National Inclusion Week 2023: Three Inclusive actions to make a positive impact in your workplace

This week – 25th September to 1st October 2023 – marks National Inclusion Week; a week dedicated to celebrating inclusion and taking action to create inclusive workplaces.

The theme for this year is Take Action Make Impact. This theme aims to encourage organisations and individuals to think about what actions they can take and what positive impact these actions could and should have for all employees, but especially those who may be currently underrepresented in your workplace.

Here are three possible actions that could have a markedly positive impact in your organisation.


ACTION: Support from the C-Suite or Senior Leadership Team for inclusion

IMPACT: Create trust for the organisation to build a safe environment for all

Active inclusion strategies and activities with the explicit support of senior management is going to have a significant impact across the organisation. A strong leadership stance to foster inclusion, along with dedicated budget for associated activities ensures trust that meaningful change (where appropriate) will happen.

Recommended reading: “Why inclusive leadership is so vital to D&I” from ICAEW


ACTION: Update Policies and Procedures where appropriate

IMPACT: Create trust for the operations side of organisations to support colleagues and foster inclusive practices

There are no excuses for outdated policy documents for procedures that don’t consider inclusion within them. Taking this action will build trust towards the operational side of your organisation (including HR) and creates a solid foundation on which to build inclusive spaces.

Recommended reading: “Equality, Diversity And Inclusion: The Definitive Guide For Hr Managers” from HR Review


ACTION: Create inclusion networks and safe spaces to communicate and air concerns

IMPACT: Create trust for fellow colleagues, line managers to allow for an environment to bring our best selves to work every day

When building inclusive spaces, it is important to find a way to maintain them. Therefore, effective communication channels are vital. And these channels could take many forms, such as employee networks to anonymous feedback channels. Creating these safe spaces to communicate are a great way to build trust amongst your employees to bring their best selves to work, along with the wide range of skills and new ideas that they feel empowered to share.

Recommended reading: “Staff networks: Guidance for people professionals” from CIPD


Do you need further help?

MMCS helps transform businesses into more inclusive spaces, by offering a range of training and consultancy services. We aim to identify the barriers that are preventing inclusion in the workplace; resulting in the identification of practical steps that can be taken to build a truly inclusive culture.

Contact us at to find out more.


Inclusion Resources, March 2023 – Anti-racism in the workplace

In the UK, we have a wealth of talented Black individuals working across various industries, yet the level of representation in the workforce is significantly disproportionate to the Black population in this country.

Despite initiatives aimed at addressing this imbalance, many continue to face barriers that limit their opportunities for career progression. The disconnect between the talent pool and workforce representation has deep-seated roots, despite calls for change and recent attempts by some organisations to be more inclusive.

The scale of the issue

Coqual’s 2022 report, “Being Black in the United Kingdom” (summarised key findings are found in the link), provides an overview of the British Black experience in the UK. It makes for sobering reading, but we believe it’s a necessary one. It reports that:

  • 68% of Black professionals have experienced racial prejudice at work
  • Black employees are 60% more likely to change something about themselves to fit in, compared to their White counterparts
  • Black professionals routinely experience microaggressions, for example having their expertise questioned, their ideas invalidated, and their appearance or emotions micromanaged

The excerpts below demonstrate just a few more of the many reports and statistics that reveal the issue at hand for Black employees.

A study from market research firm Ipsos found 41% of British workers noticed a change in the way their company handled race related issues since April 2020, but 43% said any initial commitments to change didn’t last.

Frank Douglas, CEO and founder of HR consultancy Caerus Executive, said after initial performative acts companies have reverted to normal.

Speaking to HR magazine, he said: “Two years ago, black and brown staff saw an increased interest by senior management on their place in the workforce. It led to traumatising so called ‘listening sessions,’ creation and/or money for ERGs and increase support for Black History Month, in 2020.

“Most minority staff believe that now that the pressure and spotlight is off – companies have defaulted back to their comfort level and, once again, are avoiding the issue of race and trying to truly improve the lived experiences of black and brown staff.”

“Have workplaces changed since George Floyd?”, from HR Magazine. Read more.


The denial of structural racism appears to be a big barrier to racial equity because it allows for more victim-blaming explanations of systemic inequality.”

“The more that BIPOC [black, indigenous and people of colour] individuals are blamed for racial disparities, the less likely it is for white people and institutions to take responsibility for the continued effects of systemic racism.

“Study finds denying existence of structural racism is linked to anti-black prejudice”, from Sky News. Read more.


The researchers found that although white, Asian and Latinx employees received higher job ratings when they talked more about their contributions and accomplishments, Black employees were penalised by white managers for doing the same thing. Black employees who rated themselves highly on self-promotion received lower ratings of their job performance and assessments of their fit with the organisation.

