Daniel Webster, dWeb.News Publisher
(16 November 2021) Asda has launched a digital diversity and inclusion space in its existing recognition, reward and benefits platform to offer its 140,000 colleagues a safe space to discuss and share personal stories. The digital space “Our Inclusion Network”, which is part of Asda’s diversity and inclusion strategy, aims to foster conversations among colleagues and close the gap between central inclusion team members and shop floor colleagues.
With the aim of creating a ‘one-stop-shop’ for colleague engagement, Asda’s colleagues access the inclusion area through “Our Asda” – Asda’s existing recognition, reward and benefits portal, built on River Software’s “Rippl” platform. Asda colleagues can join five open networks: disAbility (ethnicity, gender and wellbeing), LGBT+ (wellbeing), and 5 others. You can post photos and videos about your experiences on a social timeline.
In addition to the five open network groups, five closed connection groups are available for colleagues with lived experiences – Trans/Non-Binary/Gender Fluidity, Baby Loss, Carers, Fertility and Menopause. These groups allow for private conversations between colleagues. The central account of the Inclusion team acts as care and concern. It ensures that colleagues’ posts are acknowledged and support is given where necessary.
Commenting on the old approach to diversity, inclusion, Kane Stephenson (Asda’s Inclusion manager) says: “ We used to have six colleagues resource groups that looked after six aspects of inclusion. However, this was limited to 20 members, which meant there were only six 120 people talking about inclusion at once.
We knew that we needed to make inclusion more accessible and allow everyone to join the discussion.
“The inclusion area of the ‘Our Asda’ platform has allowed us to remove these barriers, particularly as our previous groups were face-to-face, whereas this online approach means Asda is future-proofed for the digital world.”
The inclusion community has grown steadily since its launch in May 2021, and Asda hopes to drive further engagement during six weeks of activity, starting with national inclusion week and the theme of “United for Inclusion”. Asda will launch a “What Can I Do Differently?” campaign to encourage colleagues to think about small ways they can make their workplace and personal lives more inclusive.
Faye Devenney is Asda’s Diversity &Inclusion Coordinator. She explains that the digital inclusion area has been essential to give head office insight into the priorities of colleagues. “ Before the digitised community, it was difficult for the diversity and inclusion team to identify events during the year that they should observe. Now we have these communities; we can ensure that the business is focusing on the events that matter most to our people, giving them a say on what they would like to see Asda supporting and celebrating.”
Chris Brown, Rippl’s managing director, adds: “We’re very proud of our partnership with Asda, and we were highly honoured when asked to develop their existing recognition, reward and benefits platform to encompass diversity and inclusion.
Much thought has been put into the way the digital groups protect colleagues. This includes AI software that flags inappropriate content and allows the head office to approve or reject any posted material.
It has been a turbulent few years in the retail industry for obvious reasons, so to provide Asda with the employee engagement tools it needs to connect with its incredible workforce is very satisfying, and I’m looking forward to seeing how Our Asda develops.”
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