We caught up recently with Roger Mitchell, B&I – Cluster Support Manger who has recently become Co Chair of Ability, one of our employee networks.
Roger has been working at the client site for almost 20 years, having been with several caterers and now working with Compass Group UK & Ireland’s Business and Industry sector. He started his career working in hotels, as a chef where he had his first taste of hospitality. He is passionate about promoting the positive impact of mental wellbeing and supporting those with disabilities and also wants to raise awareness of the link between the two. With this in mind he has recently become a Co Chair of both Compass’ YouMatter and Ability networks.
Where has your understanding and commitment to raising awareness of these issue come from?
My three children are all neurodiverse and this has really driven me to understand more and recognise how I can support them. After looking into a diagnosis for them, I turned my attention to myself and I was also diagnosed with autism in 2022. I am really keen to raise further awareness of this agenda at work, but also at home and within my personal life - I want to help people with visible and hidden disabilities thrive. There is a link between disability, neurodiversity and mental health issues – these often go hand in hand, so for me I want to help with the whole picture.
What is your role?
Our colleague networks are run by colleagues for colleagues, which is great because it means we have advocates throughout the business helping to drive this agenda. The network offers a safe space for discussion, awareness, support and future looking solutions. My role across YouMatter and Ability is to ensure we are better represented at all levels within the business and that we are creating environments where our people feel supported and can flourish.
How did you get involved in Ability?
I became involved shortly after its launch (since December 2022) and I am really proud to support this agenda. I have two people in my team that are neurodiverse and they bring so many valuable qualities to our team – they really are an asset. My role is to make sure everyone has the same opportunities within our business and ensure each person has the support needed.
Any specific areas of focus?
Throughout the year we have calendar events that help raise awareness of these issues. One area of focus is information and help for recruiting managers. We want to make sure the hiring process takes into account our differences, to ensure better accessibility of opportunities for all. When people have a different CV, we should be able to look at it with a different lens. Within our business, we are all about offering training and we have such a wide range of roles, that there really is an opportunity to suit pretty much everyone. Sometimes it is appropriate to not treat everyone the same, but instead giving our people the skills to support each other and embrace our differences.
What do you find rewarding?
It’s been really great to see the difference our networks can make – to individuals, but also with our organisation to see these issues gaining more positive momentum. I am really proud of the recent work I have done with onboarding new members of staff, where we start off their Compass journey, by being really open and supportive, signposting information, resources and help.