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Diversity and inclusion

Stronger Together, Everyone Matters

 
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What are we doing?

Behind our world-leading science and engineering are our people, each with unique experiences and perspectives. We want to show you some of the diverse people who help us achieve extraordinary impact.

Our Stronger Together, Everyone Matters campaign features real stories from colleagues across a wide range of backgrounds and careers, each sharing individual perspectives, experiences and advice.

 

In their own words, you’ll hear from real people who talk about their real experiences. These stories have been hidden until now and are an account of each person’s career story, both inside and outside of NPL. They have been written with the intention of informing and inspiring the reader.

Watch Dr Peter Thompson, CEO, explain our Stronger Together, Everyone Matters campaign.

All our colleagues featured come from one or more underrepresented group within our organisation and/or the wider sector.

Through our campaign we want to showcase not only the range of careers available in an organisation like ours, but also the diversity of people that do them.

As our colleagues share their journeys, we hope that they will inspire others to join organisations like NPL, where diverse perspectives make us better.

Over the coming months, we will be sharing hidden stories from real people as well as our personas.

Why now?

Diversity and Inclusion is an important component of our wider People strategy at NPL. We have built strong foundations but continue to expand and evolve our work.

Our goals and examples of our work to-date are set out in our Diversity and Inclusion strategy.

Through the Stronger Together, Everyone Matters campaign, you can see some of our work in action, not just through what we have achieved, but through the lens of the people we aim to support. You can also see some of the areas where we know we have more to do and those where we continue to learn as our work progresses.

Laura Watkin, Diversity and Inclusion Partner, and Charlotte Blake, Corporate Communications Leader, talk through the journey of developing this campaign

Through these stories, we hope to bring our strategy to life, while celebrating the diverse range of people that work at NPL.

As an organisation we want to attract, engage and inspire a diverse range of talented individuals, while also ensuring NPL is an inclusive workplace where colleagues feel that their differences are valued.

In our Stronger Together, Everyone Matters campaign, we’re looking to build on the work we have already undertaken to create an environment where our people feel safe to share their unique perspectives and experiences.

Jodene Young, Chief People Officer, talks about our motivations for developing this campaign.

Laura Watkin, Diversity and Inclusion Partner, talks about what Diversity & Inclusion looks like at NPL

I often get asked if I could summarise the work that we do at NPL on Diversity and Inclusion into a single slide and my answer always is there’s no way I could do it justice. Building on successful work over many years, our programme of activity has grown to a point where our work is so diverse, covering a broad range of themes, that communicating it all would be far too long. So instead, I’ll share some examples that illustrate our approach, ethos and how things are changing at NPL. 

Central to our work is the belief that change starts with a conversation. We need to understand the barriers that individuals and/or groups face to be able to respond effectively. Whether it is feedback on an issue, a discussion about needs or a session where we build on each other’s ideas, conversations help us take informed action. No one, not even someone like me who works full time in Diversity and Inclusion, can see everything from every perspective, all the time, which is why initiatives like our latest campaign are so important.

Our Diversity and Inclusion strategy was built from conversations; it sets out why this is important to us and our vision for what we would like to achieve as an organisation. Our Executives are all signatories of the strategy and sponsor our 11 staff led special interest groups, ensuring that it’s not just another corporate document but something we all play a part in. Beneath the strategy sits what we describe as ‘a rolling prioritised programme of activities’, this means we have a plan of what we want to do, but it’s not locked in or static. The plan evolves with us as an organisation, shaped by the voices and experiences of our community, adjusted to prioritise new areas, and allows for unexpected/unforeseen things to emerge. 

Back in 2021, post pandemic, we identified an emerging need for more support around mental health. While not planned, we reprioritised to focus on ensuring that we had the support that our staff needed. During this time, we distilled a deep dive into the research down into an easy-to-use learning microsite, designed to reinforce our existing resources such as our Mental Health First Aiders, promote the range of services in our Employee Assistance Programme and give more information on supporting your colleagues. Since then, it’s been easy to add in new features and resources as part of our planned activities, such as our bespoke NPL Wellness Action Plans. Further microsites have followed on topics like disability and gender equality, all hosted on our internal Diversity and Inclusion hub. 

Like most organisations we have big projects that we work on, these are either new things we are introducing as part of the strategy or something that we have had feedback on that has led to a new project. As one example, last year we launched our new in-house mentoring programmes which were designed based on staff feedback on previous schemes, combined with new capabilities through a digital mentoring platform. Those on our Grow mentoring programme can match on interests in diversity and inclusion, meaning they don’t have to disclose personal information to participate, a key barrier that some potential participants were facing.

Each year the projects rotate, so this year we are focusing on improving our support for line managers to ensure they can support those who are neurodivergent, with plans around new resources that complement our existing disability and long-term condition policy. These projects are always changing and are the activities or resources that we promote internally, and everyone sees. 

Of equal importance are the smaller or less explicit examples that don’t make the headlines, but they often make a big difference to a smaller group. Some are small and quick, with an almost immediate impact; like installing screens in our prayer room after feedback from our Muslim colleagues. Some are focused but change the way we think. Last year we, as an organisation, had our first request related to surrogacy, (look out for this story later in the campaign), it revealed some gaps in the way our policy was written, and we quickly found some simple ways that we could more explicitly support people going through this process. Not only is the policy improved but it emphasised the importance of getting diverse perspectives on policy improvements, something we are taking forward into our work in this space. Other actions are small but powerful, like the development of our accessibility checklist. Something intended to support individuals is now providing the organisation with a practical resource and has allowed good practice to spread and embed into our training and communication approaches.  

Reflecting on the initiatives we've undertaken at NPL, our approach to Diversity and Inclusion continues to evolve, not just as a series of actions. Each step we take, each program we implement, is a learning opportunity and a chance to deepen our understanding and enhance our strategy. This evolution is crucial as it ensures that our efforts are not just responsive to immediate needs but are also shaped to try to anticipate and adapt to the changing dynamics around us. In embracing this culture of ongoing growth and adaptation, we're not only upholding our commitment to inclusion but also reinforcing our values that are at the heart of NPL. 

As part of our journey, we wanted to find a mechanism for people to share their stories with each other, to allow others to see and understand the diversity of people that we have within our organisation. Not as numbers or statistics, like we traditionally report, but as people and experiences. The stories in our campaign represent just a selection of individual perspectives from within our organisation, that get shared behind the scenes and inform our work. The power of real stories can never be underestimated, they build empathy and understanding, and inspire us all to do what we can to make NPL, and organisations like it, a better place for all. 

Sign up here for updates on the campaign or to find out how you and your organisation can get involved.

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Meet the personas

What is a persona?

While many of our people have been extremely generous in sharing their stories and experiences, there are some issues and barriers faced by various community groups that individuals may not wish to share. It is important to us that these hidden stories featured in our campaign.

We will be introducing a new persona every couple of weeks. Keep up to date here and on social media.


Video description: Laura Watkin, Diversity and Inclusion Partner, explains the difference between the personas and real life stories.

Amore

Amore

Scientist

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Jo

Jo

Jo’s story 

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