What Inclusion Means to Me!

As we gear up for National Inclusion Week 2023, inclusion remains central to our values at the Department for Transport. This year, Emma Ward, DfT’s Departmental Race Champion, leads the way forward in our commitment to fostering a workplace where people are empowered to thrive.

In this blog, Emma delves into DfT’s Culture and Wellbeing Strategy and explores the ways we’re advancing representation and inclusion at DfT. Keep reading to hear more about our journey towards a more inclusive environment.

Our Commitment to Inclusion

Inclusion is at the heart of DfT’s Vision and Values, especially in improving the employee experience. In this department, we aspire to create a strong sense of belonging and shared purpose, an organisational culture that emphasises equal respect, and an environment where everyone can flourish. Our Culture and Wellbeing Strategy, which was launched in 2022, underpins how we think about inclusion as a Department.

Over the last few months, we’ve been working on the DfT Culture and Wellbeing Plan. This focuses on the actions we all need to take to continue to make DfT a welcoming, respectful, collaborative and inclusive place to work.

Plan of action

DfT’s Culture and Wellbeing Plan prioritises ‘Being Confidently Inclusive’. This underpins our hope for employees to reflect on what gives them a sense of belonging and respect, and whether there are items that we need to change to ensure everyone feels that way.

When I look back on my career, feeling like I’m valued and respected for who I am has been important for me in choosing where I work and who I work for. I’ve also worked in places where that has not been the case, and you feel it pretty quickly! That is why I am so committed to making the DfT inclusive for everyone. Also, although it’s great to have strategies and conversations, we also need the tools to help us adapt and change our culture and behaviours to be more inclusive. That’s exactly what the action plan is all about.  

Advancing representation and inclusion

I’ve been lucky enough since joining DfT to be the Champion for Race. A big part of that role has been to help the department improve its record on representation across grades, on which we have made significant strides over the last 3 years, though there is no room for complacency and there is further to go. Inclusion is about much more than representation, though.

It’s about ensuring that the Department is focused on addressing barriers that make particular groups and individuals feel less valued or excluded. I have hugely valued the support of the networks in helping to connect me to many people across the department. Normally, I wouldn’t get the chance to meet or to listen to the things that they value about the department, and most importantly what needs to change.  

Being Confidently Inclusive

Together, other departmental Champions and I are committed to making DfT a leading department for inclusion, and National Inclusion Week gives us an opportunity to reflect on our efforts while celebrating our fantastic people. Our inclusive community is the heart of our culture and wellbeing, and supports us to be a truly excellent department.  

As we continue to make strides in representation, cultural transformation, and active participation, we are creating a more inclusive workplace and equitable society. Together, we can shape an environment where everyone feels valued, respected, and empowered to thrive.