The Task

HS2 (High-Speed 2) stands as a cornerstone rail project in the UK’s infrastructure landscape, redefining the nation’s connectivity and development. Osita Madu, the Senior ED&I (Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion) Manager for Supply Chain, spearheads HS2’s commitment to fostering a more inclusive and diverse work environment for it’s employees as well as it’s suppliers. With a steadfast dedication to advancing ED&I initiatives, HS2 is focused on implementing effective strategies to ensure fairness and representation throughout its supply chain.

Since its inception, HS2 has placed significant and continued emphasis on ED&I considerations, recently re-evaluating its objectives to include contractual requirements for suppliers. The organisation strongly supports closer collaboration with suppliers on ED&I matters.

To empower their suppliers, HS2 created an extensive toolkit, laying the foundation for effective utilisation and data collection. Engaging workshops involving procurement, HR, and the board have streamlined the selection process for preferred partner organisations, further fortifying their ED&I initiatives.

The Action

HS2’s adoption of the Diversity Tool was driven by a twofold aim: improving internal ED&I practices and pioneering an industry-wide understanding of supplier diversity. The Tool facilitates a better understanding of industry behaviour and provides sector-specific insights that have advanced the dialogue on ED&I. It has allowed HS2 to explore sector-wide data without imposing significant costs, aligning with sector partners, and promoting collaborative engagements within the industry.

Integrating the Diversity Tool has yielded significant returns on investment, improving their understanding of their data, and aligning them with sector-wide trends. By enabling a deep dive into long-term targets, including assessing retention rates of underrepresented groups within infrastructure projects and companies, we’ve enabled HS2 to address attrition challenges proactively.

This ability to analyse data has empowered HS2 to retain talent within the industry through collaborative efforts with sector partners. In turn, this has helped them to become one of the most attractive organisations for prospective candidates in the built environment.

The Outcome, Benefits and Lessons Learnt

Their proactive approach to contextualising industry dynamics through data-driven insights has showcased it’s commitment to fostering an inclusive and diverse infrastructure landscape. We’ve enabled HS2 to transparently track evolution, communicate successes, and address challenges, notably in mitigating attrition rates.

This transparency has not only enhanced public perception but also highlighted their dedication to driving meaningful change within the infrastructure sector. The ability to effectively communicate successes and address challenges has supported HS2 in steering the narrative around ED&I initiatives, reinforcing their commitment to shaping a more inclusive and diverse industry.