Name: Lyn Bowker
Role: Equality and Diversity Manager
Time at Riverside: Four and a half years
What is your responsibility at Riverside?
I am responsible for the implementation and embedding of equality, diversity and inclusion strategies and objectives across the Riverside Group, ensuring compliance with legislation and the sharing of good practice, both within the organisation and the housing sector. I work with a diverse range of stakeholders, including colleagues, customers, contractors, external networks and governance community members, to ensure a positive, inclusive and open culture is achieved and the needs of diverse communities are met.
What does a typical day look like for you?
I don’t have a ‘typical’ day. No two days are ever the same!
What’s your work environment like?
At the moment I am working from home and have been since the national lockdown back in March. I have adapted well, although it was very odd at first delivering my training sessions virtually. I am a real “people person” so seeing people on a screen, as opposed to being in the room with them took a little getting used to! Having delivered about 15 sessions now, I can say I am au fait with it and have changed my content to reflect a virtual classroom setting.
How has COVID-19 changed your role?
Less travelling was the immediate thing I noticed, as, like a lot of people at Riverside, most weeks were spent hopping on and off trains, delivering training and attending team meetings or conferences around the country. The days I did spend at Speke involved long commutes, usually an hour in the morning and up to an hour and a half to two hours on the way home, especially if an accident had occurred on the motorway, so I am definitely not missing the commute!
What do you like about Riverside’s approach to ensuring a diverse workplace?
Our workplace is extremely diverse, in terms of sex, age, disability, ethnicity, religion and culture and sexual orientation. We also have some trans staff, it is definitely a trans friendly organisation and we are a Stonewall top 100 employer. We signed the Business in the Community’s Race at Work Charter last year and have achieved the objectives laid out in the charter. We are also a Disability Confident Employer, which means that if a colleague has become disabled during their working life, we will fully support them by making reasonable adjustments to enable them to stay at work. If we are looking for new recruits, we will ensure being Disability Confident helps us to help our people fulfil their potential and contribute fully to our success. We are always striving to be more diverse and in partnership with our three staff networks, have recently reviewed both our website and intranet to ensure they are more accessible and inclusive, representing our diverse range of both customers and colleagues in the imagery used. Each staff network has its own action plan, which supports the larger, corporate equality, diversity and inclusion action plan. The networks also collaborate on areas such as mental health awareness, health and wellbeing and inclusion activities.
What would you say if recommending working at Riverside to a friend?
I would say “Go for it, apply for the job, I love it here!” I have promoted the company to several people and two members of my old team from my previous employer now actually work here (one in my team). They are also enjoying it and have no regrets about leaving our last company. I should be on commission!