In February 2018, Lloyds Banking Group made headlines as it achieved the highest possible grade in the Business Disability Standard, the world’s first tool to measure accessibility and inclusion in the workplace. The Group became one of only 2 organisations to attain a score of 90 or more on the Standard’s 100-point scale, more than once since the assessment was launched in 2004.
Sarah Redmond, Disability Work Experience Programme Manager at Lloyds, will join our Diversity and Inclusion Conference on 5th June 2019 to share her journey setting up the Group’s disability at work programme. Below we find out more about the widely acclaimed programme.
Lloyds Banking Group’s commitment to diversity and inclusion in the workplace is among the most respected in the country. Their latest Disability Standard certification came on the heels of their Disability Smart Award in November 2017 for including disabled customers in the process of designing services.
Their commitment came to life in 2014 when the Group Disability Team together with the Inclusion & Diversity Team decided to offer support to individuals with a disability and no work experience, or those who have been out of work for more than 12 months.
A Matter of Confidence
“Most disabilities are acquired across lifetime but many of them are not visible so that’s where the struggle comes. It affects confidence,” Sarah explains.
While traditionally, an employer could only accommodate disabled talent by making changes in infrastructure and working practices, Sarah and her team decided to take it one step further and help develop disabled talent on their chosen career path.
The team partnered with Remploy, a work placement provider specifically tailored to candidates with disabilities, to provide experience and build confidence in this vastly underrepresented talent demographic. Within the space of 4 years, the programme has gone from attracting 46 placements a year to almost 400.
A Support Mechanism
“This is not a pipelining exercise,” Sarah continues, “it’s more of a social responsibility programme, supporting otherwise overlooked talent on their journey to employability,” Sarah continues. The programme invites people of all ages and backgrounds into Lloyds’s offices for 2 weeks, to train them on CV writing, interviewing and personal brand development. Participants at the end of the programme then receive a certificate of completion which can attest their skills to potential employers.
“But this programme doesn’t just benefit the candidate. It’s a great opportunity for our hosts to become more disability confident, opening them up to people they wouldn’t normally meet and learning things they can ultimately take back to their teams and customers to implement.”
At the heart of the programme lie the relationships that the candidates and hosts build and can nurture for a lifetime. “It’s a support mechanism, giving life skills to those who critically need it. Our colleagues become invested in the programme and some even carry on contact with candidates, offering them further mentoring support. Some candidates then stay on to work with us, others take the new skills they’ve acquired into new organisations.”
Lloyds Banking Group’s Disability at Work Programme teaches us that it doesn’t take big budget to be more inclusive. All it takes is a commitment for change and the necessary support network from leadership to drive change. Last year, 3.9 million people of working age with disabilities were in employment, up 1.5% from the year before. With more companies like Lloyds stepping in to make a difference, the UK is on track to meet the Government’s target of 4.5 million people with disabilities in employment by 2027.