Diversity will win fight for talent, ADL HR chief tells industry

The fight for talent is real, ADL HR Director tells coach and bus industry

The fight for talent “is real” and employers with diverse and modern approaches are best placed to win it, Alexander Dennis Group Human Resources Director Rachel Smith told ALBUM conference delegates at the group’s recent gathering.

That extends to both recruits that are already progressing their careers and those that are entering at apprentice and graduate level, Ms Smith explains. The bus industry “is not as diverse as it needs to be,” and negotiating that challenge will be a major task ahead of the sector over coming years, she adds.

ADL has seen the number of senior roles held by women grow considerably over the past five years, Ms Smith continues. A big part of that has come via work to highlight it as an employer of choice, and with educational establishments from schools to universities, as part of a focus on a younger generation of recruits.

“If we do not talk about the industry, people will not know about it,” she says. ADL has also worked hard to develop leaders from within, but there is an increasing importance on considering modern approaches and the removal of unconscious bias in the workplace.

A “command and control” managerial policy is no longer accepted by many employees. Instead, empowerment and flexibility – including hybrid working – is increasingly relevant, and existing managers need skills that reflect their current and future teams.

None of that comes easily, and Ms Smith accepts that the industry may still be laying barriers to some potential talent “without noticing.” However, the changes made by ADL to its approach have also been beneficial commercially. More home-grown employees have delivered a reduction in recruitment costs, she concludes.