Nominations are open for our Awesome Network 2018 list

Nominations are open for our Awesome Network 2018 list

We’re delighted to open nominations for our Awesome Network 2018 list. The first list of its kind, we’re celebrating the positive impact of staff network groups who support workplace diversity and inclusion and thanking those people who selflessly coordinate the networks. From LGBT+ and BAME networks, to Gender and Ability networks, and Parents and Cultural Heritage networks…the free awards are open to every kind of staff network.

Staff networks are an integral part of the diversity, inclusion and engagement strategy in many organisations and play an important role in providing a welcome space for their members to meet new people, network, offer opportunities to increase their members knowledge and understanding of many topics as well as supporting with business, career and professional development…and have fun. The majority of staff networks are coordinated and supported by awesome people who dedicate lots of their spare time and do this on top of their day job. It’s only right that we celebrate their inspiring and important work and the positive impact they have.

There are also many groups and organisations that facilitate valuable networking events and these should be acknowledged and rewarded too.

Thomas Anderson, Inclusive Networks Founder and former Chair of The Co-op’s LGBT+ staff network, said :

“Following the publication of our first Awesome Network list in 2015, it has been great seeing many of our Awesome Networks connecting and supporting each other, as well as many organisations without networks approaching them for tips and advice. The recognition has also helped lots of networks gain buzz and momentum internally which has helped them grow.

“From my personal experience, it is very clear that networks of all types can enhance the lives of those people who engage with them, as well as be of great value to the organisations that the networks represent.

“More and more organisations are seeing the value of investing in network groups. We know that many people are attracted to organisations who have visible and active network groups or visibly support them. They also have a positive impact on employee engagement and staff retention. They really shout ‘that’s a great place to work, where all employees are supported, can be themselves, have equal opportunities and there is investment and commitment for workplace inclusion’. It makes business sense to support and develop network groups. Now lets celebrate them and thank the people who make them awesome.”

“It is of course up to individual firms how they recognise the work that network groups do, both inside and outside of the organisation, but I would certainly encourage any company to reward staff who give something back to the workplace and their communities.”

We want to hear about networks that have done something special. This could be hosting an inclusive event that was a real highlight, supporting an internal or external initiative, making a positive difference to the workplace or beyond, fundraising for charity, influencing business change or just generally being awesome through the work they do. It’s not about the number of members you have, the size of your events, what events you have sponsored, your position in corporate lists or how many Twitter followers you have – we’re celebrating authenticity.

Networks recognised in our inaugural Awesome Network list included Lloyds Banking Groups ‘Access’ Network, Paypal’s ‘Pride’ Network, the EY Sikh Network and the Employer’s Stammering Network…plus 96 other awesome networks.

Chris Rhodes, Executive Director of Nationwide Building Society and LGBT network Sponsor, said :

“I am delighted that our LGBT employee network was recognised in the inaugural Inclusive Networks ‘Awesome Network’ list. At Nationwide we believe that people perform better when they can be themselves and this recognition supports all the hard work that the network does to ensure that our LGBT employees and customers feel respected and valued.”

Speaking to Inclusive Networks, Nicky Morgan MP said :

“It’s clear that network groups can make a very real contribution to the workplace, helping create a culture which values diversity and attracts the best talent. It is of course up to individual firms how they recognise the work that network groups do, both inside and outside of the organisation, but I would certainly encourage any company to reward staff who give something back to the workplace and their communities.

“We know that networks are important – we’ve seen how the ‘old boys’ network’ used to dominate the workplace at senior levels. Luckily, things are now changing and there is much more diversity in the world of work. However, there is still a lot of benefit from both formal and informal networks.”

Some of our inaugural Awesome Networks | L-R – Celebrate LGBT (Action for Children), EY Sikh Network (EY) and Ogilvy Pride (Ogilvy). Who will be recognised in 2018?

Nominate now

If there is a network group who you think is awesome and should be recognised and celebrated, let us know about them – complete the form below.

Nominations are open now and close on 17th December 2017. We will be announcing the networks recognised as our Awesome Networks 2018 in January 2018. Networks recognised will receive a special Awesome Network 2018 logo and will be celebrated on our website and across our social media accounts. We’ll also be celebrating our Awesome Networks at inclusive events throughout 2018.

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Why are they awesome? What have they done for others? Please give as much detail as possible (max 250 words) (required)

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Nobody is more influential when it comes to communicating your company’s brand and workplace culture than your employees themselves. If you’d like to discuss sponsoring our Awesome Network initiative, sharing your workplace, employee and community engagement and network group news and updates with our readers, then we’d love to hear from you. You can contact us here!

About The Author

Thomas Anderson

Founder and MD of Inclusive Networks. Thomas was Chair of the award winning LGBT network for The Co-operative Group, ‘Respect’ (2011-14). Thomas named the network and designed and managed all of the branding, communications and engagement until he stepped down from the role of Chair in March 2014. He also created the branding, name, was Editor of the quarterly magazine and developed the launch of the UK’s first Inter-Retail LGBT network ‘CheckOUT’. He contributed to the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index 5 Year review. In recognition of his work in the diversity field he was shortlisted for ‘Diversity Champion of the Year’ at the 2013 European Diversity Awards, shortlisted for ‘Role Model of the Year’ at the 2012 Lesbian & Gay Foundation Homo Heroes Awards and shortlisted for the ‘Positive Action’ award at the 2013 Asian Fire Service Association Fair & Diverse Awards. He also won the 2012 ‘Pride of The Co-operative’ award. He is a judge for Scotland's biggest diversity awards, The Icon Awards.

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