Information about our networks and forums which support our employees.
We recognise the great value the existing employee networks (Women’s Network and LGBT - lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Network) bring to improving our workplace and their reach beyond that into the communities we serve via involvement with PRIDE events for example. Any of our employees can join a network and encouraged to do so as it allows knowledge and experiences to be exchanged and have a collective voice within the organisation.
The networks have the opportunity to ensure their voice is heard and they also have the opportunity to influence our diversity strategy via their executive diversity sponsors who attend our quarterly meetings.
Our employee networks
Employee networks play a powerful role in supporting our diversity initiatives and are a useful tool for success in today's working environment at all levels of the organisation.
Networking groups are employees who join together to facilitate their career and personal growth by:
- creating forums that build relationships across the Environment Agency through the sharing of common interests;
- reflecting our vision, business principles and goals;
- strengthening the ability to attract and retain a diverse workforce by offering professional development and mentoring support for members;
- having a safe space on discussion forums for members to discuss particular topics;
- promoting diversity-related education/awareness for all employees in our business area diversity initiatives.
Our Women's Network has been set up to improve awareness of gender equality issues to provide support and act as a network to enable members within the Environment Agency to be the best they can.
Our mission statement is to 'encourage, enable and equip women to achieve their full potential in the workplace'. We support our members (currently 900) and interested staff to be the best they can. This benefits individuals, our organisation and our customers. Our work programme includes:
- career development
- work/life balance
We offer local events, one to one support, workshops, action learning groups and training sessions for professional and personal development.
In July 2012, the Environment Agency won the Employers Network for Equality and Inclusion’s Employee Network Group of the Year Award. The Judges’ comment was ‘The Environment Agency Women’s Network is well structured with lots of activity and innovative interventions that has made a significant difference to women in the workplace. Those involved are to be congratulated on their achevements’.
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Network
Our LGBT Network was set up in 2005, with the aim "We provide support to Environment Agency lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender staff and challenge and support the organisation to improve awareness and inclusion of all staff". We are proud to be a member of Stonewall's Diversity Champions programme. We are working with Stonewall and other members to promote diversity across our organisation.
The LGBT Network makes a real difference to the lives of LGBT employees in the organisation. They offer a mentoring service for network members and have a group of regional and national contacts who are available for support. Our network includes a large proportion of friends or “straight allies” who show their support and help visibly champion LGBT diversity and equality.
We are very pleased to be involved in the Stonewall Diversity Champions Programme. The programme is Britain's good practice employers' forum on sexual orientation. We work with Stonewall to make our workplace the best it can be for everyone.
We already know that people perform better when they can be themselves. Benefits of being a member of the Diversity Champions programme include one-to-one advice from Stonewall's Workplace team, opportunities to share best practice on diversity & equality, and networking with hundreds of high profile employers.
Our current priorities
- Monitoring – build on progress made in particular on analysing our data, look for opportunities to make further improvements and to influence communications around any staff surveys / monitoring exercises in line with good practice.
- Staff support – our organisation has been and will continue to be subject to change which can have additional impacts for LGBT staff (concerns about moving teams and changing managers etc). We will work with our members and friends to ensure that staff have someone to talk to – through our Committee and local leads, through the forum and by supporting HR / Managers on sensitive issues on request.
- Community engagement – we will continue our presence at Prides and work with pride organisers where possible to “green” them. Through our Committee leads, we will work with local teams on reaching diverse communities, and work with other organisations to continually improve and share best practice on diversity and inclusion.
Our employee forums
Each of our employee networks and forums has one or more Executive Diversity sponsors - to bring together people with common ethnic, social or life experiences and to share these experiences, find mentors, seek professional development, and gain access to senior leadership.
For our employees with a disability or long term health condition:
- it provides informal, peer group support which can be especially valuable to those who have just acquired impairment or whose health condition has worsened;
- an opportunity for employees with a disability and long term health condition to develop personal strategies for overcoming barriers to development and promotion.
For our Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) employees, a community of people who are vibrant, in- demand and purposeful in supporting one another and in our way of working to deliver corporate objectives.
BAME Forum objectives:
- Provide support to forum members through creating opportunities for self-development and career progression
- Help forum members adapt to life in the Environment Agency Community and motivate them to make a real difference
- Help the organisation to understand and harness the positive values of cultural diversity.
A group of Christians working in the Environment Agency who organise locally to connect and meet together at work to support and encourage the health and wellbeing of each other and their colleagues.
Who provide an opportunity and a place at work for Christians and others who want to meet together for quiet reflection on biblical principles for life, to discuss topics of interest, and to offer mutual support.
Who are available to assist management and to respond to consultations on policies, procedures and change programmes that impact those of Christian and other faiths.
A group of Muslims working in the Environment Agency who organise support, encouragement and awareness raising of Islamic workplace matters which contribute to the well-being of each other and their colleagues.
Who provide an opportunity and a place at work for Muslims to discuss topics of interest, and to offer mutual support.
Who are available to assist management and to respond to consultations on policies, procedures and change programmes that impact those of Islamic and other faiths.