Ranjit Dhindsa, Head of Employment, Pensions, Immigration and Compliance at Fieldfisher, speaks to Trishna Naik, Global Diversity and Inclusion Manager at JLR.
What is JLR's organisational footprint?
Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) is a company of 40,000 employees.
We have 20 design, engineering, and manufacturing sites in the UK and around the world.
The end of this financial year will see us surpass £30 billion worth of investment and we plan to invest a further £15 billion over the next five years. A significant part of this investment is in our people – our global upskilling drive will reach nearly 30,000 colleagues and retail employees, preparing them for our electric-first future .
What are your key brands?
Jaguar Land Rover is a House of Brands: Range Rover; Defender; Discovery; and Jaguar.
These are truly distinct, global brands that embrace our modernist design philosophy and are emotionally compelling and unique.
Can you summarise JLR's focus on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI)?
At Jaguar Land Rover we are passionate about our people. We are committed to fostering a diverse, inclusive and unified culture that is representative of our customers and the society in which we live; a culture where every one of our employees can bring their authentic self to work and feel empowered to reach their full potential.
We have identified three strategic pillars to achieve our goal, which will shape our global EDI activity over the next five years. How they are implemented around the globe will vary and will be driven by the needs of the countries we operate in.
The three pillars are:
- Shape a culture of unity, belonging, inclusion and respect: Educate, communicate and measure inclusive behaviours regularly and systematically, improving the employee experience for all;
- Implement progressive policies, practices, benefits and support: Review and improve practices and policies to remove barriers, enable inclusion and realise equity; and
- Engage our employees and experts to accelerate progress: Collaborate with our networks, colleagues and experts to create real, positive change.
These three pillars mark the start of our journey and we will continue to improve and grow as a business.
What has been your role in the EDI process at JLR?
In 2021, I was appointed as a Global Diversity and Inclusion Manager at Jaguar Land Rover to support Jaguar Land Rover’s EDI journey and strategy.
I have 10 years experience working in various industries including Software, Energy and Automotive and my background includes Procurement and Contract Management, alongside Employee Engagement, Culture Change and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.
I started my career in procurement having done both buying and contract management across a number of different industries. This gave me a great foundation for my commercial skills, viewing value for money differently and balancing what is most economically advantageous to a business.
My commercial skills allow me to balance the areas that align to pillar 3 of our strategy, engaging experts to help us accelerate our progress. It creates a thoroughness in the buying of services in a space where there is a very wide offering of consultants and speakers.
This has been vital in my role within EDI as it can often be a space where cost plays a big part. It can be a space where some companies struggle to get budget to progress or where companies pay for multiple external services with the risk of being performative. Jaguar Land Rover has shown it’s serious intent to promote and leverage the power of the differences and uniqueness that our employees bring to work by investing in the team itself.
What started out as one person in 2020, has now grown into a team of 10 people by 2023. This alone shows that Jaguar Land Rover takes EDI seriously by providing the business with the resource it requires to make lasting change.
Since Jaguar Land Rover’s bigger focus on EDI, we have started to lay the foundations of understanding EDI across all of our global locations.
We are now set up to thoroughly review our employee lifecycle process ensuring decisions can be made objectively giving equitable access to opportunity for all.
This great work has started to be recognised as in 2023, I have been nominated for Head of Diversity and Inclusion at the Inclusive Awards and have been shortlisted for Head of Diversity and Inclusion at the Bank of London Rainbow Honours.
You entered into what is known as a Section 23 Agreement with the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC). What was in the Agreement?
Yes we did in September 2021, this agreement allowed a real focus for JLR on what we wanted to achieve with regards to EDI.
We liaised with various people within the EHRC throughout our agreement at various touchpoints. When the agreement was entered into, we decided a list of actions to be achieved in order to further EDI at JLR.
These actions were split across four quarters from September 2021 up until September 2022, and we agreed which actions would be completed in each quarter.
