March 08 2021
Jess Lomax, Head of Organisational Development at First Bus, writes about the work First Bus are doing to continue improving equality, diversity and inclusion, and reflects on her own journey.
Here at First Bus we are proud of the diverse communities in which we work and our increasingly diverse colleague base; however, we know we still have more to do on our equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) journey.
In late 2020 we engaged an external expert partner to lead us through a full ‘EDI health check’ of the business, seeking to understand what we do well in the space and what we could do better. As part of this, we were keen to understand much more than policies and ways of working but also to listen to our colleagues’ experiences in order to create a strategy and action plan that will truly make a difference - and enable all colleagues, and potential future colleagues to feel, heard, valued and included.
The benefits of a diverse workforce have been written about extensively; from improved financial performance, increased trust in your company brand, to the engagement it establishes with your employees, and the innovation that diversity of thought brings to an organisation. Putting time and effort into EDI makes clear business sense. Plus, it’s certainly the right thing to do from a social and moral perspective and I am pleased that here at First Bus we understand that, are aware that there is room to improve and are taking progressive action to do so.
Having spent most of my HR career in what have been traditionally ‘male dominated’ industries, ensuring equality of opportunity for all and giving all colleagues a voice has been hugely important to me. I know how daunting it is to walk into a depot or mess room as the sole female and how sometimes my voice wasn’t heard as loudly as others, but I have also been lucky enough to have had some great female role models and mentors to give me the confidence to “feel the fear and do it anyway”. With the appointment of Janette Bell, as our MD, I once again have an excellent role model to look up to and one who truly values the benefits of a diverse workforce.
I am proud of the work we have started here at First Bus and am excited to see how it progresses and what the future holds in our EDI space – we want First Bus to be an employer of choice for everyone. And, in keeping with International Women’s Day, it’s my personal mission to help rebalance the gender split across all areas of the business by continuing to advocate the transport sector as a great place to work for women.
Jess Lomax (MCIPD)
Head of Organisational Development,