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interview with Fred Turner, Retail Director Fullers

Fred Turner, Retail Director at Fuller, Smith & Turner, a UK-based pub and hotel company which dates back to 1845, shares his personal inclusive leadership journey as a senior leader in the company which bears his family name. Fuller’s engaged inclusion in to enhance their knowledge around creating an inclusive workplace by taking part in the Inclusive Leadership Journey Programme. 

Fuller’s is a strongly values-led organisation and with Fred Turner leading the retail side of the business, his historical family connections and personal values are firmly embedded into the company culture. Fuller’s employees themselves feel part of a business which is led by such family values, resulting in longevity of service and people going above and beyond their roles – as reported in recent employee feedback surveys. 

“Such values are incredibly strong in helping determine how we make decisions.” 

Fred himself went on a journey of inclusive discovery through starting uncomfortable conversations about diversity and inclusion, and leading his team by example. 

“Because fundamentally, if I’m not standing up and trying to do it, why are my team going to do it, why is their team going to do it?” 

The Inclusive Leadership Journey Programme (ILJP) 

The ILJP is a programme that takes people leaders on a journey of self-discovery. Many organisations are looking to create a development journey for their senior leadership teams that will build their ‘inclusion confidence’, enabling them to connect authentically with the topic and create a truly inclusive culture where everyone is able to feel they truly belong at work. In response to this need, inclusion in created the ILJP, a development offering that engages senior leaders on many different levels as they explore, in a safe space, their understanding of inclusive leadership and their influence as role models in making an impact. 

The Inclusive Leadership Journey: creating conversations 

The ILJP provides a safe space in which these conversations are encouraged and can flourish. Having been provided with the tools with which their organisation can recognise the opportunities which lie within a diverse and inclusive workplace, Fred and his team are more able to create an environment where employees from all backgrounds can feel comfortable in having different preferences, but also in having more confidence in starting conversations without fear of asking what might be perceived as naïve questions. 

“We’re challenging ourselves to think differently, to evolve and to simply be human beings.” 

The Inclusive Leadership Journey: implementing action 

Fuller’s wants to ensure that their leadership team is representative of all groups of employee backgrounds when compared with their business as a whole, and encourages opportunities for all. They have started to put plans in place to facilitate this in the best way possible – in part through raising awareness and increasing EDI training for their teams. 

“If we can constantly, incrementally increase the awareness that our team has around the barriers that do exist, it’s far more likely that those barriers will come down organically. The opportunities and the awareness have to come hand-in-hand.” 

The Inclusive Leadership Journey: sustainable change 

Fuller’s have taken on board the importance of active listening: to their team and to their customers. They acknowledge that learning and progress ultimately comes directly from both, but have identified that there are distinct phases in creating sustainable change. As a first step, they are developing greater awareness in their recruitment processes, particularly in relation to senior leadership positions and ensuring more balanced representation at that level. Upon joining Fuller’s, new employees are given examples of how the business celebrates individuality, being part of the family and why, as employees, they represent a more diverse and inclusive future. These values interact seamlessly with their overarching EDI messaging. 

“This has to be sustainable going forward, it can’t just be about one and done. This is about work culture and the way that we refer to our work family and the values that we have as an evolving business so that they include diversity as part of it.” 

The Inclusive Leadership Journey: beyond the comfort zone 

Fred has recognised how remaining in the comfort zone when it comes to EDI discussions and policy-making, does not invoke profound and meaningful change. Discomfort promotes action and sometimes going against the status quo. It requires seeking further information and deeper understanding in order to avoid a self-fulfilling process in endeavouring to deliver an equitable outcome.

“All of us have an opportunity here, we’ve all got a role to play and we all have much more to learn about the future. Without asking questions, we’ll never get a better understanding or an idea of where we are, so ask. It will be well worth it.”