25 Sep Inclusion. It’s time to act.
We challenge our people every day to adopt inclusive behaviours that will benefit our global workforce, customers and suppliers. It is core to Living the Ricoh Way. To mark National Inclusion Week, CEO of Ricoh Northern Europe, Phil Keoghan, shares practical steps you can take to be more inclusive in your daily working life.
I want to introduce National Inclusion Week by telling a story.
Josh started at Ricoh UK as a Sales Executive in 2015, and he’s a valued member of the team. Before I start, I’d like to thank Josh for allowing me to share his story.
In 2018, Josh was diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis, a spinal condition, which, two years later, lead to a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder.
As Josh’s employer, we are legally required to make adjustments to accommodate conditions covered by the equality act, a crucial law that protects us all. But inclusion is what happened next.
Supported by our board sponsor for disability, Josh’s management team and colleagues participated in a series of informal workshops and learning sessions to develop a deeper knowledge of Josh’s conditions and how to support him on a day-to-day basis.
More than a policy or law, empathy, curiosity, and understanding made the difference.
Now, Josh is surrounded by people empowered to support him, and he feels assured he can progress while he’s at Ricoh.
By doing more than required, we have built a positive working relationship based on trust, openness and communication. I’m incredibly proud of everyone involved and the small actions each individual took to go above and beyond.
National Inclusion Week is about reminding each other and ourselves that we are all responsible for inclusion. All of us can be inclusive if we take a moment to connect, empathise, understand and seek knowledge.
This year’s theme is the Power of Now, so let’s unpack how we can act today for inclusion.
What is inclusion?
Put simply: ‘Diversity is having a seat at the table, Inclusivity is having a voice.’
Diversity is about bringing together people from different social, ethnic and religious backgrounds, of different genders and sexual orientations, and of different abilities and ages.
Inclusion transforms a diverse workforce into an organisation that can attract, retain and nurture diverse people. It unites and enables individuals to thrive regardless of differences.
As an organisation, we believe inclusion is providing equal access to opportunities and resources for everyone. Being more inclusive as an individual is about validating, understanding, recognising and accommodating lived experiences.
Why is inclusion important?
When people feel included, they can contribute and offer fresh perspectives without fear. Practically, it’s also about allowing the space and format for people to share their ideas.
Getting this right is even more critical in a hybrid world. We use digital collaboration tools to create working spaces where everyone feels equally able and comfortable to speak up.
In society, inclusion plays a crucial role in personal health. Amid global difficulties that magnify inequalities, like pandemics, wars, and economic struggles, inclusion is how we unite, understand and support each other.
Five inclusive actions in five days
This week, we’re encouraging all of our people to take five actions to support inclusivity. I’ve selected a few below.
Each action sparks conversation, raises awareness and inspires connection. Maybe they’re actions you could take this National Inclusion Week.
- Learn about an identity. Whether that be religion, sexuality, gender or ethnicity.
- Arrange a volunteering day for your team and support your local community. Our people have two days annually to use for volunteering in the local community.
- Call someone within your team and recognise an achievement or a personality trait you feel empowers them to excel in their job.
- Challenge each other to contact someone you don’t usually work with to learn more about them.
- Research a current news topic and understand how it’s affecting different types/groups of people.
To reinforce individual action, we continually measure employee engagement so that we can take positive action and continue to strive for an inclusive culture. We are also committed to our affinity group programmes, inclusive recruitment and equitable progression opportunities.
Living the Ricoh Way
I’d like to end this piece by returning to Josh’s story.
I’m proud to say that there are many stories like Josh’s at Ricoh. Living the Ricoh Way and championing inclusive behaviour is the bar we’ve set for our organisation. But inclusion is more challenging when it’s not so clear-cut.
Sometimes we know the person sitting next to us has a different lived experience, and it can be hard to know where to begin. In these moments, we need to lean into our differences with humility, openness and a willingness to learn. That’s why coming together, connecting and making everyday actions really matter.
Thanks again to Josh and his team for sharing their story and our HR team for organising a brilliant schedule of National Inclusion Week activities, kicking off with our trans-inclusion webinar.