In organisations that work with different sectors and industries, it is really important that employees can relate to their customers and clients. A crucial element of this is making sure that one’s employees are representative of the kinds of people they are working for. Diversity of staff, inclusive policies, and a focus on belonging are all key to getting this right.
Tracy Evans, Group HR and Quality Director at PerTemps Network Group, sat down with Co-host of The Interview, Luke James, to discuss her career so far, how she embeds belonging and inclusion in her organisation, and the importance of being true to oneself.
I am Tracy Evans, the Group HR and Quality Director at PerTemps Network Group. We have been in business since 1961, set up in Birmingham, although now we’re national across the country. We cover most industry sectors, whether that’s temporary, permanent, or contractors. We payroll around 30,000 temporary workers a week, with a permanent staff of about 1,600.
It was a long journey, and always with PerTemps. I have been very lucky in that I have been able to have a career within a career. I started out as an administrator, before going down the recruitment route. I worked in many different areas, doing the whole piece. I was then asked if I would be part of the team that implemented computers into our offices. This took me down the learning and development, training path, which led me down other routes as well, until twelve years ago I took on this role.
Part of it is about the culture of PerTemps. Recognising where people want to go with careers as well as where we want to retain people and give them opportunities to grow. I love working with people, being involved, and having operational knowledge as well. I moved quite seamlessly into HR.
We all talk to all the new conductees that come through because engaging with our people is important to us. It’s crucial to show that one’s own career is really important, that people should do what they want to do.
It’s not easy. We have been very much involved in diversity for a long time—but when you talk about inclusion, you have to ensure that everyone in a business has a voice, and can be heard and listened to. You must also ensure you treat people fairly and equitably. If you don’t have that as your base, then how can you really bring people into your organisation’s journey? So it’s key that we listen to our people, and make sure that the environment we’re providing is right for everyone.
It’s about communicating. It sounds quite cliche, but it’s true. If you can’t communicate with everyone at all different levels, then whatever your message is — whether it’s about inclusion or strategy — then you can’t bring your people along with you on your organisation’s journey. You need buy-in, and the only way to get that is to talk to people, and have open communication.
We have had a superb employee engagement piece going on for many years now. Coaching is essential to this. Making sure we’re delivering what people need. Unless you have got what people need right, then the business won’t grow by design. You need to embed a culture of learning. We are a corporate organisation, but we’re a family business at heart. We need to make sure that people enjoy their work, and that they’re having fun and can be themselves and be authentic.
I think one of the key things is being consistent. You must be consistent about your messaging and the journey you’re on. You need to be aware that other people have wants, needs, and aspirations, and must think about how to align those. Communication is, of course, as mentioned, critical. But I think being consistent, authentic, and knowing where to go are the most important things. Encouraging others to meet their aspirations is a brilliant quality in a leader.
It can be difficult to make that link, but you also need to look at your teams. We have a lot of stakeholders, not just internally. We recruit in the communities where we work and supply our services to those organisations, so it makes good business sense for us to be representative of all of that. We are reigniting our diversity and inclusivity policies, and listening to our colleagues who will tell us what works.
Be yourself. Be honest with yourself. Make sure you can always look in the mirror and know that what you’re doing and the way you’re doing it is authentic.