The Lens on what the future of work looks like, returning to work after a break and workforces reflecting your customer base

Join Oli Barrett MBE for episode one of series three of The Lens podcast

Series three of Business in the Community’s (BITC) The Lens podcast is here and returning to work. Ann Pickering, Chief HR Officer and Chief of Staff at communications giant O2 and Ria Johal, a diversity and inclusion consultant, previously of Deutsche Bank and J.P.Morgan, with a wealth of wisdom to share, catch up with our host Oli Barrett MBE for the first episode of the series.

In this episode our guests discuss: breaks from and returning to work; what this might look like for many people, especially women; how to navigate these situations; and how companies can lead by example. Ria and Oli also discuss graduate schemes and the needs of graduates entering the workplace for the first time. Ann offers her thoughts on how human resources (HR) should and can function to support staff at every level, and provides some stellar interview tips.

Oli and guests also discuss authenticity and how to offer genuine support and inclusive cultures within the workplace. They consider how this intersects with productivity, employee happiness, personal goals and the importance of providing an environment that helps staff achieve their best work.

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The guests

Ann Pickering joined O2 (Telefónica UK) in 2004 and was appointed to the UK board as HR director in 2008. Since then O2 has achieved a top 20 place three times in The Sunday Times Top 100 Employers in the UK and eight times in the UK Best Places to Work. Over the past two years O2 has been included in the top 25 companies in the Social Mobility Employer Index. Ann Pickering is a trustee of Breast Cancer Now and a trustee of Step up to Serve, a charity aimed at promoting social action among young people. She is also a visiting professor of Human Resources Management at Sheffield University Management School, where she chairs the advisory board.

Ria Johal is a University of Sheffield graduate who has worked at both Deutsche Bank and J.P.Morgan. She is now a diversity and inclusion consultant and key note speaker. She works closely with women’s charities, in particular those that focus on retraining women after taking time away from work and those that provide women and girls with routes into science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) careers. Ria is passionate and curious about speed of technological advances and continuous learning and opportunities for women in workplaces.

The Lens is a Business in the Community (BITC) podcast exploring responsible business in a digital age. It is powered by Fujitsu and supported by McCann. For the optimal listening experience open using Google Chrome or Safari.

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