National Inclusion Week gives organisations a good opportunity to learn about, celebrate, share and champion inclusive practices.

But what does inclusion mean in the workplace?

To understand inclusion, you also need to understand equality and diversity. If equality is about the fair treatment of everyone, protected by law via The Equality Act 2010 in the UK, diversity can be described as the ‘mix’ or ‘variety’ of people in an organisation. Inclusion is the culture that supports all the people, regardless of their background or circumstance, enabling them to ‘fit in’ and thrive at work.

Why is Inclusion Week relevant to my organisation?

National Inclusion Week is devised by Inclusive Employers, a leading membership organisation challenging and supporting organisations to become more diverse and inclusive. Although large organisations often have more resources to spend on promoting awareness weeks to their employees, any sized organisation can register with Inclusive Employers to receive a FREE toolkit containing useful information, guides and resources to raise inclusion awareness and organise low-cost and free activities. Using the momentum of the awareness week’s media coverage, it can also provide a useful opportunity for businesses to reflect on their current practices, talk to their people, and explore how inclusion can benefit every person as well as overall productivity and then collectively take action to encourage more inclusivity.

Some useful questions to ask

There’s no set way to build an inclusive workplace, but it can be useful to start with some searching questions – for example:

  • What have been our inclusion achievements this year and how can we build on them?
  • What have we done to demonstrate our commitment to an inclusive culture to our people and to our customers?
  • How well do we know our people and how well do they know their colleagues?
  • How often do we speak to our people about their lives, their work and their plans?
  • What have we listened to, read or watched to broaden our perspectives and understanding of different experiences?
  • Who can we work with outside of our organisation to increase our experience and understanding of inclusion?
  • How can we work with others in our industry to share knowledge, resources and experiences of inclusion?

A company’s workforce may be diverse, but if its people do not feel safe, welcomed and valued, the company will not be inclusive and will not perform to its highest potential. Every company of every size has a responsibility to make its people feel valued, respected, accepted and encouraged to fully participate in the organisation.

There are plenty more excellent resources available for businesses to access – here are just a few:

CIPD Inclusion and Diversity in the Workplace (May 2021)

ACAS Improving Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in your Workplace

D&I Leaders: online community, in-person and online events

Have a great week!