As we mark this year’s National Inclusion Week, it’s a fantastic opportunity to celebrate the great strides colleagues have made implementing our ambitious diversity, equity, and inclusion strategy, whilst taking a moment to recognise the important work that is still to be done.
National Inclusion Week is important to me as it provides colleagues with an opportunity to think about when they have felt genuinely “included” and able to be their authentic self, reflect on why that was, and how they felt at the time. It also gives us the opportunity to consider how we can make sure everyone has this opportunity in our workplace.
In my role as Head of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, I’m able to spend time engaging with hundreds of colleagues from every part of our business, taking forward their ideas to inspire real, tangible change that leaves a lasting positive impact.
National Inclusion Week is an ideal time to place the focus on our daily calls to action whilst highlighting the recent achievements of our employee-led networks, who play a vital role in delivering on our DE&I objectives.
Over the past year, we’ve become a Disability Confident Leader and increased the number of colleagues at Maximus with a declared disability by 50%. We launched a Women’s Safety Commitment with the support of senior colleagues and signed up to the Race at Work Charter, undertaking key workstreams to improve race equality, inclusion, and diversity across all levels of the business.
We’ve also introduced a new ‘Task and Finish’ Group to review our approach to diverse recruitment and support us to achieve our recruitment commitments. These include continuing to increase the percentage of disabled colleagues, with an additional focus on career progression, for example, increasing the number of ethnic minority colleagues in senior roles within the business.
Reflecting this year’s theme, ‘Take Action, Make Impact’ we’ve designed a programme of events, each designed to achieve an immediate impact through a specific ‘call to action’.
The week will begin with an ‘Inspiring Speaker’ event live from Maximus’ London Head Office, featuring Division President Dr Paul Williams and Dr Zaheer Ahmad, Founder of Equality X and a prominent voice on social mobility intersectionality culture, diversity and inclusion. The event will focus on the importance of disclosure and highlighting the positive impact of colleagues sharing their diversity data.
Other planned events include a series of sessions to promote DE&I innovation among colleagues to generate impactful ideas, together with an Employee Network Group Roundtable, aiming to inspire more colleagues to join a network and strengthen their voice in the business.
While it can often seem hard to find a moment to engage with one another in our busy working lives, National Inclusion Week offers a vital opportunity to take time for learning and reflection, and to engage meaningfully with others – whether that’s by sharing learnings from the week or discussing positive changes that we can implement to improve our working environment in the future.