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International Women’s Day 2024; my vision as phs’ new Group HR Director

As I step into my new role as HR Director at phs Group, I am busy understanding and experiencing first hand our shared values and workplace culture, the essence of which really puts people at the forefront - be it in product development, customer service, or colleague interaction.

This Friday, as we celebrate International Women's Day, it's a perfect moment to shine a light on the amazing initiatives phs has embraced to foster equality. This year’s theme is #InspireInclusion. I am always inspired when people share their lived experiences and we gain a greater understanding of each other, widening our networks and promoting diverse role models that can share a variety of success stories – I believe that you cannot be what you cannot see. phs has cultivated an environment where support is a constant and inclusive, where our values of teamwork and integrity are celebrated.

We intend to inspire inclusion through our work culture, and I wanted to share some of the investments we continue to make to accelerate our progress:

Stepping Up: Women in Leadership

The Women in Leadership programme is designed to develop and promote broader talent pools and different perspectives that enhance our culture bringing different insights and ideas – all contributing to better colleague engagement, which will in turn benefit our customers. Seeing participants from previous years be promoted to senior positions is a testament to the programme's effectiveness. It underscores our commitment to nurture talent and to continue to develop an inclusive and diverse workplace.

Committing to equal pay

The launch of our 2023 gender pay gap report marks another milestone in our journey towards equality. I'm proud to report that we are in a great position, this report is not just a set of numbers; it's a reflection of our ethos, our dedication to fairness, and our commitment to an equitable workplace.

Supportive workplace culture and Well-being Champions

Understanding and support is a must for any thriving workplace culture. At phs, we recognise the importance of support systems, which is why we introduced Menopause and Well-being Champions across our business. Having a confidant, someone to turn to during challenging times, is invaluable. As I have travelled around the business, people have shared their personal stories of how they could rely on phs to support them and our Well-being Champions have been there when they were really needed, I want to take this opportunity to thank our Champions – your dedication doesn’t go unnoticed.

At phs, we are committed to promoting period equality by providing free period products in all our washrooms. Our actions align with our values, ensuring our colleagues have immediate access to necessary items. We believe that this approach fosters a more supportive work environment and enhances our workforce. Through our work in this area, we hope to always ensure people have access to period hygiene products and that we create a positive, inclusive experience - one that removes stigma and embarrassment for those who need the products.

A personal reflection: My hope for my daughter

As I write about these initiatives and reflect on the culture at phs, I think of my daughter. As she embarks upon her final year at school and enters the stressful period of GCSE exams, we are having conversations about her future and the career she may be interested in pursuing, the workplace she will enter is very different to the one I entered. She will see roles filled by diverse people, where difference is celebrated and encouraged, where is it now internationally recognised and well researched that diversity of thought brings better business outcomes.

It’s a real privilege to be Group HR Director for phs and the mum to Freya, working within a culture where every team member feels valued, heard, and has equal opportunities to thrive, I hope I am inspiring Freya to look for that in all the career choices she will make in the future.

Happy International Women’s Day, celebrating all those who have the desire to leave the world better than we found it, not just for our own daughters, but for the diverse generations of people to come.

 

Me and my daughter doing the ‘Inspire Inclusion’ heart pose

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