This week is National Inclusion Week, an annual opportunity for employers around the country to reflect on what inclusion really means. Inclusion is something we’re committed to at the Post Office. This comes in very concrete forms – like ensuring our branches are accessible for everyone in society, to being an equal opportunities employer – to the more intangible. Like the postmaster who goes above and beyond to serve everyone in their community, or the line managers who welcome diversity of thought in their teams – truly embracing our behaviour of Honest Challenge.
And there are no better people to explain what inclusion means than our people. We asked some of the colleagues in our D&I networks to share what inclusion means to them and what they’re most proud of achieving in the past year.
Lesley Davis, BAME network member:
There’s been lots to be proud of this year, from winning the Diversity Award at the Employee Engagement Awards earlier in the year, to participating in Pride event, World Food Day, the sessions we in the BAME group had with Paula to help push BAME representation.
But what I’m most proud of is the progress of the BAME steerco in promoting the inclusion. I makes a huge difference to me personally.
There is still some way to go before businesses and society as a whole are truly inclusive, and at Post Office we have to ensure that diversity is reflected throughout and at all levels of the organisation to really push this forward.
Farida Iqbal, Chair of the BAME network:
I often get asked the question – why have we set up a network based on race because surely this only serves to divide?
My answer?....we are all so unique as individuals – so with 5000 employees, that’s 5000 unique perspectives. The BAME network exists to offer opportunities to share cultural and religious heritage, to celebrate all the unique experiences, that enrich us and to inform policy and practice within Post Office.
We are here to create better conversations about race, which can often be a little prickly, with the backdrop of what we see and hear around us in the media and though personal experience. If this weren’t challenging it wouldn’t be true to the Post Office values – so a part of this is about challenging ourselves, our teams and our business on how we shout about the value of all those unique perspectives – a little like a megaphone or a boom box! A key part of this is how we incorporate this into our business focus – Applied Diversity (so not that different from Applied Maths!)
The BAME network are seeking active volunteers – you can take on as little or as much as you like: You choose! Please contact us on Yammer: BAME Network
Ben Spencer-White, Chair of Prism and Prism member:
When I talk about inclusion, I can’t avoid talking about Prism, our LGBT+ network. The Prism D&I group has achieved a lot this year; we’ve participated in Post Offices’ first Pride (we actually did 3) sending an important message of inclusion through the community in a highly visible and fun way. We also arranged for 2 of the CVIT vans to be wrapped in flag colours and they have been delivering through the whole country for the past 3 months.
Prism has also taken part in the Workplace Equality Index, we have just completed our 2nd survey (there is one per year) and it was very satisfying to be able to fill in responses this year where last year we had to put the response ‘No’ or N/A. We will know the results in February but I am confident that we have vastly improved our score from last year.
I’m proud to be part of an organisation who is willing to invest in the diversity of its workforce. But there is more to do. We still get people saying that we need to focus on ‘real work’ and not on this fluffy stuff, but it’s so much more than that. As chair of Prism I have had 4 people come up to me and say ‘thanks’ for making them feel more able to be themselves at work – showing how we’re making a huge difference.
Daisie Jope, HR Business Partner for IT and member of Prism and Be You
Inclusion is so important because everyone should feel empowered to be their true selves at work. When you’re sat in a meeting and you’re the only one with a different view point to the rest of the room, we know we’ve still got a way to go! We need whole rooms filled with diverse and challenging thought!
I’m really proud that the networks have grown to include an ex-forces programme – supporting the value that transferrable skills from a strict disciplined environment can bring. I’m also really proud of the steps that have been made in recruitment to ensure that we are getting our job ads out to varied communities, e.g. CTP for forces recruitment; Vercida for diverse recruitment. This levels the playing field for everyone so the right people can be placed in the right jobs
Next steps – changing the hearts and minds of the silent majority that believe that Post Office is already as inclusive as it could be! Still lots more to do!
Laurence Johnson, member of Be You
When I think about inclusion, the difference it makes to me is that I tend to not notice so much when I am included, but more when/if I'm made to feel excluded, if that makes any sense? Inclusion is something that can easily be taken for granted, whereas it`s something everyone should work at, to ensure no-one feels excluded.
As you can see inclusion is hugely important to so many people in our organisation, and every day we are making a difference. This is something we’ve also been recognised for externally. We’re pleased to announce that Post Office has been shortlisted as a finalist for the Diversity and Inclusion Award at the upcoming Business Culture Awards 2018/19. The aim of this award is to recognise a business that is championing diversity and working to create a workplace culture that is inclusive of everyone. We’ll have stiff competition from five other companies, but are hopeful that the brilliant work of our diversity and inclusion networks will be recognised at the awards night on 29th November with an overall win!