Our employee networks: supporting a diverse workforce

Our employee networks: supporting a diverse workforce

Published 27 January 2020 | Average read time
5 min read
Stories Life at Network Rail People and the railway

Did you know we have six employee networks? They provide support and opportunities to about 3,000 members and contribute to a more open, inclusive and diverse organisation.

The employee networks give members wide-ranging advice and promote important issues through national and local events such as Black History Month in October, Pride Month in June and Race Equality Week and LGBT+ History Month in February.

Furthermore, they work with us to improve communication around the business and develop valuable guidance.

Nick Radford, a programme manager and chair of CanDo, our employee network for disabled colleagues, said: “[Employee networks] are important because they have the potential to shape the culture and behaviours of Network Rail internally, but also externally in how we treat passengers.”

The employee networks help the company through initiatives including changes to policies to better support employees and collaborations with other employee networks to develop line manager training.

They also help inform diversity impact assessments. These are assessments Network Rail carries out when making any changes that may affect staff, as part of its public sector equality duty.

Railway workers in an auditorium making a presentation about employee network CanDo
Employee networks play an important role in advising colleagues and company policies

Nick said: “By trying to create a trusted space for discussing issues, networks can tap into the ideas of employees (disabled employees in our case) and help support management plan for and deliver effective change from within.”

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Diversity and inclusion

Everyone strategy

What are our employee networks?


Archway, our employee network focused on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues, is looking forward to taking part in LGBT+ History Month and each summer is heavily involved with Pride Month nationally.

Network Rail employees taking part in a Pride event holding a rainbow flag
Many Network Rail employees take part in Pride events across Britain each summer

Archway’s membership encompasses people from train operating companies, our supply chain and trade body Rail Delivery Group.

It has been named the top LGBT+ employee network in Britain for improving the lives of LGBT people at the British LGBT Awards.


CanDo is our network focused on support and guidance for disabled colleagues, helping those with physical or mental, or visible or non-visible impairments.

Nick said CanDo focused on three distinct areas:

  • it provides a voice for disabled employees to help drive real life changes within the business to better support disabled employees or our service to disabled passengers
  • CanDo offers a forum for professional and social networking to help avoid a sense of isolation as a result of having a disability (i.e. we are not alone), giving people more confidence.
  • it also educates and raises awareness to lift taboos, stigmas or myths about disability and making people more comfortable to talk about it.
Members of CanDo posing in front of a purple background, holding a mock picture frame
CanDo members inspiring confidence

Nick said: “This creates an environment where people can be more comfortable about being themselves as work, feel supported if they need something and ultimately will help disabled employees perform to their best ability.”

Cultural Fusion

Cultural Fusion is our Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) employee network. It recognises the benefits that a diverse workforce can bring and aims for this to be reflected at all levels within Network Rail.

Sharon Salmon, a commercial analyst at Network Rail and chair of Cultural Fusion, joined the network after feeling a need to effect positive change at the company. She believes personal and shared experiences can help foster a more open and inclusive working environment and says Cultural Fusion is “embracing differences to make a difference”.

One of Cultural Fusion’s objectives is to improve discussions surrounding promotion, retention and career progression, particularly regarding the representation of BAME employees.

Group shot of six members of Cultural Fusion employee network
Members of Cultural Fusion

Inspire supports women in all business areas of Network Rail to fulfill their potential. Each June, International Women in Engineering Day highlights the contribution of female engineers.

Network Rail employees take part in talks in across Britain focused on different levels of engineering experience, from junior to senior employees.

Care supports colleagues who have caring responsibilities and promotes an understanding culture across the business. Members can share experiences and help each other regarding Network Rail policies and external support mechanisms.

The Multi-faith Forum recognises the variety of faith practices and philosophical diversity within Network Rail and across the country.

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Life at Network Rail

Film: Black History Month – Change the Game

Black History Month 2020

Windrush Day 2020

International Women in Engineering Day 2020

International Women in Engineering Day 2019: Just Like Me

International Women’s Day – All Change

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