IGD introduces reverse mentoring pilot to help create a more inclusive industry

With its ambition to create a more inclusive workforce across the food and consumer goods industry, IGD is piloting a reverse mentoring programme to support leaders to champion inclusion.

As part of National Inclusion Week, which aims to progress the inclusion agenda and promote the importance of equality in the workplace, IGD wants to highlight its mentoring pilot, which has helped to create 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.

The mentoring partnerships are made up of a mentee and a reverse mentor from different, non-competing companies across the food and consumer goods industry. The mentee is a senior person who can impact business culture, and the reverse mentor is someone from an under-represented background who would benefit from the opportunity to grow an external network and support a mentee to broaden their knowledge and understanding of inclusion.

Fiona Miller, Director of People Programmes at IGD, says: “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. 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 grass roots of organisations.

“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.”

Susan Barratt, IGD CEO, has participated in the programme, and said: “I took part in IGD’s reverse mentoring programme and was mentored by Sarah Atta-Nugent, Diversity and Inclusion Specialist – BAME workstream, at Morrisons. It’s been a fantastic experience, and throughout our sessions, Sarah and I have been able to create a safe space enabling us to have very open and honest conversations about our own experiences of inclusion as well and broader conversations about society. I’m really pleased that we’ll be able to continue these conversations even after the process has finished.

“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.”

Fiona continues: “We want companies to register their interest at igd.com to find out more about the reverse mentoring programme. All participation and feedback will help us to grow the pilot into an essential programme for organisations across the food and consumer goods industry.”

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