National Inclusion Week at the Ministry of Defence

Post by Emma Knight and Clare Wilkins

Monday 3 October 2016

Last week was National Inclusion Week, celebrating the importance of inclusion in the workplace. The Ministry of Defence (MOD) has really got into the spirit of all things inclusion this year, with events across the organisation.

One of the events held at MOD’s main building on Whitehall was a panel discussion on the theme of ‘Why should I care about diversity and inclusion?’ Colleagues from across industry, the Equality and Human Rights Commission, the Military and across Government contributed to this discussion, explaining why they think it is so important.

This was followed by an event to launch our internal Diversity Role Models campaign; giving both our military and civilian personnel an opportunity to share their stories of life in Defence, whatever their background. In the opening address of the first session the Chief of Defence People, Lieutenant General Richard Nugee, highlighted the business and operational benefits, as well as the positive implications inclusion has on morale and fairness. This panel also included a speaker from Google, who invited us to avoid the ‘HIPPO in the room’ – a reference to the ‘Highest Paid Person’s Opinion’. Something anyone can be guilty of.

Hearing the stories of individual Diversity Role Models was particularly inspiring. Those who spoke talked about their experiences, which ranged from coming out to family, friends and Military colleagues; to turning their lives around from minor gang-crime to distinguished Military service. Their stories focused on how they overcame their challenges and have gotten to where they are today.

All of them talked about the importance and the benefit of bringing your whole self to the workplace and there were some brilliant examples of how they did this. For example, who knew that physics and DJing could be an effective combination? One role model brought DJing into the teaching of physics, and applied his knowledge of physics to improve his DJ skills!

Our Chief of Defence People has tweeted about our activities on @DefencePeople and there’s more: across other parts of the Department we have seen speed mentoring, network activities, and local intranet communications on particular areas of interest. The feedback we’ve had from these events is that they were very inspirational and audiences got a lot out of them.

All in all, National Inclusion Week 2016 has been a success for Defence, and we are looking forward to building on it for next year.