In other words, self-promoting at work benefited white, Asian and Latinx employees while it had negative consequences for Black colleagues.

“Black Employees Face Backlash From White Managers When They Self-Promote At Work”, from the Huffington Post. Read more.


Black women are under-represented and underpaid in executive roles and the least likely to be in the UK’s top 1% of earners. Black women continue to be underrepresented in leadership roles across the UK workforce….

Black women also experience the largest pay gaps when compared to non-Black women and men, as well as Black men (Almeida et al. 2021).

The largest gaps are in finance, professional services, and big technology. 70% of Black women in these sectors believe they are being paid less than their comparable peers, with more than 10% of women reporting pay gaps as high as 30%.”

“Black women least likely to be top earners”, a 2022 report from 30% Club Growth through Diversity. Read more.


What is the solution?

The need for pro-active anti-racism in the workplace is more crucial than ever; it’s not enough to simply hire more candidates from racially minoritized groups and hope for the best. Companies must actively foster a culture that is inclusive and supportive of all employees, and this is not easy work if the current culture leaves Black employees unfulfilled and psychologically unsafe. This means implementing policies and training programs that address bias, providing opportunities for career advancement, and creating a safe space for employees to voice their concerns and to be taken seriously. By doing so, companies can ensure that their Black employees feel valued in their careers.

More and more organisations are thinking again about their approaches to race, power, discrimination and related issues. It’s a matter of justice and equality, certainly – but it’s also a matter of wellbeing, and of supporting those around us. We are realising, more and more, that having policies and practices that encourage diversity aren’t enough; and that not being racist, as individuals and organisations, isn’t enough either. Across the country, we’re waking up to the need to be actively anti-racist.”

“Toolkit: Being anti-racist in the workplace”, from Mental Health At Work. Read more.


HR leaders need to be activists. They can advocate for cultural change that goes beyond policies and procedures and the transactional aspects of HR. For this, they need to be bold and courageous.

If it exists in their organisation, they must break down structural racism. Decades of equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) policies have brought us no closer to anti-racist workplaces. We need activism.”

“Why HR should be anti-racist ‘activists’”, from Personnel Today. Read more.


The modern term “woke” is to anti-racism what the n-word is to broader society. It’s both an appropriation and a slur and should not be used in a pejorative sense at any time. As a pejorative, it’s code for “we’re really going too far with this equity stuff” but since that sounds too much like crude, primordial racism, sexism and/or homophobia, the ill-defined “woke” is simply used as a convenient euphemism…

It’s an offensive term that mocks historically marginalized communities’ efforts to fight for equity. Its use makes many feel targeted, minimized and belittled. Insist that it not be used in the workplace.”

“7 Ways To Encourage Workplace Anti-Racism, Nearly Three Years After America’s Racial Reckoning”, from Forbes. Read more.


It is neither an overstatement of the problem of workplace racism to pursue anti-racist measures, nor does it oppress those who hold more privilege and representation at work. In fact, anti-racism campaigns seek to make the workplace more welcoming for all employees, regardless of ethnicity.

It’s critical to understand that anti-racism campaigns – as with all inclusion measures – aim to build a society that is more just and equal for everybody.


Employee Wellbeing Resources, March 2023 – Balancing Productivity & Wellbeing

Recently, working hours have been in the spotlight following the conclusion of a University of Cambridge study into a four-day working week with no drop in salary.

The key findings from the report, released last month, showed:

  • Of the 61 companies that participated, 56 are continuing with the four-day week (92%), with 18 confirming the policy is a permanent change
  • ‘Before and after’ data shows that 39% of employees were less stressed, and 71% had reduced levels of burnout at the end of the trial
  • Likewise, levels of anxiety, fatigue and sleep issues decreased, while mental and physical health both improved
  • Employees also found it easier to balance their work with both family and social commitments – for 54%, it was easier to balance work with household jobs

Since the pandemic there has seemed to be an increased focus on employee wellbeing. Home working has been a mixed experience, with many reporting an increase in productivity but on the other hand, an increase in loneliness and isolation. In any case, wellbeing is now higher up on the priority list for a lot of employees, with HR News reporting that “85.8% of employees would be more likely to leave a job if there was no obvious support for employee wellbeing”.

Below are some articles and resources for balancing productivity and wellbeing for employees.

Establishing a work-life balance

Work-life balance means prioritizing both your personal life and work life. It might not always be a perfect balance, but there’s enough of a balance to have an improved quality of life.”

