Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at Together
Together is committed to and celebrates equality diversity and inclusion across our services and in the way we provide mental health support to people. Through our values and with representative groups in our staff teams we strive to ensure we have an equal, diverse and inclusive workplace.
It is important to recognise and understand someone’s differences so that you can treat them equally and fairly. Not only should we be striving to understand differences and treat people fairly, we must also acknowledge the importance of ensuring that everyone who uses our services and within our workforce has a voice and feels they are entering an inclusive place of work. Moreover, we look to learn from and improve by listening to and learning from the diverse voices and experiences of the people who use our services and our staff and their varied circumstances to better inform and improve the way we support people.
What Do We Mean By Equality?
Equality is ensuring that everybody is treated fairly and gets the same opportunities regardless of any protected characteristics relating to things such as their background, where they were born, what they believe. This can mean making adjustments to accommodate an individual’s needs.
What Do We Mean By Diversity?
When we talk about Diversity we mean that we are recognising and celebrating differences. It is the differences that make someone unique. Recognising and respecting diversity will enrich the way in which we work with each other and help us communicate and learn from each other. Having a diverse workforce enables us to benefit from a range of different perspectives.
What Do We Mean By Inclusion?
When we discuss Inclusion we are talking about valuing and enabling everyone to thrive in environments where everyone feels that they belong. People should feel that their contributions matter and they are able to perform to their full potential, no matter their background, identity or circumstances. Inclusion is having a voice that is heard and listened to. Inclusion is feeling safe and secure in the knowledge that you can be your whole self and be every part of who you are in the way you live. In the context of Together’s values this means behaving without prejudice, discrimination and without impacting a person’s wellbeing.
In order for us to have a workforce and provide a service that is inclusive we have to accept diversity and promote equality within the workplace.
Why Is Inclusion Important At Together?
At Together we want people to feel confident to bring their whole self to the workplace and for the people we support. We want people to feel that they have a voice. Feeling included within the workplace or in the support people receive is extremely important for our organisation and can impact positively on mental wellbeing. Everyone involved with Together should feel happy about providing or using our services and confident they are entering an environment that is kind, caring, open and honest.
If we have inclusive and happy services this can only impact positively on the work we do and the people we support. It will ensure that valued members of our workforce stay with us because they want to and will feel a sense of belonging. This will also ensure that organisational decisions and the services we provide are informed by varied and diverse life experiences.
What Are We Doing To Ensure More Inclusive Services?
One of the things we are doing at Together to ensure inclusivity is to set up a number of small self-managing groups representing different communities across the organisation. We reached out to our workforce and asked them to come forward if they believed that the voice of a particular community or a particular issue was not being heard which could lead to a less inclusive organisation.
On the back of the information we received, we set up six inclusion groups. These inclusion groups meet on a quarterly basis to discuss concerns that arise for that particular group and to share ideas on how those concerns may be addressed to provide a more inclusive culture. The work around inclusion is continuous and we welcome ongoing suggestions for additional inclusion groups.
We have also developed a Together national Equality Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) steering group which meets on a quarterly basis. Representatives from the Inclusion groups attend the EDI steering group to share their issues and any solutions with our CEO, our Director of People and Organisational Development and the People Inclusion Manager. These issues are discussed and later shared with the rest of Together’s Senior Leadership Team for further review and discussion on how changes can be made.
At EDI meetings, the members are given an update on progress from the groups and other issues will be reviewed. The EDI steering group will also include members of Together’s Mental Health in the Workplace Working Group and our Reference Group for Black and Ethnic Minority Staff. A summary of these meetings and progress on the actions will is shared with all staff and the groups are made up from the following categories:
Inclusion at Together Film
In the summer of 2022 members of Together’s Inclusion Groups collaborated to record this video highlighting some of the common misconceptions they face to provide training to managers and staff across the organisation: