Royal Mail’s Diversity and Inclusion initiatives benefit from Springboard

Springboard, a women’s development programme from The Springboard Consultancy (SBC), is helping Royal Mail cement its place as one of The Times’ Top 50 Employers for Women.

One of the few FTSE 100 companies with a female CEO, Royal Mail now has relatively high gender diversity at Board and senior management grades, where 33 per cent of members are female – as are 29 per cent of employees at senior management level in the company.

“Royal Mail employed fewer women in the mid-1990s – and it was at that time that the company came across SBC, a UK-based international training company specialising in addressing women’s development issues,” observed Kay Clements, Diversity and Inclusion Manager for Royal Mail Group. “Royal Mail set up a pilot Springboard programme in the South West of England and the results were encouraging.

“Then, in 2005, a company survey revealed what appeared to be a lack of confidence among our female employees. Having worked with SBC in the 1990s and gained such positive feedback from the participants, we knew exactly who to contact in 2005.”

The Springboard programme – delivered over three months – combines self-paced learning with a workbook, support networks, role models and one-day workshops. It aims to help women:
• Assess their current situation,
• Decide their next steps for personal and work development,
• Equip individuals with the positive attitude, confidence and skills to take these steps, and
• Encourage participants to accept responsibility for their own development.

“This programme is now seen as among the company’s ‘flagship development opportunities’ – and is a key part of Royal Mail’s Gender Action Plan, helping women to know what they want and have the confidence to get it,” said Kay. “It’s helping women to address issues in the workplace and at home – and improve their experience of working for Royal Mail Group.”

From 2005 to 2012, Royal Mail had run some 50 Springboard programmes, reaching over 700 women, and over ten per cent of these women progressed to take up management roles. However, by 2012, Royal Mail realised that it needed to ‘raise its game’ where women in operational and front-line jobs were concerned.

The company’s Gender Steering Group (GSG) agreed to support a further 1,000 female non-managers through the Springboard programme during 2013/14. This was endorsed by Royal Mail’s Corporate Executive Committee (CEC) and the initiative also received full trade union support.

“Our corporate experience with the Springboard programme shows that it gives women the confidence – and the assertiveness skills – to challenge a traditional ‘male dominated culture’,” Kay said.

“The Springboard programme is also playing a key part in helping women to move into a first management role, so we’re beginning to use the Spring Forward programme to help them take the next step – into middle management roles,” added Kay, “ and we’re already seeing the benefit of the whole Springboard initiative as more women are applying for management roles.

“Springboard is part of our corporate DNA now – and an integral part of our gender strategy.”

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About Royal Mail
Royal Mail is the UK’s most trusted letters and parcels delivery company, supporting customers, businesses and communities around the country. It is the designated Universal Postal Service Provider and the only company delivering a ‘one-price-goes-anywhere’, six days a week service to more than 29m addresses across the UK. Its vision is to be recognised as the best delivery company in the UK and across Europe. Royal Mail floated on the London Stock Exchange in October 2013 and is now a member of the FTSE 100. Royal Mail is one of the UK’s major employers – employing some 143,000 people, with one in every 180 employees in the UK working for Royal Mail. It is a major purchaser of goods and services and in the financial year 2014/15, Royal Mail was the sixth largest contributor to the economy of all UK corporations. Its impact on the UK economy amounted to £11.1bn in direct and indirect contributions, including employment, procurement and taxation.

About Springboard
The Springboard Women’s Development Programme enables women – from all backgrounds, ages and stages of their lives – to identify the clear, practical and realistic steps that they want to take to make a better world for themselves at work and home, while building the practical skills and confidence to take these steps. It’s delivered through an extensive network of licensed trainers and has been used by over 230,000 women in 43 countries. For employers, the Springboard programme enables them to develop staff to their fullest potential and is often a key component in any Diversity, Inclusion and/or gender initiatives.

About The Springboard Consultancy (SBC)
The Springboard Consultancy (SBC) is an international training company, with a proven track record in work and personal development training, particularly addressing women’s development issues – especially via its award-winning ‘Springboard Women’s Development Programme’. Its core business is training and licensing trainers to deliver award-winning development courses – to people of all genders and all ages – via an international network of professional licensed trainers in locations around the world. In this way, over 240,000 people have used its programmes and over 1,300 trainers have been trained in 42 countries around the world.

SBC has developed a reputation for creativity, innovation and quality, balanced with down-to-earth pragmatism and good value. It believes that everyone is ‘born to shine’ and that life circumstances and lack of skills and opportunities often prevent that happening, to the detriment of all. It uses training to enable everyone, especially women, to develop themselves further – benefitting the person, their employer, family and wider community.

For more information, please contact:
Georgina Pullen, SBC, +44 (0)1271 850828;
Bob Little, Bob Little Press & PR, +44 (0)1727 860405;