Guest Blog: Inclusion matters – guest blog by Helen Hadley, Employee Experience Manager
If you can believe it, we are approaching the end of the third week in September and are well into Half 2 (how?!). Next week we kick off Inclusion Week where we want to encourage you all to #TakeActionMakeImpact. We are hosting a series of webinars with Inclusive Employers around allyship and we hope you can make them.
Ahead of Inclusion Week I thought this would be a perfect opportunity to talk about inclusion and why it matters. But first here’s a little bit about me and why I’m talking to you about inclusion…
A bit about me
For those of you I’ve not yet had the pleasure of meeting, I’m Helen and I am the Employee Experience Manager for Nash Squared – I moved to our Group People Team on 1st September but I’ve actually been with Harvey Nash for the last 2.5 years as the HR Business Partner for the UKI and Spinks.
I joined the organisation in the middle of the pandemic having just finished 12 months maternity leave – well, that was a shock to the system, hello MS Teams! I have 17 years’ experience working in HR across a number of sectors and industries including logistics, marketing and technology. And I can honestly say I have never been made to feel more welcome and included in my 17 years of working in HR than I did when I joined Harvey Nash. The culture in this business is truly exceptional.
Although the idea of employee experience manager is a fairly new concept, It’s actually made up of all the things organisations like Nash Squared have been doing for a while – think engagement surveys; diversity & inclusion strategies, communication. In my role I’ll have a global lens on all these activities working with local HR teams (People & Culture in many countries) to ensure we embrace and include our colleagues.
So why is inclusion important?
Inclusion is often defined as the extent to which ‘everyone at work, regardless of their background, identity or circumstance, feels valued, accepted and supported to succeed at work’. In fact, in our People Promise: Creating the moments that matter, one of our commitments is that “We will recognise, value and celebrate all our colleagues for their differences”
Feeling included is so powerful – by respecting and valuing someone’s identity without expecting them to conform to societal norms allows them to thrive and contribute. I’ve already shared how I was made to feel included when I first joined the business but I wonder if every one of our employees feels the same? An uncomfortable question? Perhaps. But isn’t that what we should be doing – asking uncomfortable questions and challenging the status quo?
Since being in my new position I have had the pleasure of attending all of Employee Resource Group(ERG) meetings for Wo+Men@Nash, EthNASHity, NashAbility and NashPride; we have an incredible group of passionate individuals who are committed to challenging deeply imbedded habits and improving the employee experience of all our colleagues. These people all volunteer their time over and above the day job to try to make our organisation more inclusive. My focus will be on how we best share and communicate the incredible initiatives these groups work tirelessly on so everyone who joins our organisation feels connected and included.
We have a collective responsibility to create and maintain an inclusive culture.
So as I sign off and we all head in to what I hope will be an enjoyable weekend for us all, let me leave you with my 3 key take aways of little things we can all do to foster an inclusive culture:
1. Educate yourself: Learn more about the importance of using inclusive language for example and the impact of your words on others. We’ll be sharing our ‘Language Matters’ guide with you all in the coming weeks.
2. Challenge your biases: Be mindful of your own biases or prejudices. Challenge these biases by actively seeking out diverse perspectives and engaging with people from different backgrounds.
3. Embrace mistakes: Our journey to inclusivity is a learning process and that mistakes are inevitable. Do not be afraid to ask for feedback or guidance from other people and be open to learning from them. Move on quickly if you make a mistake and learn from it.
Have a great weekend, Helen.