This week is Inclusion Week and there’s lots going on in our teams and in businesses and workplaces across the UK to start conversations about diversity and inclusion at work. Our CEO Peter Simpson writes about why it is more important than ever that everyone feels welcome whoever they are.
"This week is national Inclusion week and ordinarily we’d see lots of things happening in streets and venues across the country to mark the occasion. The circumstances we find ourselves in now prevent that somewhat, but it shouldn’t mean we allow the moment to slip by. In fact, I believe that quite the opposite is true.
Why? Because along with all the challenges and difficulties of COVID, there is, as yet, an untapped opportunity – and it’s vital we don’t let that opportunity pass.
You’ll have seen in the news and across social media that calls for a green recovery post COVID are widespread. But a 'green recovery’ is about so much more than addressing climate change, as crucial as that is. It's about people, communities and the kind of societies we create in the future and I firmly believe that as we recover from the pandemic, we should use what we’ve learnt as a springboard for a better future.
But talk is cheap. In my experience the best way to get things done is to underpin conversations with evidence and action. Tackling inclusion needs a holistic approach so that everyone regardless of culture, creed, gender or ethnicity is treated with the same tolerance and respect and has access to the same opportunities.
Closer to home, (in our own business) we’re committed to building an inclusive work force and we’re working hard to make our aspirations a reality. Like many companies we have a lot to learn and perhaps even more to do before we can truly fly the inclusive flag. But we’re listening, we’re acting, we’re holding ourselves to account and we’re determined to do what it takes to get it right.
To mark Inclusion week, we’ve arranged a series of online events so teams across the business can start conversations and begin to really understand other peoples’ perspectives. We’ve got some keynote speakers from outside the company involved and I’m very much looking forward to hearing these different viewpoints.
But keeping the momentum going afterwards is vital. That’s where our Anglian Water Inclusion Community comes in - a network of colleagues who share ideas, experiences and inspiration for how to promote conversations and make everyone feel more welcome and included in our workplace.
Finally, we’re working collectively with other big businesses and indeed with regulators and Government to build alliances where we can make a real difference in the communities we serve on a local and national level.
None of this is an overnight fix but then nothing worthwhile ever is. The most important steps any of us ever take are the first ones. We have a unique opportunity laid bare before us. Let’s not squander it. Let’s take those steps together to build an inclusive future and create societies everyone feels proud to be part of."