Opening up the discussion: inclusion and diversity

Kristina Causer

As we reach the halfway point of Pride month, we reflect on the importance of building a company culture that has diversity at its very heart.

I caught up with our chair Ian Baxter to understand more about our commitment to diversity and inclusion…

Tell us more about inclusivity for Baxter Freight and where it all began..

When we first set up the business in 2014 one of my ambitions was to create a diverse, inclusive and fully meritocratic culture where everyone could thrive. Obviously, that’s not just something that happens on its own. The leadership must be fully behind creating that culture and work hard every day at ensuring that message is embedded at every level.

Ian Baxter

Why is it important to have an inclusive culture?

First of all we want to recruit, inspire, develop and retain the very best people which means we must draw them from the widest pool of talent. It is crazy to create barriers of any kind which put people off coming here or make them less likely to invest their careers with us. Once they are onboard, we know we will only get the best from people if everyone is respected, has a voice and can see future opportunities with us. There is an openness that allows people to speak to anyone and if they need to, they can push back on anything they don’t believe is right. If you start to rank, silo or stereotype people you risk creating friction and people start to lose their voice.

What are the challenges of creating an inclusive culture?

Obviously we are a business and not a political or campaigning organisation, but we are determined to be known for a culture where everyone has space to be comfortable just being themselves. We have people from all different perspectives in this business, different faiths, political beliefs, social backgrounds, ethnicity and cultures.  As an organisation with 140 people, our team can’t align on everything, but we respect the fact that people are different, and we model the positives of living in a culture with those differences. This is what the world should look like!

Whether we do it actively or subconsciously we are working hard on this every day, helping to create more open conversations through events like Black History Month, Pride, International Women’s Day and all the religious festivals.

How do you go about creating an inclusive culture?

We realised early on that we had to broaden our imagination. We noticed that when we didn’t speak too much about inclusion, we didn’t get so many applications from people from diverse backgrounds, then as we began to speak about it more, things started to change. If we want to attract a range of people to work within our organisation we have to represent them through our communications, our strategies and our culture. So we decided to talk more openly and confidently about it and that has really helped us to bring diversity to life.

We’ve recently updated our corporate values which reinforce the cultural we want to have, and we’ve put these values all over our walls to remind us what we need to do every minute of every working day.

How do you think we are doing?

We don’t have it all figured out, we still have more to do and we know this. We want to transform the business at every level and we are on a journey to make this happen.

I am incredibly proud of what we’ve accomplished so far. When we have visitors we invariably get feedback of what a welcoming and friendly organisation this is. I believe diverse teams are the best teams and our friendly staff from all backgrounds are testimony to that. I’m firmly of the view that all our customers, suppliers and stakeholders can feel the difference our inclusivity brings – so it’s not only the right thing to do, it will help us build a brighter, more successful future too.

If you would like to know more about our team at Baxter Freight or a career with us we would love to hear from you!

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