By Steve Murrells CEO and Helen Webb, Chief People & Services Officer

Every year National Inclusion Week celebrates everyday inclusion in all its forms, and this year is no different.

Here at our Co-op we have over 60,000 amazingly diverse colleagues and we’re committed to building a truly inclusive culture, that allows all of you to progress and have a great experience at work.

We know inclusion isn’t only the right thing to do for colleagues, but it’s also critical to our business success and the delivery of our vision – Co-operating for a Fairer World. Organisations that truly build inclusive cultures are six times more likely to be more innovative and be able to anticipate and respond to change and twice as more likely to hit financial targets. It’s not just a nice to do, it makes commercial sense and protects the future of the organisation and that’s why we’re working to have inclusive products and services built in across all our businesses.

This year the theme of National Inclusion Week is ‘Each One, Reach One’ and all of us can get involved. It’s really simple, you just need to share any knowledge you have about inclusion and pass it on to a colleague, friend or family member or all three! You may have great personal insight to share already or you could simply read an article or book, watch a programme or listen to a podcast then all you need to do is pass on your insights to others. Please join in and you could even share your thoughts on Yammer or social media too. We want to use this week to kick start a conversation about inclusion.

Steve’s #eachonereachone commitment: “I’ll ensure Co-op delivers to our new Commitments on racial equality and inclusion, and will personally be involved in delivering to them.”

Our newest network

Our colleague networks are champions of inclusion at our Co-op (you’ll hear more about them later this week) and we’re thrilled to announce the launch of our newest network – the Disability Network.

Our newly formed Disability Network has been established to create a supportive community for disabled colleagues whilst promoting fair representation and equal opportunities across the Co-op. It aims to: 

  • offer disabled colleagues a destination for support and guidance
  • raise awareness of the disabled community to create a culture of tolerance and understanding 
  • strengthen our visibility across the business to ensure the needs of disabled colleagues are being met

The network is open to everyone who would like to learn and understand more about the disabled community. Disability spans all sections of society, from young to old. As a collective we must work together to remove prejudices and unconscious bias from the workplace, creating a fairer world for everyone.

We’re really excited about the launch of the network which has already done so much to put the needs of our disabled colleagues onto the agenda in really challenging times and we’re really looking forward to working alongside them. If you want to get involved with the network you can email them at disabilitynetwork@coop.co.uk.

Helen’s #eachonereachone commitment: “I’m delighted to be the sponsor of the new disability network and I’m committed to supporting them make a difference across the Co-op”

How you can get involved 

As we work towards our vision of cooperating for a fairer world, it’s really important that you all feel included and respected, whoever you are and wherever you’re working in the business. ​We’ve got lots of sessions planned in for you to get involved in during National Inclusion Week to broaden your knowledge and encourage conversation – take a look at the e-mag below to find out more and book on to sessions.

We hope you all enjoy National Inclusion Week, and we’re really clear that whilst there is a focus this week across the country – our focus on inclusion will be year-round. Hopefully you’ve seen the recent commitment we made to Racial Equality and Inclusion and later this week Black History Month begins and we have lots planned for the month to encourage learning, understanding and encourage conversation. 

So, let’s take the opportunity to connect with someone else this week to help them understand the opportunity of inclusion and connect, and play our part in building the biggest inclusion chain ever.