This year National Inclusion Week 2022 is from 26 September to 2 October. What are you doing to champion inclusion and diversity in your workplace?
National Inclusion Week (NIW) is a week dedicated to celebrating inclusion and taking action to create inclusive workplaces and to celebrate, share and inspire inclusion practices.
Founded by Inclusive Employers and celebrated annually, National Inclusion Week is now in its tenth year and this year’s theme is ‘Time to Act: The Power of Now’.
Building on from last year’s them #UnitedForInclusion, which connected 60 million employers and employees to celebrate diversity and inclusion, this year’s theme is about maintaining momentum and moving that unity into action.
Why Is It Important?
Annual events such as NIW are timely reminders that creating an inclusive workplace that values diversity remains a continuing priority for all organisations. There are financial benefits too. Research by Deloitte found that diverse companies enjoy 2.3 times higher cash flow per employee.
People want to work for employers with good employment practice, with open and inclusive workplace cultures where everyone feels valued, respects colleagues, and where their contribution is recognised.
To maintain a competitive edge, businesses need everyone who works for them to give their best contribution and that means ensuring recruitment and retention practices prioritise inclusion and diversity so employers have the skills and talent they need.
What Positive Actions Can You Take?
Celebrating an annual event is a great start and can provide a real focus for your activities, but it’s important to turn that commitment and celebration into ongoing action.
Conduct an Audit
Do you know how diverse your organisation is? Conducting an audit of your employees’ demographics will identify underrepresented groups of people and highlight potential unconscious bias within your business practices.
Review Your Recruitment Process
If your audit has highlighted underrepresented groups, review your hiring processes to remove any opportunities for bias in selection.
Create an Employee Diversity and Inclusion Forum
Engaging with your employees to both inform and direct actions for change can be really powerful. Use this group to sense check actions for change to ensure they are tangible and meaningful for your company. Employees will feel involved in subjects that are important for them and it reinforces a commitment for ongoing dialogue with your workforce.
Organise Inclusion Training
Inclusion is not a quantifiable achievement, but an ongoing commitment to equality. It underpins all employment practices so that means it’s important to educate all employees so they understand what it means for them and their own responsibilities to achieving it.
Document Your Approach
Building on any training, it is important to document your approach via policy documents, such as a code of conduct and ensure these can be accessed by employees easily.
Volunteering or Fundraising for an Inclusion Charity
Volunteering is a powerful way to give back to your community. It allows organisations to continue supporting people most at risk, and pioneer inclusivity within society.
Volunteering and fundraising often encourages open, productive conversation surrounding a sensitive topic in a relaxed environment, with employees united under a common goal. To encourage your employees to take part, consider offering paid volunteering days.
Create an Inclusive Annual Calendar
Your workplace may celebrate Christmas and Easter, but what about Diwali and Hanukkah? Do you recognise International Women’s Day, LGBTQ+ Pride Month and Black History Month? Each of these celebrations is equally important and should be recognised in your business.
By creating an inclusive calendar, this will allow your team to easily identify any upcoming dates that you should acknowledge both publicly and within your company, to ensure all employees feel a sense of belonging.
Lead by Example
A business is only as progressive as its senior figures, so if you do not pioneer inclusivity, neither will your company. Along with your policies, it is critical that your senior managers reflect the commitment you’ve made to valuing diversity and inclusion in how they engage with and manage their people.
Consider Your working Environment
It is important to recognise that your staff each require different environments to succeed, so while some thrive in a busy open office, others would benefit from a calmer room where they can focus. Consider what opportunities you have for creating a workplace that is an inclusive place for all employees to belong.
Narrow Quay HR have a wealth of experience to support in this areas – from running training on unconscious bias to helping with your policy documents.