National Highways – Spotlight on Forming an Inclusive Culture

National Highways manage and improve England’s motorways and major A roads, helping customers have safer, smoother, and more reliable journeys.

The organisation has approximately 6,000 employees. Their primary role is to deliver a better service for road users and to support a growing economy.


The primary challenges for National Highways included:

  • Educating management on diversity, equality, and inclusion (DEI) issues.
  • Arranging consultations during a pandemic; and
  • Engaging wider staff on DEI issues and policies that embraced an inclusive culture.

Innovative actions

A mandatory management development programme was introduced to equip managers with the skills and techniques to successfully manage their teams in a fair, consistent, and equitable way.

Employee networks were asked to be involved in the development of policies and working practices and activities, including webinars, to help raise awareness.

September 2020 saw the launch of the Respect at Work campaign. This introduced a new policy and outlined a zero-tolerance approach to racism, bullying, and harassment. It also made DEI e-learning mandatory.

Evidence of impact

The benefits of this approach included:

  • A 41% increase in employee network membership in 12 months.
  • An 83% increase in views (from 2019 to 2021) of DEI blogs and articles on their Intranet.
  • The involvement of 54 DEI champions who served as role models for DEI, taking actions when appropriate and challenging behaviours where necessary.
  • The top strength identified in the employee survey was “We value and promote employee diversity”

The information contained within this resource was accurate at the time of its publication and subsequent revision. This article was created in 2021 and revised in April 2022.

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