Embracing everyday inclusion

Louise Beardmore, our Customer service and people director, reflects on a fantastic week of activity around National Inclusion Week.

This week companies up and down the country have been celebrating National Inclusion Week (NIW), a chance to shine the spotlight on workplace inclusion, celebrate success and look at what more can be done.

Throughout the week I’ve seen fantastic examples and ideas on how to embrace this year’s theme of, Everyday Inclusion, from simple things like sitting next to someone who you’ve not worked with before to hard hitting reports highlighting the work still to be done to ensure inclusivity is universal.

I’m proud to see colleagues across United Utilities embracing and creating an inclusive culture not just during National Inclusion Week but on a daily basis. We have thriving employee networks championing and empowering colleagues such as our LGBT+, gender equality and Ability networks. Throughout the week we’ve also held events across our sites shining a spotlight on the work we do to support ex-service leavers and provide mental health first aid to colleagues across the North West who feel they need some extra support.

It’s a proactive approach towards inclusivity such as employee networks and events that help increase awareness and gather traction to issues new and old. Creating space for employee networks to grow and evolve with time and other resources, if needed, are vital to making a long term success of a truly inclusive workplace culture, a culture that brings diversity of ideas, approaches and allows every single person to feel valued.

There should be no hurdles to getting a job, progressing within an organisation, or just feeling part of a team; gender, sexual orientation, disability, age or social background. None of these should be a barrier. Earlier this week you may have read a blog on our youth employment programme, we’re proud to be doing our bit to help provide support for people not in education, employment or training and it’s fantastic to see such a high percentage of individuals completing this scheme with us.

There’s still more to do, we need to make sure inclusivity isn’t just championed for one week but is at the forefront of decision making and how we operate on a daily basis. Insights from one of the leading professional service providers and business consultants, Deloitte, show that an inclusive culture can create an organisation that is 6 times more likely to be innovative and agile and 8 times more lightly to achieve better business outcomes. These stats are powerful and show that inclusivity isn’t just a nice to have, it’s an essential for making our organisation grow and thrive.