This is a timely reminder for us all to reflect on our collective responsibility to create workplaces where individuals are truly supported, valued and empowered.
To help businesses prepare National Inclusion Week 2023 the HSE published non-statutory guidance, a set of simple core principles, to help employers create workplaces that are safe and supportive to enable disabled workers or workers with long-term health conditions to thrive.
The guidance also contains practical examples, to demonstrate how these principles can be applied in the workplace. It’s not always easy recruiting the people you need to help your business succeed. So, keeping and developing talent in your business is important.
Eleven years ago, Inclusive Employers, launched National Inclusion Week. It started as a small event, encouraging members to highlight and engage with inclusion in their workplaces. Now, it has exponentially grown to reaching thousands of organisations (and millions on social media)! this has shown how small seeds can grow to great trees and this is the hope every year for National Inclusion Week, that organisations old and new can make inclusion an everyday reality by planting a small seed.
National Inclusion Week is a great time for focusing on and demonstrating your commitment to inclusion to all those who work in your organisation, but also to clients and stakeholders. It provides a space and a starting point for discussions around inclusion and diversity in your organisation and can be used to generate or launch ideas.
National Inclusion Week is also a time for everyone in the organisation to get involved in I&D! Leaders, managers, teams and individuals can take part, take actions and make impact in their organisation.
Every year, we celebrate NIW with a theme. The theme aims to provide a focus for the week that we think will support your overall Inclusion and Diversity agenda. This means the theme usually reflects what we think organisations need to be thinking about and what organisations have been asking us for support with. This could be looking at unity, action, the power of now and much more and we hope that the theme answers some burning questions, or provides some clarity around issues you are already thinking about.
This year’s theme was inspired by some of the momentum of the theme from NIW 2022; ‘Time to Act: The Power of Now’ and the concept of wanting to create more awareness around the impact of our actions.
Our 2022 theme centred around encouraging immediate action – not next year, or in six months, or next month, but now. This is an ever-continuing process. Necessary action to be a more inclusive workplace will be a constant and consistent ongoing process, it is never ‘one and done’, so we wanted to include something in the theme this year that reinforced this while also encouraging organisations to think beyond action.
Action should not be taken without thought for the impact, and action is meaningless without a tangible, visible, positive impact on those who are marginalised most. We are all ultimately working towards this and what lies at the heart of inclusion and diversity work – ensuring those in our workplaces feel safe, more included and can bring their best and authentic selves to the workplace without fear. Organisations benefit greatly from this because when people feel safe and confident, they can work to the best of their abilities.
2023’s theme, Take Action Make Impact is then a call to action for all in the organisation, from leaders to I&D professionals to teams and individuals. A powerful message which aims to get organisations and individuals thinking about what actions they can take and what impacts these actions could and should have for marginalised people in your workplaces.
Creating a supportive and enabling workplace starts by having conversations - to open channels for workers to speak up, raise concerns or to discuss how arrangements at work may be preventing them from achieving their goals at work.
Giving people a better understanding about how their colleagues experience work can remove stigma and pre-conceptions.
HSE has developed a Talking Toolkit to help employers and managers structure these potentially difficult conversations.
Remember not all disabilities or conditions are visible and some of your workers may not have disclosed a health condition to you. Starting these conversations may give workers the confidence to open up.
Using our guidance and Talking Toolkit can help your organisation to create an inclusive approach to workplace health.
With these tools, businesses can help prevent long-term sickness absence resulting in people falling out of work. As well as the significant impact this can have on the worker, it can also have a negative impact on the business when workers’ experience, knowledge and perspectives are lost. It can result in additional recruitment and training requirements for affected businesses and reduced productivity.
National Inclusion Week 2023, 25th September – 1st October, to help make a difference in your organisation. There is plenty of helpful resources to get you started and to make the most of the week!
If you’re a member of Inclusive Employers you are given instant access to these resources – non-members will need to register here.
Once registered for National Inclusion Week you can access your free toolkit and book your free place on each webinar for the week.
Take your NIW plans to the next level by hosting some in-house sessions; learn more about National Inclusion Week webinar packages.
We encourage you to think about your workplace and really consider the support available to colleagues and workers:
• visit the Work Right for Everyone campaign website
• listen to HSE's Disability in the Workplace podcast
• sign up to updates via The HSE's Work Right campaigns ebulletin
• Sign up to complete a Mental Health First Aid Training Course