BBA Aviation makes bias a leadership issue

BBA Aviation’s diversity strategy gained fresh momentum after its top team took part in Pearn Kandola’s Mirror programme. The experience broadened their thinking about what diversity means within the business. It also encouraged them to move their approach forward by focusing on team dynamics and leadership.

BBA Aviation employs 10,000 people across 11 countries, including sizeable operations in the USA. Diversity is a big issue for the company, says Group HR Director, Martin Filippides, who organised the Mirror workshop for the Executive Management Committee’s 12 members.

“We’re all very committed to making progress on diversity, as treating people fairly helps to promote a stable and productive workforce. Although I regularly update my Committee colleagues about what we’re doing on diversity, the workshop was a way of getting them more directly involved.”

The session focused on raising awareness of bias, stressing that it occurs naturally, and inevitably affects decisions, but also showing that people can do something about it.

Commenting on what BBA got out of the workshop, Martin said: “The session itself was great fun and very interesting. Everyone found the slides and exercises stimulating. This led to us discussing diversity more broadly, and specifically how it relates to team dynamics and leadership. We discussed the issues again afterwards and decided to make diversity and high-performing teams the theme of our next annual leadership conference.”

“The Committee members responded very positively to the way Pearn Kandola skilfully wove together awareness of bias with issues of leadership. The workshop certainly opened people’s minds to the fact that we all have biases. It also showed that diversity doesn’t need to have a business case, and that it’s really a moral issue to challenge your own pre-conceptions and to respect the views of others.”

“I would also say that The Mirror programme is valuable from a wider HR perspective. It particularly helps with Corporate Social Responsibility, and in understanding your employee base, and the mistakes you can make.”

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