John Lewis, Sainsbury’s and Dixons Carphone launch retail diversity initiative

Big UK retailers have founded Diversity in Retail (DiR) to drive equality across the consumer goods sector.

John Lewis Partnership, Wickes, WHSmith, Sainsbury’s, EG Garages, Dr Martens, Dixons Carphone, and Kingfisher are the founding members of the organisation, with Tea Colaianni as its founder and chair.

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Colaianni, who is on the board at the Black Business Institute, and holds non executive directorship for several other organisations, said she hopes the new initiative has a positive impact on all retail employees, customers and society as a whole.

“I passionately believe that no single company can make progress with the inclusion agenda on its own.

“I am inspired by the commitment and collective efforts of the community’s founding members and look forward to working together with senior leaders to expand the reach of the DiR community and make a tangible difference,” she added.

DiR's mission is to support companies across the retail industry to create diverse and inclusive environments and positively impact one million employees globally by 2025.

Claira Singh, inclusion and diversity manager at Wickes, told HR magazine the new retail diversity initiative has been welcomed by employees and employers alike. 

She said: "At Wickes, we're committed to creating a diverse and inclusive workplace where everyone, regardless of who they are, their background or what they do for the business, feels equally involved in and supported in all areas of the workplace.

"As a member of the global Valuable 500 initiative, we wanted to highlight our commitment to upskill our management teams so they could support those with disabilities amongst our colleagues and customers."

Singh said the launch of DiR training programme is a step towards honouring that commitment today and moving forward.

Nikki Humphrey, executive director, people at John Lewis Partnership, said she hopes the DiR initiative will help foster a sense of belonging for employees.

“Being a founding member of the DiR community enables us all to work together across the sector to make the step change and open up opportunities for all," she said.

All founding members have committed to taking action to create more inclusive workplaces where everyone can bring their whole self to work

The DiR said it hopes to enhance diversity in the workplace by championing the underrepresented, creating space for conversation, and supporting peer businesses by sharing examples of best practice.

Kate Seljeflot, chief people officer at Kingfisher, said it is now more important than ever to ensure businesses are diverse.

She said: “At Kingfisher, we believe there is true strength in difference, and we are committed to taking action to create a truly inclusive culture.

“Joining the DIR community will help us on our journey of change for our colleagues and customers and we are looking forward to coming together with other retailers to help create sustainable change across our industry and broader society.”


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