out of full-time employment for 12+ months to come back into the workforce. Meanwhile, our 'Women in Tech' campaign invited the women in our business to share their stories about how they became a 'woman in tech' and to highlight the many roles that exist in the technology sector. 

    And our STEM Ambassador programme recruited nine female ambassadors across our UK and Ireland offices to take time to visit schools to educate young women on careers in technology. They also offer advice and support to women internally to progress their careers.

    These are just some of the initiatives that we have put in place in the last 12 months. We are relentlessly working to ensure that Expleo provides an inclusive environment that is enjoyable for everyone and that helps people to fulfil their potential.

    Outside of these initiatives how does Expleo work to encourage diversity and inclusion in the workplace?

    We are proud to have strong processes and policies in place that protect and support diversity. These include enhanced leave entitlements for a range of personal and family matters. We also have an Expleo fusion policy, offering a blended working model to facilitate working parents.

    We have removed any gender-biased language from our job ads and offer recruitment and diversity training for all career managers. Since 2017, we have created an annual Gender Pay Gap Report to ensure pay equality in our organisation.

    This article first appeared in the Winter 2021/22 edition of the Sync NI magazine. You can download your FREE copy and sign up to receive future digital editions here.

    About the author

    Aoife is a Sync NI writer with a previous background working in print, online and broadcast media. She has a keen interest in all things tech related. To connect with Aoife feel free to send her an email or connect on LinkedIn.

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