'What does D&I mean to me?' – by Adrian Hyyrylainen-Trett
Inclusion and diversity are a central core of my beliefs and values and it is of course reinforced if you grow up feeling different, or excluded.
From the age of 7 I knew I was gay, and the life experience which followed taught me that I never wanted to be excluded because of who I was, therefore I never wanted to exclude anyone from my circle of friends, work colleagues whatever their difference because I didn’t want to have that same feeling.
I became an activist by accident, I didn’t set out to change legislation but the motion I submitted to Liberal Democrat conference in 2010 paved the way for our then government Minister Baroness Featherstone, to become the architect of same-sex marriage and the subsequent change of societies laws and values.
Becoming the first openly HIV+ parliamentary candidate in 2015, again challenging stigma and reaching out to include a minority community meant again that I wanted inclusivity of HIV+ people, which still today with over 100,000 people HIV+ in the UK, still remains a prejudiced issue even amongst LGBT+ community, let alone elsewhere, and following that I’ve talked about the challenges around mental health, drug addiction, suicide prevention and various invisible disabilities, including fibromyalgia and PTSD, all of which again need to be encompassed within the inclusive spectrum.
Why do I go on about inclusion, intersectionality and belonging? Because if you can be yourself, recognise your unique capabilities and be supported by the organisation from where you work, then you’re more likely to achieve, be productive, be authentic and care about the success of that organisation. As soon as your psychological safety is removed, by undermining, bullying or downright poor human resources practices then your ability to be productive is severed, your confidence undermined and your mental health well-being ruined.
Until all organisations realise that inclusion is central to their employee’s productivity and active participation of employees then if actions continue to make people feel excluded in organisations, then they will never ever reach that place of inclusion which is the optimal goal of society at work.
Adrian Hyyrylainen-Trett is the Global Membership Development Manager at enei, he looks after several members within our Global Membership, you can find out more here