Embracing an inclusive culture that inspires connection and change

| minute read

Diversity and Inclusion is essential to our business, and to us it means celebrating real people, doing good for people and doing right by people. It means valuing difference, working with empathy, engaging with our communities and respecting each other. Listed in the 2023 UK’s Best Workplaces™ rankings by Great Places to Work® UK, we have inclusion in our DNA, believing in the creative impact and positive contribution a diverse workforce can bring.

Celebrating diversity by creating inclusive groups and networks enables people to share their experiences and perspectives freely. At Sopra Steria and across our family of businesses, we have a wide range of employee inclusion networks to help shape a more diverse and inclusive organisation and enable the voices of our business to be heard. Each network provides support, raises awareness and creates opportunities to share experiences and inspire change.

This article focuses on some of the people leading the way in our inclusion networks.

Women’s Inclusive Network (WIN)

Our Women’s Inclusive Network, established in 2016 was our first inclusion network and has grown to be our biggest group with over 700 members. The network supports members to expand their professional networks and achieve both their personal and career goals. WIN also works closely with our leadership team to support gender diversity initiatives and strengthen engagement with female colleagues. A ‘Young Women’s Community’ has recently launched with the aim to help younger WIN members network beyond their teams, gain further career support and connect with other colleagues early in their career. Another initiative WIN has led on is the introduction of the bi-annual Inspiring Women’s Awards. These awards recognise the achievements of women and the many ways that our female colleagues make a difference.

Kerry Paylor, Head of HR for SSCL Government is the Co-chair of WIN and says:

“I stepped up into a co-chairing role for the Women’s Inclusive Network this year as I’m passionate about all women feeling happy and confident in the workplace. I believe that a supportive and inclusive network will help us achieve this. One of our main focus areas is to ensure we’re inclusive to all women, recognising our differences as well as our similarities. I hope everyone feels like they get something from engaging with this community.”


PLUS Network

Celebrating Pride, Love, Unity and Support, PLUS supports people of all sexual orientations and gender identities. Our active PLUS community raises awareness of sexual orientation and gender identity in the workplace so that our LGBTQIA+ colleagues can feel comfortable, confident and able to thrive. From 70 founding members, the network has grown to over 500 (and counting!).

We were an official sponsor of the 2023 Manchester Pride event, and the PLUS network marched to support the vital work Manchester Pride does all year-round. The PLUS network also collaborated with us to create our LGBTQIA+ Allies scheme, and they had a significant role in the creation of our Trans Inclusion policy, which was introduced in 2022.

Lauren Boys, Service Desk Analyst and member of the PLUS network

“As human beings, we need human connections. There is nothing more valuable than connecting with someone who can empathise with your life experiences, and also share their own. The PLUS network offers employees a place to come together and speak with colleagues who understand what it is like to be openly queer in a work environment. A conversation where both people are on the same page from the start can be life-changing.”


Race and Culture Network

This community includes our Black Employee Community, a Multi-Faith Network and an Ethnic and Cultural Diversity Network, each providing a safe and supportive environment to connect and learn about the cultures and experiences of colleagues from different backgrounds. In 2023, we ran a communications campaign to promote our Women’s and Black and Ethnic Minority Mentoring programmes. More than 300 people registered to take part in last year’s cohort as mentors or mentees – three times higher than previous years.

Omon Fagbamigbe, Data Consulting Manager and Co-chair of the Black Employee Community says:

“I’m proud to co-chair the Black Employee Community, where our mission is to create an environment where equity and equality flourish, enabling each of us to thrive. Sopra Steria has been at the forefront of promoting diversity and inclusion by providing platforms for the voices of the underrepresented to be heard. My role enables me to represent my culture and help foster a more diverse and inclusive organisation.”


Neurodiversity Network

It's believed that around 10% of people are neurodivergent in some way, and neurominorities have a vast range of skills and strengths that they can bring to the workplace. We want neurodivergent people to enjoy their careers, fulfil their potential and to thrive within our organisation. This network represents all forms of neurodiversity, including dyslexia, dyscalculia, attention deficit hyperactivity and those on the autistic spectrum, by raising awareness and improving understanding. This year we launched a Neurodiversity Resources intranet page, providing information on neurodivergent conditions, technology, diagnostic pathways and supporting organisations.

Matthew Averell, Recruitment Sourcer is a member of the Neurodiversity Network and says:

“I work for an organisation that wants to help its neurodiverse employees as much as possible, and proactively encourages them to talk openly about what can be improved. I’m able to get involved in the Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) focus groups at Sopra Steria to raise awareness, help inspire change and make processes more accessible for neurodiverse candidates in the organisation. As someone with dyspraxia, this is really important to me.”


Disability Network

Our Disability Network is passionate about influencing organisational change. The network wanted to improve accessibility for colleagues so launched a company-wide accessibility discovery survey to provide insight to address the barriers people faced at work, both physically and mentally. Using these results, the network held a workshop with senior leaders from across the business, sharing their own stories and experiences as part of the event. This led to the creation of a new dedicated Accessibility Subject Matter Expert role which focuses on our internal systems, processes, client solutions and business platforms to make sure both our internal and external solutions are accessible by design.

Brian Wall, Accessibility Subject Matter Expert and Chair of the Disability Network says:

“In my role, I help to ensure the access needs of all colleagues are met. I educate, challenge and engage my colleagues, helping to bring about positive change. As a disabled person, I have seen how committed Sopra Steria is to diversity and inclusion. And that’s why I’ve stayed with the organisation for so many years.”


We hope that this snapshot of our inclusive communities provides an opportunity to understand the extent of our commitment to fostering an inclusive culture, where every individual feels valued and can freely contribute their unique perspectives.

Read more about Diversity and Inclusion at Sopra Steria.



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