Examples of agreed actions were to roll out EDI e-learning modules, of which we did three, the first ‘An Introduction to EDI’, the second ‘Dignity at Work: Understanding Bullying and Harassment’ and the third module was ‘An Overview for People Managers’ with a view to reaching minimum 80% completion.
JLR reached a minimum of 92% completion across all three modules. Another was to publicise our EDI strategy both internally and externally, our EDI brochure can be found on our external Jaguar Land Rover corporate website. This was supported by submission of evidence to show completion as well as updates on future quarter’s actions, which were reviewed by EHRC.
I found that it was very helpful to have an external body keeping the company on track, as it allowed us the opportunity to create lasting change and build the foundations of knowledge on EDI as a topic for all of our colleagues.
What were the easy wins and what was harder to achieve?
Easier wins were things such as ensuring our family policies all had gender neutral language, issuing communications reminding employees of JLR’s zero tolerance policy with regards to dignity at work.
Harder wins were designing the e-learning modules content, rolling out the training and encouraging completion.
Would you advise other organisations to enter into agreements with EHRC?
I think organisations should welcome the opportunity in order to keep the business focused and accountable, it also can provide a great starting block for a company’s EDI journey.
Do you feel JLR went further than EHRC in its EDI strategy?
Absolutely, JLR outlined a five-year approach, as well as three different metrics.
Embedding this into the wider business strategy and weaving this into the company purpose and values, created a much larger cultural change in the business. EHRC helped JLR to start the journey, but as it grew, so did the focus on EDI.
JLR is data driven and utilises the data to drive action plans, review progress and measure the effect of lasting change.
If you are no longer being regulated by EHRC and your Section 23 Agreement has come to an end, who is responsible for driving the EDI agenda in JLR?
That would be me along with the wider Diversity and Inclusion team at JLR. The drive for creating a lasting change in culture, building a diverse workforce and an inclusive environment that welcomes everyone is supported highly by not just the Board of Directors and Senior Leaders within JLR but all employees at JLR.
The passion that is evident in all of our employees helps drive the business forward along with support from our Employee Resource Groups. With this support, myself and the EDI team are able to create further changes.
Looking back, are there any learning points in implementing an inclusion and diversity strategy?
I think there is always learning points in implementing anything, for me the key learning points are to ensure that any EDI strategy doesn’t come across as a Human Resources strategy.
Diversity and Inclusion is something that needs to be inherent throughout the business and is the responsibility of all business functions. If an EDI strategy appears to be HR driven, it can make the mistake of seeming like improving it is the sole responsibility of HR.
This also goes hand in hand with communication, having a very clear communication strategy internally in order to ensure all colleagues are aware of the EDI strategy, how it forms part of the wider business strategy and making it clear how everyone can support this in their day to day is crucial to embedding a strategy.
How much has it cost to put in place the EDI strategy at JLR? What has been the most expensive aspect?
The cost of this strategy is much like any business cost, the resources of the team that can form, drive and support the strategy.
Engaging external experts to help advise and accelerate our progress, ensuring there is funding for events run by our employee resource groups.
External wider events such as being the mainstage sponsor of Birmingham Pride in both 2022 and 2023. I wouldn’t say there is one most expensive aspect to implementing a strategy, but that is dependant on who you have working in the team.
I have a procurement background, so for JLR, I have ensured it is cost effective without compromising on the quality of the work that needs to be done, by being clear on priorities to implement the strategy.
Return on Investment must always be in mind to get the best out of the money spent. EDI is important to JLR but actions speak louder than words.
The growth of the team, the investment in EDI specific communications roles as well as funding for training roll outs and sponsorship opportunities speaks volumes.
Is your inclusion and diversity strategy going forward a UK strategy or a global one?
Our EDI strategy has always been a global strategy, underpinned by our Global EDI Policy. However, the implementation of this has been predominantly UK focused in the last two years.
The priority for this year and moving forward is a much bigger focus on the global countries we operate in, embedding localised strategies and creating the foundational learning taking into account cultural differences, legalities, languages and varied approaches to EDI.
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