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How DIO is becoming more inclusive

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Inclusion, Wellbeing, Working at DIO

Nathan is standing outside of Number 10 Downing Street which has flowers all around the doorway. The flowers are in the pride colours of red, yellow, green, blue, purple. Nathan is wearing a black suit with a white shirt and pink tie and is in smart brown shoes.
Nathan outside of Number 10 Downing Street during the Pride celebrations in July 2019. [Crown Copyright/MOD2019]
Staff are our greatest asset, when we feel valued, supported, developed and able to bring our whole selves to work, that is when we thrive not only as people, but as an organisation.

DIO through my lens

When I joined DIO, nearly eight years ago it was clear to me that I was going to love it. I loved the work and everyone was so nice and helpful. I wasn’t ‘out’ at the time, but it didn’t take long before I was comfortable within myself to tell people.

We see the world through our own lens, and while I may have a certain understanding of the world, I recognise that this is not everyone’s reality. I’ve been the chair of the DIO LGBT+ network for around two years and within that time I’ve celebrated Pride with the wider Civil Service and Stonewall at 10 Downing Street, 20 years since the military ban was lifted with Defence, veterans and the Fighting With Pride charity at the Houses of Parliament; and I’ve met some great people across the A:gender network which is a cross-government support network for trans, intersex and nonbinary colleagues. I’ve been inspired by the countless conversations I’ve had with people, asking me questions to further their understanding so they can understand individuals better and share that information with their team so everyone can become more inclusive.

Nathan with members of the a:gender group at the RAF's big conversation event. [Crown Copyright/MOD2020]

What inclusion means to me

I believe diversity is a by-product of being visibly inclusive. If an organisation focuses on being inclusive for all the world to see, people will gravitate towards it as a great place to work because work is more enjoyable when you can be yourself and talk about your life openly.

There is a quote that goes “those that know, do and those that understand, teach”. For instance, those that know not to assume someone’s gender or sexual orientation will make sure they don’t. But those that understand why these assumptions can be harmful to people, will teach others the correct terminology, so that it doesn’t happen again.

This year’s theme for National Inclusion Week is ‘Each one, Reach one’ so learn about the things you don’t know and become a teacher.

How DIO is becoming more inclusive

Our wellbeing strategy aims to ensure our staff have good physical, mental and social health. The strategy recognises that we all have mental health, we all struggle at times and we all deserve to be connected and supported.

We recently created the Social Mobility network, which aims to support people to reach their full potential and open conversations to identify barriers to success by talking about social mobility experiences. This is important as we have staff from all types of backgrounds who come from all over the world and must support social mobility so that everyone has equal opportunities.

We also have new sub-groups in the gender network around ‘baby loss’ and ‘menopause’ at the request of members. This has been a real benefit to breaking down stigmas and giving people the space to talk about their feelings openly without judgement.

Our disability network will be rolling out the sunflower lanyard scheme for staff with invisible disabilities to support the inclusion of neurodiversity. These can be worn by people with invisible disabilities. This is important as it lets people know that they should be sensitive to people’s differences, be patient, kind and inclusive. We have a digital tool to create a sunflower lanyard for Skype pictures, which is useful during lockdown as we rely more on digital communications.

Our networks are always carrying out activities, so take a look to see what they are doing by looking at our Twitter: mod_dio and LinkedIn channels.

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