Network Rail

Capturing the experience of 81 nationalities across 5 regions at Network Rail


Network Rail had the vision to create an anti-racist culture within their organisation. Their mission was to be active in ensuring that every Network Rail employee was treated fairly. Free from discrimination, able to be themselves and able to realise their full potential.

They partnered with FLAIR to measure the effectiveness of their current racial equity strategy and understand where they could improve. They wanted to take their entire organisation on a journey to racial equity and FLAIR was ready to help.


Prior to launching with FLAIR, Network Rail understood there were disparities for people from Black, Asian, or ethnically marginalised backgrounds. This manifested itself in terms of lower performance ratings, a disproportionate number of people from Black, Asian, or ethnically marginalised backgrounds in disciplinaries, and a lack of access to secondment issues.

"I would say to any organisation thinking about using FLAIR that they ought to explore it genuinely. If you are committed to building an organisation that is conscious of its weaknesses and therefore leans into them to improve, then FLAIR is a really useful tool to understand where your gaps might be and then enable you to target the interventions to overcome them."

Loraine Martins OBE - Director of Diversity & Inclusion, Network Rail


With FLAIR's help, they were able to measure how racially equitable the culture was at Network Rail. The first step was an anonymous survey designed by experts. With project management support to guide them through the post-survey process and a dynamic dashboard for the data to help them visualise the progress, they were making.

This enabled Network Rail to drill down in terms of geography and grade, finding out exactly where the issues were.

The data was organised under 4 key pillars:

  • Racial diversity: how racially diverse the staff base was, and how this compared across the region
  • Racial-inclusion barriers: whether race was a barrier to feeling included within the organisation
  • Racial awareness: how staff are likely to respond if witnessing different types of racism
  • Racist behaviours: how frequently different forms of racism were being witnessed and experienced


FLAIR’s dashboard showed Network Rail which areas they were performing well in, and which areas needed improvement. One example from the data showed low levels of racial diversity at Band 2 level and Exec/EGU/Band 1 level.

It was recommended that Network Rail set up succession planning directed at ethnically marginalised talent alongside targeted ethnically marginalised search recruitment.

In addition, it was suggested that they publicise aspirational ethnicity targets for senior leadership. This gives clear goals and accountability for the organisation.

Several more key areas for improvement were identified, and targeted recommendations were provided for each.


  • 4,660 employees anonymously surveyed across 81 nationalities - giving all staff a voice
  • Clear direction on where to focus time and resources
  • Highlighting areas of strength and areas that could be improved
  • Benchmark data to effectively progress their racial equity strategy
  • Strategic recommendations on where to target to drive tangible change
Creating an anti-racist culture within Network Rail
Find out how you can use data to drive racial equity