Diageo INC.: Moving inclusion forward

 

Diageo inc

Diageo celebrated Pride month by hosting their biggest ever Inclusion Week, complete with events, lively debates and TED-style talks.

The birth of INC.

INC., as the week was branded, came about when Diageo’s LGBT+ Rainbow Network realised that their colleagues were passionate about far more than LGBT+ issues. Speaking to staff highlighted an appetite for driving a bigger agenda around inclusion, so INC. was created as a brand with a sense of purpose that celebrated people’s difference and individuality.

Diageo’s London Rainbow Network Chapter reached out to the wider business for support from like-minded people who could help make their ideas a reality. INC. took 10 weeks to create with the key players becoming ‘inclusion evangelists’ along the way. 

Content

INC. content was organised into four key areas – key-note, storytelling, education and celebration. Within these areas, a variety of topics were covered, including disability confidence, faith and bridging the divide, support for trans* employees, gender equality, LGBT+ working in hostile countries, flexible working, unconscious bias and many more. With all of these, speakers looked at why inclusion makes business sense – citing the business case often shared by OUTstanding that inclusion not only encourages openness and authenticity, it also drives productivity and therefore benefits the bottom line.

Engaging the business for maximum success

Having the full backing of the business was crucial for success. As a company built on innovation and taking bold bets, Diageo was 100% behind all the plans for INC. 

  • Senior support - members of the Board and Executive Committee, including Ivan Menezes, CEO, Javier Ferran, Chairman, Global HR Director, Mairead  Nayager and Siobhan Moriarty, General Counsel all signed the inclusion pledge wall.
  • Financial support – various business groups contributed; some paid for the building artwork, some gifted products and some provided AV support.
  • Sponsor involvement – Smirnoff sponsored INC., and their brand team were heavily involved in the week itself and the final celebration event.
  • High quality speakers – those who spoke during INC. made a huge contributions and were praised for their authenticity and honesty.

Celebrating positive impact

The success of INC. for both organisers and attendees was overwhelming. Team leaders have reported that their teams are discussing much wider and more challenging issues than they would have done previously, and there’s a positive atmosphere throughout the business that the INC. team can leverage for future initiatives. There were also a few stand out moments, which served to demonstrate why weeks like INC. are so important.

  • One colleague attended Diageo’s Pride In The City Event event prior to INC. about the Power of Allies. It had such a positive influence on her that, upon witnessing homophobic bullying on the tube, she stepped in and got her fellow passengers to back her up, getting the bullies to leave the train at the next stop.
  • After releasing a draft agenda for INC. the team were approached by a colleague whose son has Down’s Syndrome, asking to tell the story of how she and her family have fought for their son’s acceptance in society. It was incredible for staff to be able to share powerful stories such as these, and demonstrated how acceptance, tolerance and understanding can change lives.

Looking to the future

Positive testimonials have flooded in following the successful week, along with lots of offers from speakers who are keen to return. There’s appetite within Diageo to grow INC. into a movement, so the group have already planned to run smaller events every 2-3 months to meet employee demand. 

Andrew Porter, Creator of INC. and Leader of Diageo’s Rainbow Network in Europe commented:

"Bringing people together with the common purpose of making our business as inclusive as possible is something I’m hugely passionate about. Helping to shape our Pride Week inclusion event – INC. – has been a fantastic experience, and we’ve run a brilliant programme of events that were thought provoking, informative and inspiring. I am really proud of the Diageo Rainbow Network and all the people in the wider business who have united to make this possible."

INC. has changed the way people ‘think, feel, say and do’ at work, and has set Diageo in good stead for the future.

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