Building the Business Case and Strategy for Equality, Diversity & Inclusion (EDI) at Sellafield Ltd

The client’s challenge:

Sellafield Ltd. (Sellafield) has to deliver on a challenging mission reflecting the shift of its strategic direction from fuel reprocessing to nuclear decommissioning, hazard reduction, and storage. This backdrop provides a strong rationale for a greater focus on equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI), as part of its broader improvement plans and change initiatives.

Sellafield is an organisation that can genuinely describe itself as unique even within the UK nuclear industry. The factors which differentiate Sellafield include its history and heritage, its mission
and business objectives, its physical workplace (including exceptional safety and security considerations) and the exacting expectations placed on the company by a range of external stakeholders.

As an employer, Sellafield has an unusually symbiotic relationship between its primary site and the local community of West Cumbria. Sellafield draws the vast majority of its workforce from the immediate geographical area surrounding its operations. The Sellafield business therefore makes a positive contribution to the local economy through the provision of relatively highly-rewarded jobs for
thousands of local people.

Before engaging Capita, Sellafield’s approach to EDI was limited in terms of impact and efficiency. There was little data available to support compliance or improvement, and a lack of reliable insight into employee experience. This made it difficult for Sellafield to measure business value or return on investment and therefore there was a lack of funding and support for EDI activities. 

Employee feedback suggested that there are women, younger employees and those from ethnic and religious minorities who feel marginalised and excluded to some extent. The leadership team
recognised that it didn’t have a full understanding of employee perceptions in these critical areas which presented a business risk.

Our approach:
Sellafield’s HR team engaged Capita to develop an organisation-specific EDI business case and strategy to enable them to secure the support, commitment and investment to design and deliver an EDI strategy. The scope of the project included the development of:

- A clearly articulated, compelling and coherent EDI business
case - specific to Sellafield;
- A robust EDI strategy outlining key work streams and activities
over the short, medium and longer term
- An appropriate EDI governance policy and model;
- An EDI measurement and reporting framework; and
- An EDI implementation and communications plan

We engaged closely with key stakeholders to meet the requirements
for each of the deliverables as part of a collaborative process in
partnership with the client.

Our solution:

1. Data-gathering:
• Desktop review of existing company literature including corporate and career websites
• Profile of workforce composition and associated metrics: reward data, employee engagement survey questions and results, and information regarding pre-existing EDI-related activities
• Site visits, interviews and discussions with Trade Union representatives, EDI Steering Group members, HR managers, and the Executive team 
• Facilitation of focus group discussions with under-represented communities aligned to protected characteristics under the Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED)

2. Analysis
• Sifting and interpreting data identify implications, opportunities and challenges from which conclusions could be reached to inform key priorities for change

3. Design
• Using the analysis to create each of the business case and strategy deliverables within the project scope in documents of Sellafield’s choosing and consistent with their own style and language

4. Validation
• Testing the deliverables with stakeholders to adjust and finalise the key documents before seeking sign-off from the Executive Committee
• Coaching session with the executive team to bring them up to a consistent level of understanding in relation to EDI and its importance and relevance to business strategy 

Business outcomes:

Our data-gathering methodology and analyses, provided a credible platform on which to develop and articulate the business rationale and recommended strategy, whilst providing a sound basis for
measuring future success based on an understanding of the likely return on investment.

The Sellafield EDI strategy was constructed around the principles of inclusion and equality throughout the employee lifecycle and the core HR processes within it - designed to maximise benefits both to the business and to employees of all backgrounds, at every career stage.

Our recommendations included:

• Focusing on increasing diversity within key senior roles (technical and leadership), and retention of all diverse talent, due to Sellafield’s reliance on the local labour market. 
• Improvements in flexible working options in order to greatly enhance the company’s ability to attract and retain the best diverse talent for senior technical and leadership roles.
• Leveraging existing employee diversity by improving the diversity of the pipeline to senior roles, and eliminating barriers to inclusive, equitable career progression.
• Policy and process redesign, as well as culture change to bring about greater inclusivity, including the development of leader and manager capabilities, such as unconscious bias awareness and behaviour change through inclusive leadership.

The business case and strategy provided the means with which to engage senior stakeholders, build commitment and challenge their thinking. It helped to shift Sellafield’s thinking and approach
to EDI from one of ‘compliance’ to a genuine ‘recognition of EDI’s relevance to their business agenda’ and the associated impact EDI would have on stronger, more sustainable business performance.

Sellafield’s previous tactical approach to EDI was limited in terms of effecting change. The senior team were now presented with a clear roadmap for implementing a more impactful plan, including
practical EDI interventions introduced in a progressive, phased and manageable way.

The EDI business case and strategy was given full support and commitment by the Executive team and signed off in November 2016. All proposed recommendations together with the investment
required to operationalise the strategy over the following two years was agreed.

Executed effectively, Sellafield’s EDI strategy will help it to achieve its business objectives and improve its overall performance in a sustainable way. Sellafield now has an opportunity to become an EDI leader within the Nuclear industry which will greatly, enhance its reputation as an employer of choice.

How EDI Supports Sellafield’s Business Performance
(add graph - see original PDF)

The success of our engagement with Sellafield has led to a similar process being initiated at all of the other seven Site Licence and Subsidiary companies operating within the Nuclear Decommissioning (NDA) estate. The overall aim for this new project is to develop, and support the delivery of,
localised EDI strategies in addition to designing an overarching principles and values-based EDI framework for the Nuclear Decommissioning industry.