The Responsible Business Awards Northern Ireland 2021 – a snapshot of the winners

Bank of Ireland, AMS, Northern Ireland Water and Translink received awards for their work in the diversity and inclusion space

The Bank of Ireland, workforce solutions firm AMS, Northern Ireland Water and public transport company Translink were among the 11 winners at the Responsible Business Awards Northern Ireland 2021.

The awards, which took place online earlier this month, highlights businesses that are “taking real action to build thriving communities.” They also celebrate firms that are “demonstrating strong, inclusive leadership” and “who continually innovate to tackle pressing social issues and to repair and rebuild our planet.”

Here’s a snapshot of what some of the winners are accomplishing in areas of employability, age inclusion, health and wellbeing, and other areas of workplace diversity and inclusion.

AMS – Diversity and Inclusion Award

AMS bagged this year’s Diversity and Inclusion Award in part for their health and wellbeing work, where they created a set of resources for employees to access during COVID-19.

On the leadership front, in Belfast, 62% of AMS’ leadership team is female, which is the result of the success of its ‘Internals First Policy’, where 42% of its workforce has been promoted since 2020.

Career development opportunities are available to all employees via its ‘High Potential’ and ‘Aspiring Manager Programmes’. Mentoring programmes include its ‘Focus Forward’ and ‘Reverse-Mentoring Programmes’ to support inclusion and self-development.

They are also trying to be disability-inclusive by working with disability organisations and consultants to offer placement and contract opportunities to disabled job-seekers “to attract neurodiverse talent into the organisation.”

As well as being a signatory of ‘Change the Race Ratio‘, a campaign to set targets to increase racial and ethnic participation in businesses, AMS has open forums for their staff to discuss these topics internally, such as ‘Time to Talk’, which provides a safe space to speak out against bias and racism.

On the LGBT+ inclusion front, AMS participated in the annual Belfast Pride Parade to show support for LGBT+ colleagues and has worked with community non-profit organisation ‘The Rainbow Project’ to host awareness sessions regarding issues that face the LGBT+ community in Northern Ireland.

To read more about what AMS is doing in the diversity and inclusion space, click here.

Bank of Ireland – Age-Friendly Business Award

The Bank of Ireland has proven its commitment to fostering age inclusion through its “specific colleague led network” called the ‘Intergenerational Network’, designed to promote greater understanding, appreciation, and engagement among colleagues of all generations.

Senior leadership are actively involved in the network via attendance at monthly meetings and drive ” support for the rapid execution of network initiatives.”

One initiative to come from the network is the ‘Life Stages Framework’ – a guide categorising important life stages and the employment cycle. The Framework includes various initiatives to support colleagues, such as mid-career reviews for over 50s, supporting colleagues in the run-up to, during and following retirement. There is also an online menopause hub and reverse mentoring of the senior leadership team by younger colleagues.

Employee feedback on various company D&I initiatives is provided by a twice-yearly anonymous ‘Open View’ survey which the firm uses to “identify areas for improvement.”

To read more about what the Bank of Ireland is doing to create an age-inclusive culture, click here.

Northern Ireland Water – Wellbeing at Work Award

Northern Island Water has a “dedicated budget” allocated to workplace wellbeing and has appointed a Health and Wellbeing Manager and a full time dedicated Employee Support Officer available to staff 24/7.

Aside from a range of wellbeing centred policies such as hybrid working, reasonable adjustments and childcare vouchers, they use a variety of channels “to gather feedback ” on their health and wellbeing programmes and involve employees in their design. Keen to implement effective policies, they are also involved in benchmarking activities with “leading corporate health and wellbeing experts and best-practice organisations.”

The firm is also providing a range of health programmes designed to help employees look after their mental health and tackle areas that are popular causes of employee absence. As a result, they provide staff with free physiotherapy sessions, one-to-one health checks, a healthy eating programme, and more.

To read more about what Northern Ireland Water is doing to improve wellbeing in their workplace, click here.

Translink – Innovation in Employability Award

Over the past year, Translink has committed to increasing its outreach to attract candidates from groups who face specific barriers to employment.

Through its 2021 apprenticeship recruitment campaign, Translink focused on partnering with strategic partners to help groups such as the long-term unemployed and women.

They are also working closely with local communities to raise awareness of industry opportunities through information sessions, including ‘have-a-go days’ for underrepresented groups where individuals get to drive a bus.

Translink has also partnered with Belfast City Council to develop a ‘Belfast Transport Hub (BTH) – Construction Employment Academy’ to deliver training and employment support to encourage local people to consider roles in the sector.

To read more about what Translink is doing in the employability space, click here.

You can watch the awards ceremony in full here.
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