This Forbes article details some basic strategies for establishing a work-life balance, from building a routine, setting boundaries, to taking regular breaks. Read more

Optimising your WFH space and routine

Many people do continue to work from home, either in hybrid or completely remote roles. If you have a dedicated office space at home, have a small desk in a corner of your living room or work in a café or coworking space, here are some pointers to help with a productive day:

  • Start with a “commute” – even a very short walk around the block in the morning means you get a little exercise and fresh air before work.
  • Time-blocking – this describes a set period of time to get on with your to-do list with no distractions
  • Set up your workspace – make sure you have everything you need for the day close to hand, your screen, keyboard and mouse setup is comfortable, and your chair is supportive. This should all save you both time and your posture!

Read more here about optimising your home setup.

What to do if you’re not feeling productive

Productivity is a topic which is ripe for paranoia because all we see is what other people outwardly produce, but not how hard they’re working behind the scenes to produce it,” she explains. And indeed, because it’s so easy to fall into the trap of comparing ourselves to others, if we feel like we’re not up to scratch it can deeply impact our self-worth.”

This article from Stylist details “productivity paranoia” which boils down to the act of comparing our productivity to others and worrying about managers’ perception of our productivity.

So, how do you fix it? It may be as simple as cutting yourself a bit of slack. Overwork and no breaks will lead to more stress and will put your mental health at risk. Speak to your manager and get clarity on the key outputs and KPIs that are expected of you if you feel like you’re struggling. This article from Forbes provides more advice on defining what productivity means for you, understanding the difference between “productive” and “busy” (i.e. ad hoc tasks and meetings that, in all honesty, could have been an email) and tracking and celebrating progress.


Inclusion Resources, February 2023 – Staying accountable for inclusion efforts

Two and a half years ago, we saw a resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement, following George Floyd’s death. This horrific event started what seemed like a change in the tide, with organisations across the world making public commitments to antiracism and by extension, inclusion across all intersections of society.  What could be a true transformative business movement, is seemingly frittering away as a moment.

The process of fostering inclusion is not easy. It requires hard truths to be brought to the surface and full audit of current systems and activities before any progress can be made. This process provides a real lesson in how entrenched biases are, whether they are deemed to be unconscious or not, and how some people within these organisations resist change, no matter how positive the potential outcome. Some organisations have fared better in making such positive changes than others.

Whichever way you look at it, the general appetite for accountability and commitment to inclusion and diversity seems to have waned over the last two and a half years. On the matter of antiracism, Natalie Morris wrote in the Metro: “From speaking up when you encounter racism in public, to setting up initiatives to empower ethnic minority members of your workplace, or interacting with news, literature and campaigns that oppose racist ideologies, it was heartening to see colleagues, my wider friendship groups, and even high school friends on Facebook, engaging with this kind of behaviour. But two years on, I can feel us hurtling backwards. Progress that was seemingly being made in the immediate aftermath of the BLM protests is now being undone, and I fear we will end up in an even worse position than where we started.

The clients we work with at MMCS are continuing to reach out to us, to help them on their way to demonstrating improvement to achieve inclusion for everybody. Our aim is to keep shining a light on all aspects of intersectional inclusion and addressing areas of bias and exclusion within the workplace.

The following excerpts and links provide information and resources for building and continuing your commitment to inclusion.

Is making a business case for diversity the right thing to do?

It has been repeatedly proven that focusing effort on Diversity, Equity & Inclusion overall has a strong business case and a direct positive effect on profitability, as McKinsey have consistently stated in their 2020 report:

Diversity wins is the third report in a McKinsey series investigating the business case for diversity, following Why diversity matters (2015) and Delivering through diversity (2018). Our latest report shows not only that the business case remains robust but also that the relationship between diversity on executive teams and the likelihood of financial outperformance has strengthened over time. These findings emerge from our largest data set so far, encompassing 15 countries and more than 1,000 large companies. By incorporating a “social listening” analysis of employee sentiment in online reviews, the report also provides new insights into how inclusion matters. It shows that companies should pay much greater attention to inclusion, even when they are relatively diverse.”

Read more here.

On the other hand, why should Inclusion and diversity have to pass a business case? This excerpt from a Harvard Business Review article states: “Compared to those who read neutral messaging, participants who read a business case [in corporate messaging regarding diversity] reported being 27% more concerned about stereotyping and lack of belonging, and they were 21% more concerned they would be seen as interchangeable. In addition, after seeing a company make a business case, our participants’ perceptions that its commitment to diversity was genuine fell by up to 6% — and all these factors, in turn, made the underrepresented participants less interested in working for the organization.”

