An insight to National Inclusion Week - GENEq

Written by Lucy Dowley, Chair of the United Utilities GENEq network

Most of us know and understand the importance of diversity in the workplace. We have seen the numbers….. Not only do more diverse companies do better, but less diverse companies actually perform worse than average. There is a lot in it for the individual too, with increased job satisfaction and better career prospects.

If you didn’t know any of that then this is the perfect week to find out more; National Inclusion week is an annual campaign run by Inclusive Employers and I am really proud that United Utilities is participating in such a big way.

United Utilities has long valued the importance of creating an inclusive and supportive environment for its employees. Creating a workforce that reflects the customers we serve is really important. The water industry has some big challenges ahead of it and different ideas and perspectives will help us innovate, manage risk and provide leading customer service in a sustainable way.

United Utilities’s employee diversity networks are a very important part of this, ensuring people are valued, respected and supported to achieve their potential and the Gender Equality Network ‘’GENEq’ is doing just that!

I love all aspects of my job, but being Chair of the GENEq Network is something really special.

GENEq is here to support, mentor, develop, inspire and promote both men and women in UU to realise the benefits of gender equality. But if you asked me what my favourite part of leading the network is; I would have to say it is providing a platform for people to be their authentic self. Being yourself means you can be much more creative and effective in your job, making it much more fun too.

The GENEq Network offers a wide range of opportunities which include: a mentoring programme; technical and leadership training; round table debates; and hosting inspirational speakers. Being part of the effort to unlock the talent of United Utilities’s employees and increase the balance of male and females across the business is really important.

We also recognise that to be a resilient business we also need to secure the skills and talent for the future. The importance of skills in science, technology and engineering is a driving factor for the network’s strategic partnerships with other organisations, both in academia and business. I have been a STEM Ambassador for a number of years, but watching more and more of the GENEq members working out in the community to promote STEM and particularly females in STEM, is really inspiring.

A favourite quote of mine is from the Great British Diversity Experiment: “Ideas are about connecting previously unconnected things. There are likely to be more unconnected things in a room full of different people, than in a room full of the same people.” I see this as the raison d’etre for the network, especially this week during National Inclusion Week, as we are out and about across the business finding new stories, listening to our employees about what is important to them and making new connections.

I wonder…. What connections will you make this week?