Celebrating National Inclusion Week: Being #UnitedForInclusion through action

“Diversity is getting a dinner invitation. Inclusion is making sure everyone enjoys the meal.”

The last week of September kicks off this year’s National Inclusion week celebration – designed to celebrate everyday inclusions in all its forms and a way to bring change and action for good within organizations. This year’s theme focuses on being #UnitedForInclusion, which aims to become a force for change and action by uniting to share learnings, best practices, successes and challenges.

At Gen, we live by four core values: Global Inclusion, Trust and Transparency, Agility, and Customer Centricity. Creating and nurturing a diverse and inclusive environment within and outside our organization is not just limited to living out the value of Global Inclusion, it’s an intrinsic part in living out all our core values in our day-to-day interactions.

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Setting the grounds for inclusivity

The challenges of 2020 relating to the pandemic, the call for action alongside the Black Lives Matter movement, and the shift to hybrid-work have had a significant and lasting impact on how included or excluded people feel in the workplace and in society at large.

As we enter the last quarter of 2021, a year and a half later when lockdowns were put into place in different countries, we are continually ensuring that we’re doing all that we can to make our employees feel safe and included while working at Gen.

Being a global village made up of employees from all around the world, we know that many of our employees carry with them a stigma of belonging from a community that faced some kind of discrimination. By prioritising their psychological safety through providing safe spaces to make everyone feel comfortable in taking risks or being vulnerable in front of each other, we’re creating opportunities to share learnings, best practices, successes and challenges with one another.

Being #UnitedForInclusion through action

The lack of in-real-life interactions in our organization’s digital-first set-up might seem like a challenge when it comes to creating an inclusive company culture, but it’s actually an opportunity to get rid of unconscious bias in the work environment. Open invites for weekly well-being sessions or virtual coffee chats to colleagues from different countries lessen the feeling of intimidation, making employees feel included irrespective of who they are or what they identify themselves as.

Recently, the practice of ‘Thinking Thursdays’ – where Gen employees spend their Thursdays reflecting, researching, strategising or simply catching their breath – has been formalised by the Gen leadership team, also as part of an effort in providing safe spaces for the wider Gen community. Because we believe productivity and well-being improve when given the space to slow down.

Inclusion through action is all about opening avenues and creating opportunities for everyone to have the freedom to choose to make their voices heard, share their stories, and create positive change. While diversity in an organization leads to better teams and greater innovation, inclusion is what truly connects us to each other.

Author

Image of Vicky Ernst

Vicky Ernst

Strategic Projects

Leading Strategic Projects, Vicky drives Arcadis Gen's strategies through the lens of our customers, people, and markets. Additionally, she is also passionate about inclusion and belonging in the workplace and beyond, and strongly promotes this culture of connectedness.

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