Richard Corbridge

Tom Allen
clock • 4 min read
Richard Corbridge
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Richard Corbridge

Part of the IT Leaders 100 - a list of the most influential IT leaders in the UK

Richard brings years of experience in tech leadership to his position as CIO of Boots, where he delivers and supports technology to more than 2,500 stores and 60,000 staff across the UK. Among his many achievements are several large-scale digital transformation programmes, driving 300% digital growth and migrating the entire organisation away from legacy data centres to the cloud.

How do you ensure diversity is taken into account in your IT recruitment?

InclusivIT launched as a WBA wide global initiative with me as the executive sponsor. This has seen a brand created for the sole purpose of improving the understanding the impact better DE&I capability can have on the delivery of a great place to work for technologists.

The InclusivIT programme consists of a number of initiatives including:

  • Allyship Day - A day devoted to the promotion of allyship through training in how to be a good ally, networking and 'speed dating' to create the right opportunity to be an ally and a wider DEI understanding programme to increase awareness of privilege.
  • Reverse Mentoring programme, put in place to ensure leaders can access volunteers willing to act as a reverse mentor. Over 40 leaders in technology now have a reverse mentor programme in place.
  • Book Group - Quite simply a virtual book group recommending reads and watches that enhance a wider world view of inclusivity taking place every month for the last year and with over 50 active participants.
  • Lunch and Learn - An opportunity to take a lunch break whilst listening to a diverse set of speakers talk about their own inclusive experiences or learnings.
  • Mental Health Awareness Training created and then made available across all leaders within IT, Data and Digital.
  • Business Reference Groups for Pride, BAME, Women in IT and Neuro Diversity. These groups create content to enable and enthuse teams from across our organisation to have a better understanding of these areas.

A high improvement (six points) in role satisfaction captured through the internal 'glint-survey' has been seen in the survey run in Q1 of 2022. This was against a back-drop of falling scores in other departments and through a period of sustained change across the organisation.

A reduction in staff leaving the organisation by 3.6% year on year and an increase in new recruits from diverse backgrounds through a focus on interview styles, advertisement content and transparency on what its like to work at Boots.

A highly rated company satisfaction in the delivery of eLearning across the organisation in particular for DEI initiatives based on the adoption of hybrid learning and the delivery of learning week to the team.

The Hack Our Happiness initiative was launched in the early spring of 2022 and is a movement created on the basis of a hack but with creating happiness in the office as its goal. Groups of people spending time together physically and discussing issues that make them unhappy at work. The hack is then empowered to put together plans to change the problem and with help from the leadership team is empowered to put those changes into actions.

We have seen a significant cost savings in the recruitment of staff through reduced advertisement time and the appeal has increased the pool for roles too through our DEI initiatives being so transparent in their content to people outside of Boots looking to come in. We have a goal to be known as an Inclusive IT employer and a great deal of what we do in the public domain is geared towards achieving this.

Which technology are you currently most excited by?

The key to our innovation for the future is how we join up technologies we have created and deployed already. Therefore connectivity of systems at all layers, system and data is so important to us. The delivery of computer vision in stores opens up so much opportunity - the ability to perform analytics on the store visit, as well as offering a frictionless journey, is very exciting for us and our customers. The personalisation of the healthcare journeys that we offer is also exciting; using data and customer consent Boots can be at the forefront of a new way of delivering access to health, care and wellness capability. 

What do you to unwind?

I have a vinyl obsession. With over 850 records to choose from it's a great hobby to keep it organised as well as listening to them nice and loud. I also collect cookbooks, thanks to my mum's obsession when I was growing up; hunting out a rare or new cookbook comes with a huge satisfaction when you find a new recipe to inspire you. 

If you were an animal (other than human), which animal would you be and why?

My dog, it really is a dog's life in our house! 

What makes you laugh?

My children. They roll their eyes when I am excited by something and their innocence and excitement to see, hear, taste and do something new never ceases to amaze me and make me laugh when they love something new that I didn't think they would. 

How did you get into IT?

By accident! Supporting NHS systems, learning to code and then run large programmes. Falling in love with the difference technology can make and then wanting to lead others. 

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