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  • Cherron Inko-Tariah MBE - DiversityQ Interview

Supporting Networks Through COVID-19

There isn’t anyone in the UK that hasn’t been impacted by COVID-19. Here Cherron Inko-Tariah from The Power of Staff Networks Group shares why and how they are continuing to support staff networks during this challenging time.

The pandemic has meant that we’ve had to adjust to different ways of working and living and continue to take the necessary precautions to remain physically healthy.

The crisis has also knocked many off their equilibrium. People feel out of kilter, and that’s when many will turn to their networks for reassurance, solace and encouragement. That sense of support and the familiar can be a real comforter during unfamiliar times.

Therefore, those leading the staff network must take time to look after themselves and maintain good mental health and energy.

We cannot see COVID-19 disappearing any time soon, so organisations and networks need to think about what inclusion feels like when you are not sharing the same physical space with colleagues.

“This is a difficult time for everyone,” says Cherron, “and that is why The Power of Staff Networks Group want to do all that we can to help staff networks feel supported, encouraged and still add value.”

Support at hand
  • The Power of Staff Networks has started the Networks Virtual Coffeeshop, where it encourages people to take a break and participate in activities that will boost their wellbeing and self-care. The Networks Coffeeshop publicises webinars, podcasts, and interviews all aimed at empowering network leaders.

  • They have also asked senior networks champions to remind people of why staff networks are important, and their quotes have been advertised across social media. Champions include Rachael Etebar (British Transport Police), Rupert McNeil (HM Government), Jen Smith (British Film Institute) and John Athanasiou (Harper Collins). Follow them on Twitter @day4networks @posnetworks

Says Cherron: “We are pulling together some practical tools, tips and guides to equip networks so that they can adapt and navigate the new ways of working and still be effective.

“Our COVID Infographic provides ideas of how networks can survive the crisis.”

Networks Day 2020

More now than ever staff networks need to feel supported, and given the tremendous effort of networks across Britain, Cherron and the team have decided that National Day for Staff Networks should go ahead on 13th May albeit with celebrations taking place in a different way.

Also known as Networks Day, the National Day for Staff Networks is all about celebration, inspiration and transformation. Staff networks (employee/business resource groups, Diversity Groups etc.) provide employees from under-represented groups with valuable guidance and timely advice as they navigate their organisation’s culture and endeavour to offer their authentic best in the workplace.

Says Cherron: “Networks Day is a celebration of the expanding and diverse range of work across the public, private and voluntary sectors which continues to foster inclusive workplaces; thus making work better.

“The theme for 2020 is #addingvalue. We have created a fantastic tool to help staff networks to assess their value by using the ‘Value Continuum’. We also have posters, pledges, social media banners, and have created a social media toolkit to help networks spread the word about the day.

“We are planning several online activities throughout the day, including the hosting the biggest networks virtual lunch and learn!”

Empowering staff networks

Networks Day 2020 is being sponsored by Bank of America, Peabody, Reed Business Information, Dods D&I and Voice at the Table.

Says Cherron: “The support of our sponsors and partners means that we can continue empowering networks to be influential and effective. We have seen networks come together, encourage one another and share the burden of adversity. We want to support networks as they encourage collaboration, support aligned activity and further inspire the voice of network members. This is how they add value and where the power of staff networks truly shines through.”

You can find more information on the Networks Day here.

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