Major supermarkets and suppliers are piloting a “reverse mentoring” scheme aimed at promoting diversity and inclusion in businesses.
Aldi, Asda, Co-op, Greencore, KP Snacks, Mondelez International, Morrisons, Premier Foods, and Tesco are among the 12 businesses backing the scheme, in partnership with IGD.
The IGD is also calling on more businesses to sign up for the programme, which will create the opportunity for the mentee to hear diverse perspectives, generate better awareness and understanding of inclusion and inspire action within their own organisation.
The scheme, which has been launched as part of National Inclusion Week, will see a senior mentor from a business being teamed up with someone from an under-represented background for an opportunity to broaden their knowledge and understanding of inclusion.
According to IGD, it has created a safe and collaborative space for leaders to hear the lived-in experiences of those from under-represented groups, and support companies to drive positive cultural change.
“With our unique ability to bring together stakeholders from across the whole food and consumer goods system, IGD is perfectly positioned to support businesses to create workplaces where everyone can thrive,” IDG director of peoples programmes at IGD Fiona Miller.
“We are committed to helping businesses address inclusion and diversity in all parts of their organisation, running free learning programmes targeted at senior leaders, line managers and across the grassroots of organisations.
Miller added: “The reverse mentoring pilot is part of IGD’s People programmes which include employability, inclusion and diversity and free learning, and all help the food and consumer goods industry address the skills shortages and challenges around the competition for people.
“The industry plays a vital role in feeding the nation and it must accelerate efforts to build a workforce fit for the future.”
IGD CEO Susan Barratt, who has participated in the programme concluded: “The programme has been set up using a framework and governance to ensure it delivers value and a useful experience for both people in the partnership.
“Part of the challenge of the programme is to make sure everyone taking part can be genuinely honest and I’ve found my experience of this to be invaluable.
“I’m passionate about wanting to lead an inclusive workforce. Inclusion has to be part of our strategy to attract people and enable them, and the food and consumer goods industry as a whole, to thrive.”