O2 pledges commitment to disability inclusion during National Inclusion Week

Telecommunications organisation O2 has today (23 September 2019) announced its commitment to increasing disability inclusion within the business by joining The Valuable 500.

The Valuable 500, a social movement launched in January 2019 and operated by business campaign group #valuable, is a year-long campaign aiming to gain commitments from 500 private sector organisations to support disability inclusion and equality.

Other employers that have made the pledge include professional services firms Deloitte UK, KPMG UK and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC), as well as financial services organisations Barclays, HSBC and RBS, among others.

O2, which houses 6,700 employees in the UK, has launched its pledge to coincide with National Inclusion Week, which runs from 23 to 29 September 2019.

As part of a week of activities centred around diversity and inclusion, O2 employees will be able to attend workshops and link into livestreams focused on raising awareness and education.

The organisation’s commitment to disability inclusion follows other inclusion efforts which have seen it update its benefits for carers in May 2019, increasing paid paternity leave from two to 14 weeks and expanding it to apply to all permanent employees, including same-sex couples and couples welcoming children via adoption or surrogacy.

The organisation also launched a transitioning toolkit for employees and managers, in partnership with charity Stonewall, in June 2019.

Mark Evans, chief executive officer at O2, said: “We recognise the importance of having a diverse, balanced and inclusive workforce, and have a bold ambition to be a leading inclusive employer. So I’m delighted to announce today that we are joining The Valuable 500, ensuring that our people with visible and hidden disabilities are represented and championed across our organisation.

“As a customer-led business, it’s vital that our workforce reflects and understands the needs of all of our customers. It not only makes good business sense, it also creates happier and more productive teams where everyone is given the opportunity to excel and succeed.”

Jo Bertram, director of business and executive sponsor for inclusion at O2, added: “For me, moments like National Inclusion Week are vitally important, as they highlight the importance of doing the right thing for our people and communities, not as a one off, but whole year round.

“We’ve had great success in 2019, launching some industry-leading inclusive initiatives, but we want to be continually pushing ourselves to do more, be more ambitious, and make changes. Building on our progress, and in order for us to be a true leader, it’s great to be able to share the news that we are bringing disability inclusion onto our agenda as we join The Valuable 500.”