Lee Murray tells us why a diverse Co-op is important to him

This July, 81 colleagues were selected to become Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) Pioneers and I was one of them. Together we’ll help identify things we can improve around diversity and inclusion here at the Co-op, to make it an inclusive environment for everyone.

Myself, along with Danielle Haugedal-Wilson, Becky Arrowsmith and Gillian MacDonald have been assigned to the Digital and Membership D&I Pioneer group where we will focus our ideas, but there are groups of D&I pioneers in all areas of our Co-op.

Our role as Co-op people

We all have a responsibility to respect other people and our differences. We do this with our family and friends, so its important that we make sure we bring this into our workplace too. As D&I Pioneers, we’ve already started encouraging colleagues to think more about diversity and inclusion and will continue to do so. Here are some of my tips for colleagues:

  • Make an effort to understand a colleague’s point of view and try to help them understand yours
  • If you see inappropriate behaviour, challenge it or report it
  • Think about different cultures and how diversity can bring different benefits. Different perspectives can be really helpful
  • Look around you – are you in a diverse team? Why do you think that may or may not be? How can you bring different perspectives into your team?

What are we doing?

During National Inclusion Week at the start of October, some of my fellow D&I Pioneers held local activities to celebrate. This included an informative session on how to become a Dementia Friend and a buffet at Birtley Depot to get everyone talking.

We’ve still got lots to do though and we’ve been meeting weekly to come up with our next steps. One of the first steps we’re taking in our group is to create an action plan to go out into schools in the Manchester area to talk to young people from different backgrounds about our different roles and how we got here. We want to create an outreach programme and build relationships and a network, so young people can talk to us about paths to work barriers, and how we can help them.

If you’d like to learn more about what we do or offers us support, please reach out to your local D&I Pioneer – each business has them. You can find out yours by emailing the Diversity team – diversity.matters@coop.co.uk

Lee Murray