Springboard, a women’s development programme from The Springboard Consultancy (SBC), is helping Royal Mail cement its place as one of The Times’ Top 50 Employers for Women.


One of the few FTSE 100 companies with a female CEO, Royal Mail now has relatively high gender diversity at Board and senior management grades, where 33 per cent of members are female – as are 29 per cent of employees at senior management level in the company.


“Royal Mail employed fewer women in the mid-1990s – and it was at that time that the company came across SBC, a UK-based international training company specialising in addressing women’s development issues,” observed Kay Clements, Diversity and Inclusion Manager for Royal Mail Group. “Royal Mail set up a pilot Springboard programme in the South West of England and the results were encouraging.


Kay Clements (far right), with a group of recent Springboard trainer graduates from the Royal Mail.


“Then, in 2005, a company survey revealed what appeared to be a lack of confidence among our female employees. Having worked with SBC in the 1990s and gained such positive feedback from the participants, we knew exactly who to contact in 2005.”


The Springboard programme – delivered over three months – combines self-paced learning with a workbook, support networks, role models and one-day workshops. It aims to help women:

•           Assess their current situation,

•           Decide their next steps for personal and work development,

•           Equip individuals with the positive attitude, confidence and skills to take these steps, and

•           Encourage participants to accept responsibility for their own development.


“This programme is now seen as among the company’s ‘flagship development opportunities’ – and is a key part of Royal Mail’s Gender Action Plan, helping women to know what they want and have the confidence to get it,” said Kay. “It’s helping women to address issues in the workplace and at home – and improve their experience of working for Royal Mail Group.”


From 2005 to 2012, Royal Mail had run some 50 Springboard programmes, reaching over 700 women, and over ten per cent of these women progressed to take up management roles. However, by 2012, Royal Mail realised that it needed to ‘raise its game’ where women in operational and front-line jobs were concerned.


The company’s Gender Steering Group (GSG) agreed to support a further 1,000 female non-managers through the Springboard programme during 2013/14. This was endorsed by Royal Mail’s Corporate Executive Committee (CEC) and the initiative also received full trade union support.


“Our corporate experience with the Springboard programme shows that it gives women the confidence – and the assertiveness skills – to challenge a traditional ‘male dominated culture’,” Kay said.


“The Springboard programme is also playing a key part in helping women to move into a first management role, so we’re beginning to use the Spring Forward programme to help them take the next step – into middle management roles,” added Kay, “ and we’re already seeing the benefit of the whole Springboard initiative as more women are applying for management roles.


“Springboard is part of our corporate DNA now – and an integral part of our gender strategy.”


For more details on this story, visit: http://www.springboardconsultancy.com/training-case-studies/royal-mail/