So, what to do instead? The HBR article goes on to say: “Our research shows that the fairness case, which presents diversity as an end in itself (i.e., a non-instrumental framing of diversity), is a lot less harmful than the business case… But there’s another option that may be even better and simpler: Don’t justify your commitment to diversity at all. Across our studies, we found that people felt more positive about a prospective employer after reading a fairness case than after reading a business case — but they felt even better after reading a neutral case, in which diversity was simply stated as a value, without any explanation.”

Read more here.

You can look at it this way: what further justification do you need for inclusion when it is simply a core value shared across the business, when it is simply the right thing to do?

Avoiding performative action and looking at your company culture

We are all aware that there are some organisations who, at best, will post on social media when various awareness events such as Black History Month (in February in the US/October in the UK) or International Women’s Day, or Pride, and do little else. If that’s the case, a deep look into your company culture is a vital step in your company’s progress. And if needed, the culture needs to shift to avoid mere performative displays and make every single employee feel as included as they wish to be.

A Gallup article delves more into organisational culture, stating, “Simply gauging objective measures of diversity or equity doesn’t get to the heart of the matter – the daily encounters and interactions of individual employees.

We may all experience the same workplace, but that doesn’t mean we all experience the workplace in the same way.

Read more here.

Gather data and let that be your guide

While inclusion efforts did seem to kick up a gear in 2020 from the outset, incidents of bias and discrimination still occur regularly.

Nearly two-thirds (61 per cent) of Black employees experienced racism in 2021, a report by Pearn Kandola has found.

The Racism at Work in the UK report revealed that three quarters (74 per cent) of employees thought that racism was a problem last year, a rise of two percentage points from 2018.

The report, which surveyed 1,203 UK employees, found that while over half (52 per cent) had witnessed racism at work, only one in five (22 per cent) reported the incident to management or HR. A quarter (28 per cent) said they took no action following the event and of those who didn’t report it , two in five (41 per cent) said this was because they feared the consequences.

Read more here.

If you need to gather data and don’t know where to start, then this CBI article, “Data strategy and transformation must link to business goals”, is a good place to start.

Data can identify gaps in your inclusion strategy and policy making and will help companies to set appropriate priorities in filling those gaps.

Keeping up the momentum

Whilst collecting data and building a robust inclusion strategy is vital, it is equally important to remain accountable and ensure your strategy and key milestones are adhered to.

Building a diverse and inclusive environment begins when all leaders and managers are on board. Their commitment is essential in sustaining this positive culture change in the long run.

In fact, it is the leaders’ job to educate and empower the rest of the team.

Read more here about how you can sustain inclusion efforts, including using training, anonymous feedback, and systemised review and communications processes.

Allies that champion inclusion and commit to raising the profile for underrepresented groups are also vital to making inclusion sustainable. However, as the below excerpts from a Fortune article highlight, this requires a delicate – yet achievable – balance within your company culture.

The backing of dominant group members can render DEI issues seemingly more credible or legitimate, and thus worthy of support, resources, and attention from higher-ups. Moreover, without the support of dominant group allies, members of traditionally marginalized groups can encounter cynicism and lower support when protesting DEI issues, as they’re seen as being purely self-interested.

At the same time, that very same power of dominant group members that helps them bring attention to DEI issues can also undermine the extent to which they are seen as effective allies. For instance, male allies who try to exert a lot of influence in workplace advocacy groups created to advance women’s cause can encounter negative attitudes…

 Allies can also use their structural power to amplify the voices of marginalized group members while playing a more subordinate role in joint presentations and meetings. Allies can further demonstrate their willingness to learn and course-correct from mistakes, by requesting marginalized group members for feedback and advice after instances of helping.”

Read more here.

More helpful resources:

The Diverse Minds Podcast – Leyla Okhai, CEO of Diverse Minds speak to leaders in the fields of diversity, inclusion and wellbeing about how to increase your understanding and make positive change.

TED talk: How to get serious about diversity and inclusion in the workplace, from Janet Stovall – In this candid talk, inclusion advocate Janet Stovall shares a three-part action plan for creating workplaces where people feel safe and expected to be their unassimilated, authentic selves.

Coming next month, we will be curating an anti-racism focused list of resources.


IDN’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Survey

Inclusion and Diversity in Nuclear (IDN) needs the help of the UK Nuclear Industry to gather data.

Co-founded in 2019 by MMCS MD Monica Mwanje, IDN provides resources, brings leaders together and showcases best practice through its events, facilitates conversations, and advises on meaningful steps to propel change within organisations.

A vital starting point to making IDN’s activities bigger and better is to gather data on the landscape of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion across the UK Nuclear Industry. With that in mind, IDN have devised a survey to gather this data and inform their next steps in serving the industry.

