Following a year where business’ D&I agendas have come under scrutiny, 16 brands including M&S, New Look and Sainsbury’s Argos have partnered with Retail Week’s Be Inspired programme to promote diversity and empower their teams.

As leaders turn their attention to strategies and investment priorities for the year ahead, a group of retailers and brands have come together to show their commitment to addressing diversity by joining with Retail Week’s Be Inspired programme for 2021.

Boden, Carpetright, EE, Iceland, Jardine Motors, Kingfisher, Levi’s, Lidl, Marks & Spencer, Matalan, New Look, Pets at Home, Sainsbury’s Argos, Tesco, TJX Europe and Walgreens Boots Alliance have pledged to champion diversity in support of the initiative. 

Now in its fifth year, the Be Inspired programme aims to promote diversity at all levels of retail and to encourage everyone, whoever they are and whatever their background, to fulfil their career aspirations.

Through a rolling programme of virtual workshops, content, mentoring, a Senior Leadership Academy and a dedicated conference, the programme connects those working in retail and industry with those who can help propel their careers and unlock their ambitions. 

By partnering with Be Inspired, the 16 retail partners have pledged to prove their commitment to diversity, support their senior leaders to fulfil their potential, help address any pay gaps and offer continual learning and development for their teams.

By partnering with Be Inspired, the 16 retail partners have pledged to prove their commitment to diversity, support their senior leaders to fulfil their potential, help address any pay gaps, and offer continual learning and development for their teams

Retail charity retailTRUST has also renewed its support for the programme for 2021 to drive a new world of inclusive leadership. 

Diversity is being examined in all industries as the movement for inclusivity becomes mainstream and there has never been a more crucial time for the work that Be Inspired does.

In September and October this year Retail Week interviewed 500 store staff for its Talking Shop report to uncover the realities of working in retail.

Overwhelmingly, 87% said they believed diversity and inclusion is taken seriously at their businesses and this was particularly true at regional manager level, where 73% of respondents said their employer takes it “very seriously”. 

However, this doesn’t mean businesses can afford to sit back. With the recent Black Lives Matter movement highlighting the need for greater support for Black people across industry, and critics arguing the pandemic has dealt a hammer blow to workplace diversity, businesses must continue to invest in their D&I agenda to stay one step ahead. 

RWRC Be Inspired logo

Do you want to work together with Retail Week to help build a more balanced and fair industry? 

Learn more about the Be Inspired programme and how to become a retail or strategic partner here.