I&D in consumer goods and grocery - Greencore case study

23 November 2021

Natalie Rogers
Head of Group Talent Development & Inclusion, Greencore

On building your inclusion and diversity strategy at Greencore, what were your main priorities?

Our main priority was to understand our data, exploring the diversity we have in Greencore today and how this compares to the UK, enriched with the lived experiences of our people. We learnt how it feels for colleagues from a wide range of different demographic groups to work at Greencore.

How did you go about collecting and analysing diversity data?  

We took a two-pronged approach. The first focus was data analysis, we looked at every possible bit of data we could get our hands on, from information about the makeup of our workforce to more advanced data such as how people progress through Greencore.  

We started to combine multiple sets of data and it became the most detailed review ever done of the colleagues in our organisation. To enrich the data, we asked all our colleagues to share their lived experiences with us through an anonymous survey, and targeted listening groups.

We initially ran the groups based on the areas that we felt were going to be the biggest focus – gender and ethnicity. But very quickly the insights from the survey told us there was an appetite to talk about LGBTQ+, disability and general inclusion. So, we went from one or two listening groups to twenty over several weeks. This insight coupled with data enabled us to start shaping our aspirations to 2025 and the focus areas for the first two years of the strategy. These focus areas were inclusion, young people, ethnicity and gender. Once we had that clarity our work shifted to further engaging our senior leaders in our plan.  

Why was listening to employees important in building your D&I strategy?

By reaching out to colleagues, we could test, prove, or disprove any hypothesis from the data analysis. We are a people business and data alone wouldn’t get us where we needed to be, we needed our colleagues to be on the journey with us. So, for instance, our existing data told us that we had very few colleagues who had a disability. We employ over 12,000 people so I was suspicious of that. The survey indicated that that was inaccurate, and the listening groups showed that it was a bigger priority for people than we initially had thought.

Greencore’s steps to building an I&D strategy  

- Collect and analyse data to understand where the business currently stands on diversity – take note of where you have no data too, that can be as useful

- Involve colleagues so they can share their lived experiences

- Help leaders on the journey too by inviting them to take part in listening groups, hearing stories from colleagues first-hand has been so powerful for them

- Augment the findings from data and stories to find your areas of focus

What were the key challenges around collecting data?

Collecting the data, and knowing whether to trust it, is a key challenge. We realised very quickly data wouldn’t give us all we needed, so we needed to fill the gaps in with people’s thoughts and views. Going forward, to measure your progress accurately, data is important as it helps you understand your starting point.  

What changes have you seen since implementing your I&D strategy?

One of the changes we’ve seen is that colleagues’ view of inclusion is more positive with 72% of our colleagues telling us they can see we are working to be more inclusive.

Engagement in inclusion activities has been huge – we’re getting more and more colleagues wanting to be involved in the events we celebrate throughout the year.

I can hear a lot more conversations in the business about it too. When we started talking about I&D, leaders and colleagues were nervous about getting it wrong. That nervousness stopped them having the conversations entirely because they didn’t want to make a false move.

Now, we’re having more open conversations about inclusion, we’re asking more difficult questions and were being more honest that we don’t have all the answers. We are all learning together.

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