Posted by Conor ● 7 November 2018

Why Diversity is Top of the Agenda at Enterprise-Rent-A-Car

Everybody's talking about diversity. 

77% of respondents to ISE's annual survey revealed they were changing their marketing and attraction activities to address concerns about diversity! 

Enterprise-Rent-A-Car has been proactive in making their undergraduate schemes accessible and welcoming to all students. So much so they were awarded the Best Diversity Initiative in Work Experience award at the 2017 NUE Awards. 

We asked Ashley Hever, Talent Acquisition Director at Enterprise Rent-A-Car (UK & Ireland) to share how his team have successfully increased the diversity of their undergraduate intake, and the positive effects it has had on the company. 

Why is having a diverse workforce so important to you personally and to Enterprise?

Being the first in my family to go to university I personally understand the challenges of leaving university and not having a career that you can walk straight into. It’s so important to me to be leading Enterprise’s recruiting efforts knowing that we are welcoming to all candidates, and not being concerned about where you studied or your background.

Diversity is part of our cultural compass at Enterprise and this isn’t something new, from my first day in the company nearly 19 years ago diversity was always integral to our business. We want our 450 branches to have employees that reflect those communities. Research shows that businesses with a diverse workforce prove to me more successful.  

Our 'promote from within' philosophy (over 95% of promotions are from within) means that we have to recruit a diverse workforce at entry level. For our internships and placements we engage and partner with over 70 universities to meet and attract and recruit great talent. Attracting a wider talent pool and creating an inclusive work environment for employees is integral to our business.  


Can you share any examples of diversity initiatives that are working really well?

We have recently launched our Thrive campaign which promotes successful female role models in the business. We created 13 videos which we have posted on our website and on social media channels - it's resulted in a phenomenal increase in applications from females.

We’ve worked very closely with universities and their Widening Participation (WP) programmes; a great example of this is with De Montfort University where we worked with their WP students and took 9 them to our head office in Paris. The trip gave our students the opportunity to network and receive coaching from senior members of staff at a multi-national company. This is something their lack of social capital would not normally allow them to do.

We have also participated in over 20 Pride events this yea,r which is great for our employees to get involved in.

We have reached well over 25K students through over 440 events, sponsoring a number of societies and events including Black Girl Bloom. We have hired from over 100 different universities and our school outreach programme this year has seen us provide over 40 mentors to the Bridge Builders Programme. 

Internally we have some great initiatives, this includes EnterPride (our LGBT+ network), Drive Magazine and our Female Boss Group to name but a few. These initiatives have helped create an inclusive work culture that’s contributes to our reputation as an employer that attracts and recruits diverse talent.

How long did it take you to start seeing results around your diversity recruitment goals?

Every year we’re seeing the results of the work we have been doing. One thing that I’ve worked on is ensuring we have the right tools to be able to tell us if we’re being successful or not. We didn’t always have the data to illustrate the work we’ve been doing. A couple of years ago we hired a data analyst and a digital recruitment manager to bring together the data we have built up over the years. This has provided us with information that will help us in both our attraction and retention strategies.

A lot of the results have been from fantastic relationships with the careers services and placement officers. These relationships have helped us build many of the bespoke strategies we have on campus. The partnerships we have built have led to great improvements in the number of students we’ve hired from a lower socio-economic background.

We continue to look for the right tools and analytics to measure our successes. We recently analysed all of our applications for the past 3 years to look for any unconscious bias in our process. It resulted in us organising unconscious bias training for our recruitment team, run by Business in the Community. Over the past few years these results have been recognised through some of our awards, such as our NUE diversity award, Business in the Community leadership awards and being named as a top 50 company for women for the past 13 years.


What benefits have you seen through focusing on diversity in your attraction?

Since focusing on attracting diverse talent our business has gone from strength to strength and we continue to see improvements in profit, retention and customer service. We now have a workforce that reflects the communities in which we operate and are better able to cater to our market.

Do you feel that other companies in the UK as a whole are doing enough to attract diverse talent?

In the ten years I’ve been in my role, there has been a notable shift in companies attitudes toward diversity. Attracting diverse talent is a key part of Enterprise’s recruitment strategy, and I believe this is the case for many companies across the UK.

There are some great initiatives in place, especially from the likes of FDM, Clifford Chance and Grant Thornton.

However, this is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of what the UK as a whole can be doing to attract and recruit diverse talent. There is still much more that can be done, especially with regards to social mobility.

What advice would you give to an employer who is trying to attract a diverse and inclusive workforce?

1) Get the buy in from your business leaders.

2) Ensure your teams and line managers understand and are trained in unconscious bias.

3) Build your network of partners. For example, we work with MyPlusConsulting and Business in the Community for our CSR initiatives. 

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More about Ash...

asheracAs TA Director, Ashley Hever oversees Talent Acquisition for all UK and Ireland operations. After graduating from The University of Hull in Criminology, he joined Enterprise Rent-A-Car as a management trainee in 2001. He has over 17 years of experience with the company and has held a  variety of roles in operations, management and human resources.

Ashley was the first in his family to go to University and sponsors and chairs the Enterprise LGBT+ network, EnterPride. He is incredibly passionate about creating a diverse & inclusive culture at Enterprise, which is why we are delighted he's taken the time to share his insights with us. Thank you Ash!


Topics: Undergraduate, School & College Leaver