IDN wants to measure their progress and set realistic goals on what resources to provide, events to run (outside of their flagship Annual Conference) and any gaps to focus on filling.

The survey takes around seven minutes to complete and is entirely anonymous. It would also be really beneficial if respondents could share a link to the survey with their friends and colleagues in the industry.

To start the survey, please click here.

For more information on Inclusion and Diversity in Nuclear, go to

MMCS MD Monica takes part in the Visionaries Webinar series

We are pleased to announce that MMCS MD Monica Mwanje will be participating as a Keynote Speaker in the Visionaries Webinar series, organised by Breaking Down Barriers.

Breaking Down Barriers (BDB) is dedicated to working with organisations across all business sectors, to develop an ethnically diverse workforce inclusive of all grades and to increasing black and ethnic minority representation at senior levels. They provide a platform that showcases black and ethnic minority leaders, who share their leadership journeys. The ethos of BDB provides organisational challenge to offer equity in senior leadership opportunities, for black and ethnic minority professionals.

The Visionaries Webinar series aims to spotlight professional trailblazers from a black or ethnic minority background, who are forerunners in their chosen fields. Breaking down Barriers aims to showcase individuals, inspire others and challenge the status quo.

Monica is the first of the Keynote Speaker of the series, taking place on Wednesday 19 October. The event is free to attend, and you can register here.

Bid Bootcamp: 14 December 2022

Our next 1-day bid bootcamp training is scheduled for Wednesday 14 December 2022, 10:00 – 16:30 GMT.

This in-person training will take place in Warrington, Cheshire, United Kingdom.

Early Bird Price £315 +VAT per person for bookings made by 14/11/2022

Standard Price £350+VAT per person

Limited places are available.

Download our flyer MMCS Bid Bootcamp Dec 2022, to view the training syllabus and find out more.

Book Your Bid Bootcamp Place

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MMCS MD Monica Joins LJMU Leader Mentoring Programme

Earlier this month, MMCS MD Monica Mwanje joined a group of influential Black Leaders from Liverpool to attend the launch of the Leaders Reciprocal Mentoring Programme, led by Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU).

The University’s Executive Leadership Team have partnered with senior Black Leaders from across Liverpool. The two-way mentoring aims to create open and honest conversations about race and equality, and to foster positive change for LJMU students, staff and the wider Liverpool community.

Monica is partnered with Laura Bishop, Pro Vice-Chancellor in the Faculty of Science. Monica says: “I am delighted to be part of this exciting initiative with LJMU, who are demonstrating their commitment to proactive inclusion and improving community links in the city. I’m looking forward to working with Laura over the coming months.”

As the programme launched, LJMU Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive Mark Power, said:

“The launch of the programme amongst Liverpool City leaders is in recognition of the diverse cultures and communities that make up our student and staff population and we are keen to build upon our work with community leaders, to continue to create a more inclusive environment.”

Find out more about LJMU’s Leaders Reciprocal Mentoring Programme here.

(Image Credit: Liverpool John Moores University)

Bid Bootcamps return for 2022!

Bid Bootcamp is back, and right now you can book an early bird discounted place.

Our first in-person bid training of 2022 is on Tuesday, 12th July at Swagelok, Birchwood Park, Warrington.

  • Does bidding feel like a minefield to you?
  • Are you confused about how to put a bid response together?
  • Are you looking for tips on how to best prepare bid answers or how to be better organised when facing the next bid?

If you have answered yes to any of these questions then this bootcamp is for you.

The training is suitable for people that work for engineering, construction, or technical organisations that bid for projects in sectors such as: nuclear, defence or infrastructure. It is compiled by bidding experts who have a proven track record of helping clients secure new business.

In addition to the early bird discount, members of the Nuclear Institute, Northern Nuclear Alliance and Britain’s Energy Coast Business Cluster receive an extra 10% off the ticket price.

Book your place now at

MMCS joins Black United Representation Network

We are proud to announce that MM Creative Solutions is now a Member Organisation of the Black United Representation Network (BURN).

BURN aims to make the North of England the best place in the UK for Black people to work, for Black-owned businesses to thrive, and for enterprise, charities and the public sector to drive meaningful change on race. To achieve this, they want to make procurement contracts and tenders open to Black-owned businesses, grow the pipeline of board-ready Black leaders in senior decision-making positions, and to empower organisations to drive the societal change that they want to see, as part of their ambitions on diversity, inclusion and social responsibility.

BURN provides support and a wealth of resources to help grow its member businesses and contribute to driving business growth in the region.

For further information on BURN, head to