I&D: 60 second interview – Steph Welch, London Office Leader, Arup
60 second interview — Steph Welch, London Office Leader, Arup
As part of our plans to drive forward a more inclusive vision of doing business in London, we’ve launched a series of short interviews to find out what some of our members are doing to improve inclusion and diversity (I&D) within their own organisations. Today we hear from Steph Welch, London Office Leader at Arup.
Q. Why is having an inclusive and diverse working environment important to you?
For me, it is important to work within an environment where everyone can bring their whole self to work. Arup’s values and employee ownership are a key reason why many people choose to work here. We want to work for a company that pushes boundaries, to improve our ways of working, our communities and our world and we as members can affect this.
It is wonderful to work for a company with a strong ethos and values that you can support whole heartedly.
‘Where every member is treated not only as a link in a chain of command, not only as a wheel in a bureaucratic machine, but as a human being whose happiness is the concern of all, who is treated not only as a means but as an end.’ — Sir Ove Arup – Key Speech 1970
Q. What are some of the steps that Arup is taking to push this agenda forward across the organisation?
In January 2019, we launched ‘Total Inclusion’ EDI strategy for Arup in the UKIMEA Region, including our four strategic aims:
A diverse workforce at all grades and career stages.
A more inclusive culture and behaviours.
EDI becomes integral to how we deliver our projects and other activities.
We use our influence and lead the way in creating user-centred solutions that benefit diverse people and communities.
This included launching gender targets, developing a race action plan, introducing inclusive hiring training, integrating EDI in all stages of the project lifecycle, and developing thought leadership research such as Queer Public Spaces.
Q. As we Celebrate Pride month, what more do you think businesses could do to create an inclusive working environment?
Pride is only one month of the year – there is so much more organisations can do:
Setup an LGBTQ+ Employee Resource Group – our Connect Out Network recently celebrated its 10-year anniversary and has been instrumental in driving inclusion across Arup and our industry.
Ensure your policies are LGBTQ+ inclusive – e.g., review them for gender-neutral language or developing a transitioning at work guidance.
Share and amplify stories of the LGBTQ+ community, from a wide range of intersectional backgrounds, internally and on social media platforms.
Partner with LGBTQ+ organisations such as Mermaids, Bi Pride UK, and Stonewall to help improve awareness and education of various identities under the LGBTQ+ umbrella.
We were proud to rank 2nd in Stonewall’s Workplace Equality index and 1st in our sector, as a gold employer. This recognition demonstrates our dedication to working towards LGBTQ+ inclusion.
Q. When it comes to improving diversity at a senior level, what does Arup do to support people in their journey to the top?
We are continuously working to improve diversity at a senior level and there’s a vast number of examples:
We analysed our employee diversity data and undertook consultation with under-represented groups, to understand career development barriers and opportunities to make our processes more equitable.
We developed and are implementing our Race and Ethnicity Plan to increase the representation of ethnic minority members, at all grades.
Our promotions process has been reviewed to ensure that there is equity of access for all underrepresented groups.
Mentorship is available to all, including reciprocal mentoring to ensure our leadership continue to improve and represent us all.
Q. What advice would you give to organisations starting their including and diversity journey?
You can learn so much from what others are doing, and there is a wealth of information out there for you to draw from.
Employ an EDI expert to ensure this agenda is driven forward.
Link in with others and expand your network, working with others fosters ideas and a collective way forward.
Think about what you would like to see and share this with others, ensuring people understand it is a safe environment to speak out.
Start a user group within your company asking your employees what developments they want to see.
Ensure that EDI is included in every process and change you make within the company from mentorship through to promotions