Championing DE&I and sustainability in the workplace and my 20 year career at Boots – Caralyn’s story
Tell us about your career to date…
I have worked for Boots since I was 16 years old, it’ll be 20 years this year. I have worked across different businesses including Boots UK and Boots Opticians, in store for most of my career. After a stint working on Covid testing sites as a Deployment Manager, I took on a role in the Support Office within HR in Employee Relations in November 2021.
How do you try to make a difference for the better in your role?
More recently I have loved being a part of our Business Resource Groups (BRGs) such as the Environmental Sustainability BRG. I’m keen to make an active difference within my own team by championing DE&I (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion) and making sure it is always at the forefront, including environmental sustainability. My journey has just begun with this, but I encourage all the team to participate where they can and join any Business Resource Group they align with or want to be an ally to. When considering my current role as an Employee Relations Advisor, we bring to life DE&I in all advice we give, including workplace adjustments and protected characteristics.
What is your role at Boots and how do you manage also being part of the BRG?
I work in Employee Relations, and it is important in my role to embrace and include different viewpoints and ideas. I like engaging in meaningful debate and enjoy listening to other viewpoints. I do not enforce my ideas on anyone but encourage people to consider options available. The Microsoft Teams pages for the BRGs work great for me as I can catch up with any conversations or initiatives when I have the time and capacity to do so.
Boots recognises the importance of BRGs, and I am confident if I wanted to attend meetings that were not recorded then my line manager would support me in that and encourage me to share any learnings from this with the wider team. It is also great to see the company taking this so seriously and even better to see some of the initiatives and projects in the flesh walking through the Support Office and shows the investment in the BRG by the business.
Would you recommend joining a Business Resource Group?
Yes 100%. It’s a fantastic way to build working relationships with various parts of the business and gives the opportunity to be involved in some fantastic events and initiatives. It makes me proud to work for a company that has BRGs so high on their agenda. I would recommend joining any BRG to employees as it is insightful to broaden knowledge and promotes an inclusive workplace, whether you have joined because you are passionate about the subject matter or joined as an ally, it is a positive experience to be a member of the BRGs.
What are the most rewarding moments from your career so far?
This is going to sound quite a minor achievement, but when I started as an Opticians Manager they did not have the facility to recycle materials such as cardboard and plastic and I made it my mission to get a recycling bin and ensure we did our best as a team to recycle everything that we could.
Also, I led by example when we introduced our contact lens recycling scheme and made sure as many of our customers as possible knew about this scheme to take advantage of it and make sure it was a success in my store.
I find my current role rewarding on a personal level as I care about the people in the business and enjoy empowering managers to make decisions.
I have loved the journey Boots has been on in recent years, being trendsetters with vegan and cruelty free products and make up and introducing schemes such as refillable perfumes, adding in ethical and environmentally friendly brands such as Faith in Nature and Garnier.