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Woosh Raza

Woosh Raza

Woosh Raza

Director of People, Culture & Inclusion

Woosh is responsible for leading NCVO's people strategy

Woosh Raza
Director of People, Culture & Inclusion

Looking ahead: Building inclusion and belonging for the future

Woosh Raza

Woosh Raza

Woosh Raza

Director of People, Culture & Inclusion

Woosh is responsible for leading NCVO's people strategy

Woosh Raza
Director of People, Culture & Inclusion

Making staff and volunteers feel they belong is vital to building strong and sustainable organisations. In our final post for National Inclusion Week, NCVO’s director of people, culture and inclusion, Woosh Raza, talks about his guiding principles for inclusion and belonging.

This week, we’ve been talking about a few areas of inclusion but by no means are they the be-all and end-all.

There are many things that need to be true for a workforce to feel they belong, but I hope that some of the conversations we’ve had this week have inspired you.

In today’s post, I want to talk about some of the broader guiding principles that I consider when reflecting on the work we do at NCVO. They form part of the conversations I have to make sure we all take a role in building a more inclusive environment.

I want to share them with you today in the hope that they inspire you and your teams to build reflective practices into your people strategy and embed inclusivity in everything you do.

Recognising the value of the individual

It’s important that belonging starts with understanding the power of individuality. Everybody in your organisation is different and has different views and lived experience. Please don’t get hung up on diversity. If you start with inclusion, diversity will follow.

Remember that none of us are just one thing. We are complex, and intersectionality is a means to recognise the depth and breadth of experience we all bring. To find out more about intersectionality, you can read my blog from Pride this year.

Everyone in our sector has the chance to add value (when it’s appropriate to engage them), and recognising their talents and value helps to build inclusivity.

Building trusted, safe and brave spaces

Safe spaces are important to make sure everyone in your organisation feels able to contribute and share without fear of judgment.

It’s important we create and hold safe spaces because not everyone works in the same way or comes at things from the same perspective.

Safe and open spaces to share, add value and contribute will help them feel like they belong. Let's also talk about brave spaces. Many of the topics we’re educating ourselves on right now are new.

We need to create brave spaces, where we lean into vulnerability, examine our intentions, think critically, and above all, stay mindful.

Invite, don’t demand

We all want our teams to feel like they belong, but just working at your organisation doesn’t mean they automatically feel a sense of belonging.

Aligning with your values and behaviours isn’t enough to belong. And belonging can’t be forced on people – it needs two-way work.

You need to give them reasons, build trust, create psychological safety and offer support to bring them in.

Language is important

The words we use have value and power. Not everyone sees things the same way, so it’s important to review and scrutinise the language we use so it's as inclusive as possible.

You may have seen our news from earlier this week that we’ve evolved our language around race and are now adopting the term ‘global majority’.

This is just one important step in evolving the language we use to be more inclusive, and reflective of the reality for the people who work with us.

Language is something we must constantly review and evolve as we seek to make sure inclusive environments stay that way.

A constant state of learning

The biggest thing about inclusivity and belonging to remember is that there will never be a day when the work is done. Inclusion and belonging are not static. It is not a destination.

It’s important that as cultural context evolves, so does the language and behaviours we use to be inclusive. It’s vital to maintain our natural curiosity and openness to make sure we stay inclusive.

At NCVO, we know that inclusion is something we’ll always be working on and we apply a growth mindset – not a thing to be ‘completed’.

So, while we’re having this conversation now, we’re keen to keep talking about inclusion, especially with our members.

If you want to catch up and talk about anything (and everything!) to do with inclusion and belonging, get in contact with the team and we can set something up. Drop us a line at people@ncvo.org.uk.

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