Workplace Leaders
People Director

Jo Pick

Luke: Can we start with an introduction to your role and organisation?

I am the People Director for Wincanton Operations, I've been here for four years now. I lead the people team that supports our 20,300 colleagues around the UK. Wincanton is the largest British third-party logistics provider. We have anywhere between 180 to 200 sites, and we have about 7,000 vehicles — so it’s fairly big! And we work across almost every industry you could imagine. 

Luke: Can you tell me about your career path?

I started as a graduate at Royal Mail in operations, which I loved. After about five years, I moved into an HR role, which I loved, and tried both ER and Reward specialisms. After about ten years with Royal Mail,  I wanted to grown as a HR professional and move into a  generalist HR role, so I went to Johnson and Johnson. JnJ is a large healthcare global provider, which had 200,000 colleagues at that time. I worked there for ten years in a variety of HR roles, gaining lots of new experiences. I then went into food manufacturing, which I loved. The leadership team was commercially minded, and new product development excited me. After 4 years with Greencore, I took the step into 3rd party logistics and came to Wincanton. 

Luke: A big theme today in businesses is about building company culture and fostering feelings of belonging and inclusion. What is Wincanton doing to this end?

We have a strong social values strategy. We’ve been on a D&I journey for about three years now. When you work in logistics, unfortunately, it is predominantly white men in leadership upwards. We have worked hard to shift that dial. Just over a year ago now, we started to look more at engaged social strategies, which we didn’t really have before. We weren’t sharing best practices around the organisation, so this past year has been about shaping this new strategy and understanding our commitments. 

We developed 4 main Social value commitments: The first commitment is about “Looking after yourself and others”, which is about well-being and safety. We have a fantastic health and safety record and we work hard on well-being. With our second commitment, we are working to continue to embed our diverse and inclusive cultures. Our third commitment is about enriching communities, which covers everything from volunteering to hiring practices and local education. The last commitment concerns social value partnerships — how do we share our values with the organisations we partner with? 

We have a commercial focus when running logistics, developing a fantastic onboarding experience for people, and building a strong culture. When we think about the future, we have to build capability in tech, so a lot of our time is spent looking at what we’ll need moving forward and how a diverse workforce can provide that. 

Luke: How do you engage your employees on these social values?

This is something that challenges us, especially because not all of our workforce are tech-enabled. Like many organisations, we have a pulse survey that checks our engagement, which, thankfully, is on the increase! When it comes to strategy, we have a number of communication channels. Teams is brilliant for this; we have big meetings as well as smaller local ones to keep engagement at every level. We also use Hapi App, to communicate directly with all our colleagues, as well as provide them with  which can be used to check well-being. 

Luke: How do you articulate the link between your work on belonging and inclusion with Wincanton’s higher-level commercial goals?

It has not been a difficult sell, to be honest, to persuade the executive team of the need to have a strong social value strategy. The metrics speak for themselves, we can clearly see the link between diverse teams and engagement and commercial delivery. In addition to that, because we have to pitch for business, our customers are clued-in to this agenda and want to make sure that we align with their values. 

Quick-fire Question

Luke: What is the best piece of advice you have received in your career?

To zig-zag. Take opportunities as they come, and don’t just be focused on progression upwards! It’s about driving diversity of learning and opportunity so you can constantly grow. 

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Luke James
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