In celebration of National Inclusion Week, STEP’s Chief Executive Mark Walley writes about what STEP is doing to ensure inclusion at every level of the organisation.
Today marks the start of National Inclusion Week, a time dedicated to celebrating inclusion and taking action to create inclusive workplaces. This year’s theme is Time to Act: The Power of Now.
It is a particularly apt theme for STEP as we take action to put our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) guiding principles into practice.
There has been much discussion in recent years about EDI. However, well–meaning words are not enough: organisations like STEP are judged, rightly, not by what we say but by what we do.
With over 21,000 members in 96 countries, STEP is a truly global organisation. We want all our members, volunteers and staff, to grow and thrive through their relationship with STEP.
To make that happen we will treat people fairly and equitably. We will ensure equality of opportunity for all our people. Above all, we will create an environment where all our people, regardless of background or personal circumstance, feel valued and included.
Our guiding principles set out a framework for everyone acting for and on behalf of STEP, especially those in leadership roles, such as our Board, Council, committee chairs and Executive team.
We have begun to translate these principles into action by defining what it means to live our four values, which are:
We respect each other and value diversity. We want to make sure that STEP is a diverse and inclusive professional body for the staff who work here and our many members. This applies both to those who are involved in volunteering on committees and to more ‘casual’ members who sporadically engage with our communications.
We work together and learn from each other to find new and better ways of doing things. We want all potential members and those from across the different areas of expertise to feel they have a place in STEP, and feel they are valued for who they are and the experience and views they bring.
We are honest, open and committed to upholding our ethical and professional standards . We want all our members, volunteers and staff, to grow and thrive through their relationship with STEP.
Above all, we want to create an environment where all our people, regardless of background or personal circumstance, feel valued and included.
We champion continued learning and development, to build the knowledge and skills necessary to deal with a rapidly changing business environment.
Embracing EDI starts with recognising the value of different backgrounds and perspectives, making sure everyone feels able to play their part, which leads to a more productive and positive environment at STEP.
Another part of our guiding principles state: ‘We will ensure that STEP people are recruited through fair, diversity–enhancing means and that all have the same access to progression and professional enrichment’.
To help us deliver this principle, our managers will be going through workshops later this year to help address bias in recruitment practices. We will also be running some workshops for those most involved in attracting, and helping to retain, volunteers to our committees, Council and Board.
We are in the early stages of this important journey and there is a lot of ground to cover. We are focusing our EDI work within our governance and volunteering structures before we potentially expand this into new areas.
There will be many forms of diversity we will need to consider. We will need help to know how to best adapt to ensure everyone can feel included. Nonetheless, we are committed to this journey and will provide further updates on our work as we make progress in achieving our aims.
Read our EDI principles in full.
Mark Walley is Chief Executive of STEP