Take action now and make a positive impact

Monday, 25 September marks the start of National Inclusion Week 2023 (NIW). This year’s theme is take action, make impact.

The week is a prompt to reflect on our collective responsibility to create workplace environments where individuals are truly valued and empowered.

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 for further information and download our Talking Toolkit, to help structure these conversations and give people a better understanding about how their colleagues experience work can remove stigma and pre-conceptions.

Here at HSE, we discussed inclusion with our Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Officer, and HSE’s Network Chairs. From workplace environment to personal reflections, these conversations offer a glimpse into the experiences and perspectives of HSE colleagues who champion inclusivity in various areas of the organisation. Here’s what they said:

What does inclusion mean to you?

“Inclusion is somewhere you can call your own. You can be your authentic self, in an environment where you don’t feel judged or afraid. A space where you feel safe and empowered to speak up. A place where you feel a sense of belonging, an active part of the team in your own way. Inclusion is fundamental in building the foundations of an equitable and diverse workforce that is representative of the communities we serve here at HSE.”

Chess Whalley – EDI Officer, HSE


What actions can teams take to make a truly inclusive workplace for all?

“For me this is about respect, everyone respecting everyone else even if another person has very different views to you, different abilities, different mannerisms, different ways of talking. It’s about taking time for others, being understanding if they are slower than you are, if they look at your shoes rather than your eyes, if they use ‘flowery language’ and you are a ‘straight to the point’ talker.”

Karen Russ – Social Mobility Network, HSE


What does an inclusive environment look like?

“An inclusive environment ensures that everyone feels valued and respected as individuals. An inclusive environment welcomes and supports people with all kinds of differences, giving individuals a sense of belonging and giving them a voice. In an inclusive environment everyone is respected without judgment.”

Vin Poran, Culture, Race and Ethnicity Network Chair, HSE


What does an inclusive environment look like?

“An inclusive environment is one where people remove barriers for others without grumble, without seeking praise for doing what should be the basics, and with a deep understanding that if we make the workplace inclusive everyone benefits. It’s often easier to see the physical barriers that people face, but we all should think about the neuro-cognitive and psycho-social barriers and how they can be reduced.

“This isn’t about trying to fit square pegs in round holes, it’s about making sure the hole is the right size and shape for many pegs that could succeed in many differing ways.”

Paul Willgoss – Equal Network, HSE



Not sure where to start? Start with a conversation.

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. Download HSE’s Talking Toolkit  to help employers and managers structure these potentially difficult conversations.