Keeping Britain moving and building a better railway for the future is full of challenges – but also tremendous opportunities. At Network Rail, we believe investing in our people is one of the most effective ways of improving the safety, reliability and efficiency of the railway.
Why is it important to Network Rail to employ disabled people?
At Network Rail, we want to be a more open, diverse and inclusive organisation that reflects the communities we serve, so that we can do better at putting our passengers at the heart of what we do. We know that diverse teams are more productive and innovative and it’s important that we create an environment where we can all perform at our best.
Have you got any other inclusive recruitment processes?
We are a Disability Confident leader, which means that if you choose to share that you’re disabled when applying for a role at Network Rail, you will be given an interview if you fulfil the essential criteria, regardless of the number of applicants.
In 2020, we launched ‘Inclusive Recruitment by Design’, which is a suite of resources for hiring managers to use and follow, to minimise the barriers some candidates face when searching, applying and interviewing for roles. In 2021, we built on this, by developing an e-learning on Inclusive Recruitment, which is mandatory for all of our hiring managers to complete so that they know and can implement the best practice in fair and inclusive recruitment, where reasonable adjustments are the norm.
Do you offer flexible working?
We embrace flexible working and understand that employees may have different working needs and preferences. We consider requests from all employees regardless of length of service, job status or grade and irrespective of the reason for the request.
We know that flexible working means different things to different people, and we encourage our employees in taking ownership of their time. Some of our colleagues take part in job sharing, part time working, compressed hours, homeworking and many change their shift pattern to suit them. During the pandemic, flexible working has been embedded into our culture more than ever before, with more of our office-based colleagues now working in an agile way.
What else do you offer disabled employees?
CanDo is our Employee Network which celebrates and supports our disabled employees. The network hosts events and advocates for disabled employees across the business. We have seven employee networks which often work together to recognise that people have multiple identities.
We know that sometimes, disabled employees need reasonable adjustments to help them to do their jobs. Our Reasonable Adjustments policy strives to make it as simple as possible for disabled employees to get the support they need to do their jobs. We’re keen to become an industry leader in reasonable adjustments provision, and recognise that there are still improvements we can make. So, a key part of our work will focus on continuous improvement of the process and consistent application of the policy and guidance throughout the business.
We have several ‘Everyone Matters’ guides which sit alongside key policies, and help line managers support their team with topics such as reasonable adjustments. We have several more guides in the pipeline including guides on deaf and hard of hearing, neurodiversity, diabetes and cancer to name a few.
We also support the Sunflower Lanyard Scheme, which helps give confidence to disabled colleagues with conditions which are not immediately apparent, especially when discussing their disability. It also encourages our staff to recognise that not all disabilities are visible.
Is disability high up on the agenda at Network Rail?
Yes. Our ‘Everyone Matters’ diversity and inclusion strategy describes the work we’ve committed to doing between 2019 and 2024 to create a more open, diverse and inclusive organisation.
Since the strategy was launched in 2019, we’ve worked hard to further the ‘Disability Matters’ project. We have developed new disability equality training which will be mandatory for all employees, and have conducted a business-wide deep dive into our Reasonable Adjustments process to understand what’s working and how we can improve. For the fourth year running, we have achieved level 3 status as a Disability Confident leader, demonstrating our ongoing commitment to supporting colleagues and applicants throughout their employment.
For the first time, in 2022, we will publish our Disability Pay Gap. Although this isn’t a legal requirement for us, we have made a choice to share this so that we can raise awareness around the issue, and be more transparent. Some other activities we have committed to achieving by April 2024 are: publishing further ‘Everyone Matters’ guides, upskilling on reasonable adjustments and disability confident awareness and participating in Business Disability Forum (BDF)’s smart audit.
Have you been recognised for inclusion?
Yes, in December 2021, we were delighted to find out that our Disability Matters programme won an award in the Disability Confident category at the Recruitment Industry Disability Initiative (RIDI) awards. The award singled us out as demonstrating top-level commitment to the Disability Confident scheme and for effective implementation of the guidance across our organisation. In 2018, we were also named the number one inclusive employer for disabled employees by Vercida.
In a nutshell, why would a disabled candidate choose to apply to Network Rail?
At Network Rail, caring for and empowering our colleagues are two of our four core values. And we are committed to ensuring that disabled customers, staff and stakeholders are part of an increasingly inclusive and accessible organisation in an environment that is inclusive of everyone.
We see the Equality Act 2010 as merely setting minimum standards. In promoting equality, we are passionate about ensuring disabled employees have full and equal access to jobs, training and development opportunities.