National Inclusion Week aims to celebrate everyday inclusion in all its forms. It takes place Monday 27 September to Friday 1 October and this year, the theme is #UnitedForInclusion. Together, we want to unite our teams to help share learning, best practice, successes and challenges; helping us to create a workplace where we all feel like we belong.
We’ve got a lot planned for this year’s Inclusion Week but first, I want to reflect on the past 12 months and the brilliant things we’ve all achieved to help champion inclusion.
Our highlights over the last 12 months
Awards and accreditations
- We we’re named a top inclusive employer. We positioned 24thon the UK’s top 50 inclusive employers list – an amazing achievement and one we’re hoping to sustain.
- We’ve received some important accreditations. We’re a proud Stonewall Champion, hold Disability Confident Employer Status, and we’ve been recognised with a Silver Award from the Armed Forces Covenant Employer Recognition Scheme.
- More colleagues have joined our Networks. Our Network membership has grown by 47% but despite this, we’re always looking for new members and allies to join us.
- We’ve introduced leadership sponsors. We’ve always had an Executive Sponsor but this year, we also introduced a Leadership Sponsor from our Directors’ Group. They are active allies who will help align Network and corporate priorities.
- Numbers are also growing at our events. We hosted lots of events last year and it’s great to see that more of you are joining them – in fact, participation grew by 220%! By taking part in the conversation, you’re helping to increase our understanding of the issues that matter to you, which in turn is enabling us to respond with initiatives that you want to see.
- Our LGBT+ Toolkit went live.Launched by Liberty*, our LGBT+ Network, the Toolkit includes a range of resources for colleagues’ own awareness or for activities with their teams and customers.
- Wellbeing matters. To support LGBT+ colleagues and raise ally awareness, we held a workshop with Stonewall about mental health. For Vaisakhi 2021, health professionals from Sikh Your Mind discussed the challenges of mental health being undetected within the Sikh community.
Policy and procedure changes
- A recruitment process that is more inclusive for disabled candidates.Liberty*, our Disability Network, has been working closely with our Talent team to ensure our processes are inclusive for disabled candidates. For example, we’ve removed the requirement for a driving licence from most roles and we’ve ensured assessments support neurodiverse candidates.
- We increased our maternity and adoption pay levels.Our Women’s Network, Balance, were the driving force behind this, reviewing our Family Friendly offer to better support colleagues to balance work and home responsibilities
Learning and development
- Talking about race has resulted in positive changes. We’ve separated Black and BAME in our ethnicity reporting to really understand the representation of Black colleagues within our organisation. Unity, our Race Network, also added to our Inclusion Learning Framework by helping shape our Race, Racism and Stereotypes e-learning module, which was conceptualised after honest conversations following Black History Month and Black Lives Matters.
- Development opportunities for our colleagues.We delivered a number of career development workshops. For example, during our International Women’s Day celebrations, we ran sessions with external career coaches, focussed on female development.
And we’re not stopping there…
For National Inclusion Week, we’ll be continuing more of our great work to help celebrate inclusion and belonging in all its forms. From panel discussions to career stories, e-card recognition to practical tips, we’ve got a bumper week of activities planned.
After all, creating an environment where anyone can thrive, regardless of their background, is always a priority and there’s always more we can all do to make sure everyone can fulfil their potential.