Last week, as part of our ongoing campaign to build diverse and inclusive workplaces, the CBI proudly joined the Valuable 500 – a global movement launched this year in Davos – pledging to put disability inclusion on its board agenda. The Valuable 500 exists to create a critical mass of influence to generate significant progress for disability inclusion, and to support leaders to take accountability and make their businesses truly inclusive.
This is the latest development in the CBI's commitment to promoting disability inclusion not only among our members' businesses, but also our own. Earlier this year we also partnered with Mencap, a UK charity for people with a learning disability. Mencap’s Work Experience Programme is aimed at young people aged 19-25 who have a Learning Disability, a Learning Difficulty or Autism. Two of the students who have completed their work placements with us have since returned for further work experience.
On joining the Valuable 500, Dame Carolyn Fairbairn, CBI Director-General, said:
“The CBI is immensely proud to join the Valuable 500. Companies that place inclusion at the heart of what they do empower their people to perform.
I’m thrilled many CBI members have committed to this initiative and prioritised disability inclusion on their board agendas. Yet there’s so much more companies can and must do now to lead from the front."
Last week also saw the launch of the Mental Health at Work Commitment. With more than 25 of UK’s most recognised businesses and organisations signed up, the ambition is to encourage employers of all sizes to join the movement and improve standards of mental health care among the workforce at a national scale. The commitment provides a framework based on six clear standards drawing from what best practice has shown is needed to make a difference and better equip employers to create an environment where employees can thrive.
As member of the Thriving at Work Leadership Council – one of the driving forces behind the commitment – the CBI will work with companies to help roll it out across the regions.
On the commitment, Carolyn Fairbairn said:
“The Mental Health at Work Commitment matters because it supports business leaders to make mental health a boardroom priority. It is this leadership that will help tackle the taboo around mental health, encourage people to feel comfortable talking about their emotions and seek practical support if and when they need it.”
The CBI will continue to champion building diverse and inclusive workplaces - beginning with our own. Diverse workplaces boost performance, lead to innovation, improve productivity and help to engage employees. Members interested in helping to progress D&I can help to create change by joining our campaign, challenging previously accepted practices, setting priorities from the top, and empowering every employee.